Five contract extensions at Hertha
On Sunday, the 19th May at the AGM, Michael Preetz announced contract extensions for Vedad Ibišević, Maximilian Mittelstädt and three academy players.
With 120 Bundesliga career goals, Vedad Ibišević is one of the all-time highest scoring non-Germans. Only Robert Lewandowski, Claudio Pizarro and Giovane Elber are ahead of him in the rankings. The former two, at around the 200 goal mark, are practically uncatchable, but Giovane Elber is only 13 ahead of Hertha’s Bosnian veteran. The 34-year-old has made his intentions known: He wants to beat the Brazilian’s record, and he will attempt to do so with Hertha, having extended his contract with the club. "Vedad is our captain and he is a true leader. He’s experienced everything in his long career and he serves as a role model, particularly for our younger players. Aside from that, he has proven this season how important a player he is for the team, so we are happy to be keeping him," said sporting director Michael Preetz. The forward is equally happy about the contract extension: "I am still very happy here, and I’ve noticed in the last few months that my body can keep up, and I want to continue playing football. The talks went well and it was clear very quickly that we both wanted the extension," he said.
The former Bosnia-Herzegovina international, who scored 28 goals in 83 appearances for his country and took part in the 2014 World Cup, transferred to Hertha from VfB Stuttgart in 2015. Before that, the forward had played for TSG Hoffenheim and Alemannia Aachen. The now 34-year-old celebrated his Bundesliga debut in August 2006 and he has since made 313 top flight appearances, 111 of which for Hertha, scoring 38 goals for the capital city club. Furthermore, he has twelve DFB-Pokal appearances under his belt with five goals to his name, plus six Europa League outings (two goals). Since August 2016, he’s worn the captain’s armband for Hertha.
Vedad Ibišević and Maximilian Mittelstädt are staying.
Maxi Mittelstädt’s past, present and future is Berlin. The home grown talent has extended his contract, which was running until 2020. Preetz is most pleased about the agreement: "As an academy player, Maxi has made step by step improvements over the years. This season, he has taken another step in the right direction. We have seen even more potential in him, and we are pleased that we’ve been able to convince him, that Hertha is the right club for his personal development," he explained. The 22-year-old Berliner is equally pleased about the extension: " Hertha is my club. Everyone knows I’ve always dreamed of playing in the Olympiastadion since I was a boy. I am happy that the club are including me in their long-term plans. I want to repay their trust and contribute to the best possible success," he said.
In 2012, the youngster joined Hertha’s academy from FC Hertha 03 Zehlendorf, and has played for various age groups with the club. Three years later, he signed his first professional contract and made his Bundesliga debut in March 2016. 50 more appearances in Germany’s top flight have followed since.
Two more home grown talents remain onboard
Maxi is not the only Hertha youngster who has committed his future to the club. Dennis Jastrzembski, who came to the capital in 2015 and signed a professional contract last summer, has also extended by a number of years. The youth international, who has played eight times for the Germany U19s, made his debut in the season just gone and made five appearances in total. He also came on from the bench in the DFB-Pokal and set up the winner in the 2-1 win against Braunschweig.
Florian Baak, who has worn the Hertha colours since 2005, is also staying in the capital. The centre back has been part of the first team squad since 2017 and has extended his contract, which was expiring this summer. After moving to the Old Lady from the Reinickendorfer Füchse, Baak worked his way through the youth system and singed a professional contract on July 1st 2017. In April 2017, the defender had made his Bundesliga debut. Since then, he has made two first team appearances. "We are convinced that Dennis Jastrzembski and Florian Baak will continue to make good progress with us. Both have earned their place in the first team squad through continuous hard work. Now we want to support them in making the next step," explained Preetz.
Körber: Extension and new loan
Michael Preetz made one more announcement at the AGM: Nils Körber has agreed a long-term extension on his contract with the club and will play on loan at VfL Osnabrück next season as well. "Nils was fantastic in goal this season and played a big role in Osnabrück’s promotion. He showed exactly why we want to plan for the future with him. Next season, Körber can prove his quality in the 2. Bundesliga and gain some valuable experience, before returning to Hertha in 2020," said Michael Preetz. "Hertha is my hometown club, so I am very happy to have signed long term and to feel the trust from the club. Right now, however, I’m looking forward to the challenge in the second division. I would like to keep helping Osnabrück next season and try and contribute to surviving in the 2. Bundesliga," said the young Herthaner, who has played in goal twice for the DFB U21s.