Coach Sandro Schwarz (43) and Hertha are unbeaten in five games (1 win, then 4 draws in a row). His best friend of all people wants to ruin the series for him and could bring Hertha into uncomfortable regions in the table.
Because when Hertha takes on Leipzig at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, there will be the most extraordinary coaching duel in the Bundesliga.
RB coach Marco Rose (46) and Schwarz have been best friends for 20 years. Rose once said, “It fits like a bucket.”
The two trainers already lived in a two-person flat share when they were professionals, in a single-family house with a garden and pool. Both played a lot of table tennis and darts there. Schwarz laughs: “I was better at table tennis, that’s for sure. He knows that too. It was more balanced in darts, maybe he was a bit better.”
Since then, both of them have been going on vacation together regularly (usually to Mallorca in the past as footballers) – and for a long time now also with their families (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, among others).
Rose is the godfather of Schwarz’s son Karlo (5), Schwarz is the godfather of Rose’s daughter Maria (13). Rose is also best man to Schwarz, who is married to Croatian Katarina. Both also have a daughter (Frida/7).
Black and Rose – two guys who tick similarly, as a person and as a trainer!
Both are believing Christians, values such as honesty, gratitude, friendliness, solidarity, reliability, respect and openness are very important to them. Values that they want to convey to their fellow human beings, but also to their players for the common togetherness.
In their flat share at the time, they often held a Bible study group on Wednesdays with Nikolce Noveski, who was a professional at Mainz at the time, and discussed God and the Bible.
Black: “Yes, that’s right. A very good time in which we dealt with this topic and other topics in depth. Faith definitely helps to find yourself and calm down.”
As a trainer, both friends like it rather stormy.
Both want a lot of ball possession and let the coveted game object be chased all over the place by pressing. Act instead of react. Schwarz: “We want to be very active in both directions.”
Black and rose – both have even more in common.
In Mainz, they kicked under coach legend Jürgen Klopp (55), going through thick and thin.
Schwarz remembers: “First of all, we missed promotion to the Bundesliga twice by a hair’s breadth. Once we were missing a point (2002, ed.), a year later even just one goal. That’s how you learn humility. But that brought us even closer together. And then in the third year we celebrated promotion.”
Schwarz then left Mainz in the direction of Essen and ended his playing career in 2009 at Wehen Wiesbaden. Player Rose stopped playing in Mainz in 2011.
Which: On July 1, 2017, both started their careers as head trainers at the same time. For Schwarz at Bundesliga club Mainz, for Rose at Salzburg, where he won three titles in two years (2x champions, 1x cup winner) and then switched to Gladbach.
With the foals, Rose also won the only coaching duel so far on August 24, 2019 (3-1 with Gladbach in Mainz). Rose then: “In our friendship, nothing interferes, not even the outcome of the game.”
Schwarz says before the game: “Leipzig vs. Hertha is the focus, not Rose vs. Black. But each of us wants maximum success.”
But it is also very clear: Schwarz definitely wants to draw level in the next duel between the friends with a Hertha win on Saturday in Leipzig (“Our main task there will be to defend consistently.”).
Incidentally, Schwarz is celebrating his 44th birthday on Monday – but he would prefer to receive the first congratulations from his best friend Rose earlier – right after the final whistle in Leipzig…