Klinsmann quits as Hertha Berlin coach, leaves club in chaos

In this Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019 photo Hertha's head coach Juergen Klinsmann listens to a reporter's question during an interview prior to the German Bundesliga soccer match between Hertha BSC Berlin and Borussia Moenchengladbach in Berlin, Germany. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

BERLIN – Jürgen Klinsmann surprisingly resigned as coach of Hertha Berlin on Tuesday after only nine Bundesliga games.

The former Germany and United States coach said in a statement on Facebook that he “cannot live up to my potential as coach and therefore cannot live up to my responsibility” without the trust from people at the club.

“That’s why, after long thought, I came to the conclusion to make my position as coach of Hertha available and return to my original long-term task as a supervisory board member,” Klinsmann wrote.

Much was expected of Klinsmann when he was appointed coach on Nov. 27, helped by an extensive backroom staff. He was supposed to deliver on the promise provided by a $250 million investment from new backer Lars Windhorst and lead Hertha up the standings toward the European qualification places. But the team is still fighting off relegation.

Klinsmann’s decision to quit caught Hertha by surprise, with the players and general manager Michael Preetz only finding out on Tuesday morning before he made the announcement on Facebook.

“The coach came into the changing room. We thought it would be about the analysis of the last game. And then he told us," Hertha midfielder Marko Grujic said after training. "We were completely surprised.”

Preetz suggested the decision came as a shock, “especially after the trustful cooperation regarding decisions over personnel in the winter transfer period, there was no sign of it. We will inform of further developments at the appropriate time."

Assistant coach Alexander Nouri was set to take temporary charge of the team.