Extra onions for a long career: Boateng will stay at Hertha BSC for another year – Sport

Next to the training ground of Hertha BSC cool bottled beer was served, there were sausages from the grill. But the culinary topic of conversation was different. Everything revolved around kebabs from the spit.

This was due to the small video that the Berlin Bundesliga club published on social media a few minutes before the professional team started training on Wednesday. It showed Kevin-Prince Boateng in a kebab stand preparing Berlin’s national dish. With a lot of onions. “I’m still hungry,” Boateng said to the camera. Hungry for football.

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What Hertha’s sports director Fredi Bobic had already indicated on Monday, is now fixed: The now 35-year-old Boateng, who grew up in Wedding and returned to Berlin last summer, has extended his expiring contract with Hertha by another year. “I’m feeling good, I’m hungry and want to keep playing with the boys,” said the midfielder.

Upon his return a year ago, it seemed a foregone conclusion that Boateng would enter his final season as a footballer. The hardships of a decade and a half as a professional had left their mark. Boateng needed his breaks from time to time.

But the last act of a season that was agonizingly long in every respect has obviously awakened the desire for more in him. Even after the rescue in the relegation second leg against HSV Boateng had publicly expressed his interest in an extension season: “I still feel like it. I’m feeling good.”

The mentor of a shaky team

In Hamburg he fulfilled exactly the role of leader and mentor, which was intended for him in Hertha’s shaky team. Boateng felt the responsibility and he lived up to it. Up to this evening in May he had made 21 appearances in a total of 39 competitive games. He was never on the pitch for more than 70 minutes. In perhaps the most important encounter of the entire season, however, when Boateng was leading the team like a second coach on the field, he was only substituted by his assistant Felix Magath in the 90th minute.

“He is our leading player, leads the way and pulls everyone along,” says sporting director Bobic on the occasion of the contract extension. “We need exactly these qualities in the coming season.” Sandro Schwarz, the new coach, traveled to Berlin during the summer break to talk to Boateng. Such a conversation (“open, clear, honest”), he explained, cannot be had over the phone.

On Wednesday afternoon, at Schwarz’s first team training session in Berlin with beer, bratwurst and around 300 fans behind the barrier, Boateng was one of 28 players on the pitch. The national players are still on vacation, as is Santiago Ascacibar, who wants to leave Hertha anyway. Dongjun Lee and Suat Serdar, who was ill, were absent. Instead, Kelian Nsona, whom Hertha had signed in the winter, took part in team training for the first time; as well as Jonjoe Kenny and Filip Uremovic, the two newcomers so far this summer.

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Jordan Torunarigha, Javairo Dilrosun, Dodi Lukebakio, Deyovaisio Zeefuik and Jessic Ngankam were among the players loaned out last season, while six players from their own youth team were also able to audition: Mesut Kesik and Derry Scherhant, who recently signed their first professional contracts. Luka Wollschläger, Marten Winkler (all 19) and Lukas Ulrich and Julian Eitschberger (both 18). All six are set to remain with the pros until the end of the training camp in England (July 12-23).

The main focus on Wednesday was Kevin-Prince Boateng. After the end of the unit, the spectators rushed him, they asked for joint photos and autographs. Boateng fulfilled all wishes with a patient smile. He was asked whether he was looking forward to another year as a professional. “You can see it,” Boateng replied. “I’m glowing.”

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