It might be one of Felix Magath’s special talents to deliver surprises on rough seas.
This time the former German coach came up with the idea to revitalise a man who has stood for leadership skills in the past but was meant to only play a secondary role after signing with Bundesliga strugglers Hertha BSC, reports Xinhua.
With the Berlin side taking three important points in Saturday’s relegation battle against Augsburg, 35-year-old Kevin-Prince Boateng has turned into the struggling team’s undisputed leader.
Triggering a fighting spirit among his teammates worked well in the 68 minutes Hertha’s “old man” was on the pitch.
Hertha’s fans witnessed rare moments of happiness, as Magath and Boateng hugged each other like children after a successful prank.
“He is a sportsman taking responsibility with a lot of confidence. He is leading and is highly communicative with his teammates,” the former Bayern Munich and Fulham manager stated.
Against Augsburg, Boateng did a perfect job. In the autumn of an unstable career that has taken him to 13 clubs after turning professional in 2005 with Hertha, returning to his home club after touring Europe was seen as a more nostalgic move. Now, the man meant to be little more than a morale booster is turning into a team leader.
After being substituted, Boateng didn’t stop but continued his efforts to act as a morale booster. The experienced journeyman rarely took his place on the bench but continued shouting and gesturing along the touchline.
The 75 percent of successful man-to-man duels, as well as five tactical fouls to keep his side alive, made Boateng Hertha’s best.
The strategy to trigger the team’s fighting spirit by providing a role model to follow paid off.
“That’s the way I want the team to act; that’s the way we can survive the struggle, but we have to continue,” Magath stated, with four rounds of matches remaining in the 2021/22 Bundesliga season.
Two victories in four games lifted Hertha one point above the relegation zone, and the Boateng surprise might not be the last one the former Bayern coach Magath has to invent, as next weekend Hertha’s closest relegation rival, Stuttgart, is waiting.