Germany: Bundesliga
2 - 0
(0 - 0)
Hertha BSC
M. Richter (61), D. Lukebakio (70)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Kicker Report: Non-compete-clause to keep Niederlechner out of action against Augsburg

Hertha BSC head-coach Sandro Schwarz remained coy about Florian Niederlechner's weekend starting prospects against former club FC Augsburg at his Thursday presser. 

According to Germany's preeminent footballing publication, there is a clause in the 32-year-old's contract designed to keep him out of action.
Speaking on the performance of his new double-striker set at a Thursday presser, Hertha BSC trainer Sandro Schwarz praised Florian Niederlechner and Jessic Ngankam for their work in his new 3-5-2. Schwarz lauded the duo's performance in last Sunday's loss against Dortmund, even if there were still facets to criticize.

"In Dortmund, both strikers had good opportunities," Schwarz said, "A little more calmness finishing in front of goal would have helped out on a few scoring opportunities."

Schwarz addressed Niederlechner's starting prospects against Augsburg this weekend, something of particular interest since the 32-year-old just transferred over from the Fuggerstädter in the recently completed January transfer window. Schwarz noted that a showdown against his former club didn't necessarily guarantee Niederlechner a place in the starting XI.

Germany's Kicker Magazine, in an article published on the magazine's website late Thursday, actually claims that - in negotiating Niederlechner's early transfer this January - Augsburg inserted a non-compete clause into the deal. The striker's use against the FCA will end up costing cash-strapped Hertha extra money.

Such clauses are not uncommon in German football. In Niederlechner's case, the existence of such a clause would make perfect sense. Hertha initially signed the veteran attacker for next season, then re-worked the deal for January. Niederlechner's transfer fee - a reported €500,000 - was also suspiciously low.

Then club personnel boss Fredi Bobic and Augsburg sporting director Stefan Reuter likely negotiated a non-compete close for Niederlechner. His use on Saturday could cost the capital city side a sum in the six-figure-range.

This reality likely means a return to the starting XI for attacker Dodi Lukebakio. On Thursday, Schwarz reported that striker Stevan Jovetic would return to his matchday squad, but was not yet fit enough for the starting lineup.

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