Germany: Bundesliga
2 - 1
(2 - 1)
Hertha BSC
M. Kempf (29), F. Niederlechner (45)
S. Guirassy (38)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Magath on relegation race: "For me, Hertha are as good as relegated."

In an interview appearing in the Thursday print edition of Germany's preeminent footballing publication, the man tasked with saving Hertha from the drop last year has revealed that he believes they will be relegated this time around. 

Magath also spoke on the survival prospects of other relegation-threatened teams VfB Stuttgart, VfL Bochum, and FC Schalke 04.
n last-place in the Bundesliga table on 22 points with four matchdays remaining, things are not looking good for Germany's Charlottenburg capital city side. Things could get much worse this weekend. A loss against VfB Stuttgart - combined with wins for Schalke and Bochum - could place the Berliners eight points off the relegation playoff place with three matchdays remaining.

After helping Hertha avoid the drop last season via the promotion-relegation playoffs, veteran German trainer Felix Magath was highly critical of the club's managerial structure. The 69-year-old was so again in an interview appearing in the Thursday print edition of Germany's Kicker Magazine. Even wholesale front-office changes in January haven't helped what Magath termed a "great-divide".

One thing is clear: relegation is often the result of years of poor club management," Magath is quoted as saying in the interview, "At Hertha, there were two camps: some wanted to keep the Big City Club, others wanted to keep their club. Those who suffered most were the coaches, who found conditions difficult."

"In the end, they proclaimed the  "Berlin Way" and buried the "Big City Club once and for all," Magath continued, "That's a sensible path, but the timing was not right. In this difficult season, changing the philosophy in January or February and replacing the sports director but not the coach was both questionable in terms of timing and consistency."

Magath went on to say what many German football watchers are thinking at this point. Namely, that Hertha stand little chance of pulling themselves together in time to avoid relegation this year. A loss against Stuttgart this weekend would all but bury their chances.

"Hertha has its back to the wall against VfB," Magath said, "Almost everyone has already written off the Berliners, even for me Hertha is as good as relegated."

Magath did weigh in on some other aspects of the relegation race. The veteran gaffer, along with other Bundesliga diehards, hasn't necessarily written of Thomas Reis' FC Schalke 04 just yet. Die Königsblauen are currently in 17th-place on 27 points. Mainz, Bayern, Frankfurt, and Leipzig remain ion the docket.

Magath called Stuttgart "surprisingly stable" thanks to being "again unified" and said that VfL Bochum have been a "positive surprise". Schalke, Magath noted, "are still alive."

"It's crunch time when it comes to the remaining schedule," Magath said, "but in the final phase of the season there are often amazing results. I trust that Schalke can save the day."

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