Hertha trial Ilhan
By Thomas Zeh & Chris Ives
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Hertha Berlin have handed a trial to Turkey's World Cup 2002 hero Ilhan Mansiz.
Goal-shy Hertha Berlin could be willing to give Turkey's World Cup 2002 hero Ilhan Mansiz the chance to get his struggling career back on track by giving him the chance to impress them during a trial.
Ilhan was a revelation when Turkey sensationally came third during the World Cup in the Far East, but the Germany-born striker fell from grace after leaving Istanbul giants Besiktas for Japanese outfit Vissel Kobe in March 2004.
The 29-year-old is currently hoping to return to full fitness after undergoing knee surgery in October and is expected to line up with Falko Gotz's team for Hertha's winter training camp.
"If everything goes according to plan Mansiz will be able to report back to training at the end of January and we'll then see if he will fit in our team," explained general manager Dieter Hoeness, who is keen to strengthen the club's strikeforce.
Hertha have only produced 21 goals in their first 15 Bundesliga games and would like to find an alternative for struggling former Germany international Fredi Bobic, Angola youngster Nando Rafael and the injury-plagued Giuseppe 'Billy' Reina.
Mansiz will be available on a cut-price deal, which will suit Hertha after they announced increased debt on Monday.
The Bundesliga outfit have announced a total debt of é¼18.96 million at the end of the 2003/04 season.
The figure was presented by club president Bernd Schiphorst at the club's annual general meeting on Monday and represents an operating loss of é¼2.1 million for the season.
A poor season on the pitch which saw the capital city club narrowly avoid relegation, as well as the expensive hiring of coach Hans Meyer to keep Hertha in the top flight, were the main reasons for the loss, but Schiphorst told delegates that there was no need for concern
"Considering it was such an awful year, I would say we were lucky to get off as lightly as we did," he said.
"I don't want to whitewash over the situation, but everything is under control as far as our finances are concerned."
Meanwhile, Hertha supporters received a massive boost after Hoeness announced that club captain Arne Friedrich would be signing a new deal in Berlin.
The Germany international defender is believed to have been a target for both Bayern Munich and Schalke, but he will now stay on at the Olympiastadion.