Kovac goes home to Hertha

Niko Kovac is to rejoin Hertha BSC Berlin, on a free transfer from champions FC Bayern München.

Niko Kovac is to rejoin hometown club Hertha BSC Berlin from Bundesliga champions FC Bayern München.

Return to Berlin
The 31-year-old defensive midfield player, who represents Croatia but was born in the German capital, was under contract with Bayern until 2005 but is believed to be taking a pay cut to join Hertha. His agent, Jürgen Milewski, said: "On leaving Bayern for another club you normally get paid less."

Five-season spell
Kovac started his senior career with then second division Hertha in 1991/92. He stayed at Hertha for five seasons, playing 148 league games before moving up a division to Bayer 04 Leverkusen. In 1999 he switched to Hamburger SV, joining Bayern two years later.

Free transfer
Capped 26 times by Croatia, Kovac is moving on a free transfer as Bayern look to reduce their squad having exited this season's UEFA Champions League at the first group stage. Hertha finished fifth in the Bundesliga and will play in next season's UEFA Cup.