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Bundesliga News

Schwarz speaks on decision to remain in Russia: "It was about being there for those around me."

By Peter Vice

Speaking to reporters on Friday, new Hertha BSC trainer Sandro Schwarz justified his decision to remain with Dynamo Moscow even after some of of his German counterparts resigned in protest of Russia's war of aggression with Ukraine. 

Speaking at great length about the issue, Schwarz sought to emphasize that he felt duty-bound to the personalities around the club he was charged with leading. 

Sandro Schwarz and Fredi Bobic.
Sandro Schwarz and Fredi Bobic.Photo: City-Press GmbH/Hertha BSC

Following his official appointment as head-coach of Hertha BSC, it would naturally not be long before members of the German footballing media probed Sandro Schwarz for reasons why he opted to remain in charge of his previous Russian club even after the outbreak of war. Many of Schwarz's German compatriots--such as Markus Gisdol and newly appointed Gladbach trainer Daniel Farke--immediately resigned their positions at Russian clubs as soon as the invasion of Ukraine began in late February.


Schwarz remained with his club through the end of the season. Speaking to reporters on Friday, Schwarz took great care to emphasize that he did not arrive e at this decision easily. The 43-year-old spoke of "careful consideration" after many individual discussions with his players; both those of Russian and Ukrainian heritage.

"It's safe to say that from that day one, it was very emotional,"  Schwarz explained during a digital Friday media session, "I was aware that outsiders might talk about my lack of solidarity. But I know what my position is on this war of aggression. I made that clear. We had a lot of talks with club officials, with the players, with the staff. After these terrible images, it was important for me to flesh out the moods of those around me. The result of these conversations was to walk this very, very difficult path together as a group."

"I have to be there for the people around me, that this is my area of responsibility," Schwarz said. "We had countless, emotional moments with Ukrainian and Russian players who were with me in the coach's room. We were all deeply affected by the situation and cried."

"I felt great inner personal turmoil," Schwarz conceded "The last three months were marked by that. It was about being there for each other. On the one hand, seeing the terrible images, but knowing from the conversations what my players, my staff and club officials needed. I know what an anchor I have been for them in recent weeks. People around Dynamo have a clear stance on the issue."

"The decision I ultimately came was to be there for all those in the team, in the staff, in the club," Schwarz summed up, "I knew what a totem I was for them. It had nothing to do with sports, with titles or with financial aspects. It was solely about helping the people on the ground - fully understanding that what was happening in the Ukraine was awful."


So much of the discussion revolved around Schwarz's past during the recent session that there was hardy time to talk about the future. The former Mainz gaffer did express great enthusiasm at being back in the Bundesrepublik, noting that he was "very grateful" that his charge in Moscow was completed.


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