REPORT | Scottish assistant manager Mark Fotheringham stands in for Felix Magath as Hertha BSC get back to winning ways

Hertha BSC celebrated their first win of 2022 in the Bundesliga. The team of coach Felix Magath, who was replaced by his assistant Mark Fotheringham due to his Corona infection, defeated Hoffenheim 3-0 at the Olympiastadion on Saturday.

The man of the match was Marvin Plattenhardt, who set up the goals with three free-kick assists. The first was a header by Niklas Stark shortly before the break. After the break, Ishak Belfodil and an own goal by Hoffenheim’s David Raum increased the lead for the Berliners. With this success, Hertha now has 26 points level with Augsburg and Stuttgart in the table. 

Fans of the English and Scottish game will have recognised the man replacing Magath on the touch-line, 38-year-old Scottish assistant manager Fotheringham is a former Dundee, Dundee United, Celtic and Norwich City midfielder.

Magath knows Fotheringham well, the pair worked together at Fulham during Magath’s brief reign at Craven Cottage in 2014/15 where Fotheringham was still a player at the time and he has been carefully following the progress of his friend in the German game. The fluent German-speaker Fotheringham who played for SC Freiburg in season 2005/06 was co-trainer of Ingolstadt between 2018-21 helping ‘Die Schanzer’ win promotion to the 2. Bundesliga last season.  

Fotheringham also brings several years of coaching experience gained in Scotland to the capital; between 2017-19 the 38-year-old was player-manager of Scottish League Two side Cowdenbeath. During his tenure at the club which have their home ground at the Central Ground, ‘The Miners’ managed to stave off relegation in his first season in 2017/18 and improved on that in 18/19 with a sixth-place finish. 

Lending his support to Magath to get the capital club out of the relegation is a challenge the Dundee-born former midfielder is really relishing. In an interview with the Norwich City podcast, ‘The Pinkun’ Fotheringham said about the Hertha challenge: “We had a clear idea amongst the coaching staff of what we want to do and achieve.” Fotheringham further underlined the pair’s resolve: “We are focused. We have to bring fire and passion into everything we do together.” 

Veteran coach Magath’s faith in the Scotsman’s paid off handsomely in the first major test for ‘Die Alte Dame’ but in spite of the success, Magath is expected to be back in charge for the next match away at Bayer Leverkusen on April 4 after the international break.

Ben McFadyean

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