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Sports

Hertha Berlin

Pantelic and fellow Berlin players celebrate a goal

Pantelic (center) needs more help from his multi-national teammates

Flexibility, that's the key word for the Hertha Berlin under Lucien Favre. The Swiss coach never tires of emphasizing he wants "polyvalent" players -- i.e. athletes capable of playing more than one position.

But the true key for Hertha, who came in 10th in 2007-08 in a self-proclaimed rebuilding year, is variety. Berlin have been too dependent on striker Marko Pantelic, who contributed to roughly half of the team's scoring last year. Defensive midfielder Cicero looked good in pre-season, and Hertha hope to gain further firepower from Raffael, who arrived last January, and new acquisition Mohamed Chermiti, Tunisia's leading goal-getter.

Club management said it expects the squad to contend for a spot in international competition this year. On paper, at least, the team has made progress, but they probably haven't improved enough to escape the middle of the table.

Major arrivals: Kaka, Maximilian Nicu, Marc Stein, Cicero, Mohamed Chermiti

Major departures: Andre Lima, Rudolf Skacel