Herta must step back: Felix Magath threatens to fight HSV’s past

Hertha must go down
Felix Magath threatens to fight HSV’s past

By Sebastian Schneider, Dortmund

After the last minute drama, Hertha BSC now has to land. Coach Felix Magath still believes he has a good chance – even if the experienced coach faces a tough duel.

Kevin-Prince Boateng ran towards his teammates after the final whistle. With a questioning look, he first turned to Santiago Esquibar, and then took the place of goalkeeper Oliver Christensen. Apparently no one can really explain what happened. Boateng came as a substitute only in the 88th minute, before that he was cheering others off the bench, as he always did. But it did not help. Hertha lost 1-2 (1-0) to Borussia Dortmund in the 34th round. And after ten years of drama against Fortuna Dusseldorf, which ended after a storm in front of the German Football Association stadium, he had to struggle to go down again in the relegation zone. .

Coach Felix Magath had already prepared his team for what could happen. With over 500 games as a coach in the Bundesliga, you obviously get a feel for such things. Because just two weeks ago, when Hertha played only a tie against relegation rival Armenia Bielefeld, the 68-year-old spoke of his inspiration: “When I took over, I was sure we would play against HSV in the relegation zone. There. But it wouldn’t surprise me if it came to this constellation.”

Even if he wasn’t working towards it, half of the Magath scenario has now been realized. But while some of his players were still crying on the field after the final whistle, the 68-year-old analyzed the situation with surprising calm. “I dealt with the result. I think we played a very good match and held out against the German runners-up for more than 90 minutes. We showed that we are a top-class team – and we have to do this twice now,” he told Sky Pay.

Emotional afternoon BVB

In fact, things went according to plan for the Berlin player for a long time, they only needed one point to stay in the league. Then it didn’t matter what VfB Stuttgart did in the long-distance duel against 1. FC Köln. Amidst greetings from the fans who traveled with them, the old lady took the lead early on after striker Isaac Belvodel converted a justified penalty (18). Then Blue and White gave Dortmund the ball, but they didn’t know how dangerous they could become with it. Sometimes they would push him back and forth in the BVB quadruple to the back, and sometimes the pass would end up out of bounds without any pressure from the opponent. The acknowledgment came from the ranks: it was half the time with whistles.

Magath-Elf may also have helped Borussia complete the most important moments before kick-off. The last day of the game at BVB was all about employee entitlement. The farewell marathon began at 2.45 pm (three-quarters of an hour before kickoff), when two physiotherapists received the first flowers. After that, nearly half of the starting players stopped warming up and Erling Haaland, Roman Burke, Axel Witsel and Axel Zagado accepted their packages. It culminated in two emotional highlights: first, farewell to longtime captain Marcel Schmelzer, then club icon and manager Michael Zorc, perhaps the greatest Borussia player of all time, and farewell after 44 years in black and yellow.

It took a while for the BVB players to get back in the game after the emotional party. They were helped by a controversial hand-punishment video. Haaland converted the well-deserved penalty as a farewell gift (68) before moving to Manchester City. Thus, the Norwegian increased his score of impressive goals to 86 goals in 89 matches. Berlin’s fate was then decided. Only young Yusuf Mukoko (84) completed a superb pass from Judd Bellingham, and a few minutes later VFB scored the winning goal 2-1 in the parallel match against Cologne. It was about Hertha.

Boateng’s return

But while some Hertha fans were crying on the pitch after the final whistle and the fans who traveled with them watched the BVB Zork icon’s tour of honor, one person was full of energy once again. “We have to pick up where we left off on Thursday. If we play like that again, I’m sure we have a good chance of staying in line,” Magath said after the match. He clarified at the subsequent press conference that landing was not the worst case scenario, but the lowest goal.

Magath should thank them for the fact that the Berliners have a chance to salvage another season of chaos. Together with his assistant coach Mark Furringham, he raised the team and restructured it again. Magath’s March commitment was ridiculed as the intriguing next chapter in the Berlin Chaos Club. After all, this wasn’t the first unusual coaching decision made by managing director Freddy Bobic this season.

Halfway through the first half of the season, Bobic replaced club icon Pál Dardai with Tayfun Korkut, who had previously been out of a coaching job for more than two years. The hoped-for effect lasted exactly four games until the 3-2 home win over the BVB shortly before Christmas. Ten matches without a win and a drop to 17th in the standings followed, but then came Magath and with him perhaps the most exciting comeback in recent Bundesliga history. The 68-year-old trained and injured aura from a hotel room, Fotheringham whipped an eleven as the twelfth man on site on the sidelines. They won their first home game against Hoffenheim 3-0.

hardest task

Magath made some changes to the team, bringing Kevin-Prince Boateng back onto the field from the stands. Even if the 35-year-old no longer suffices for 90 minutes, he is now taking on the role of captain he was allotted. Against Dortmund he did it from the bench. Left-back Marvin Platnhardt has recently flourished once again under Magath. The 30-year-old, who made his way into the DFB team in 2017 with his dangerous set-pieces, is gearing up for goals once again under Magath.

Plus, the 68-year-old is probably doing what he used to. Suddenly the media’s focus is no longer on the team, but on the coach. Magath recently criticized Bayern’s performance in detail, accusing Bayern of distorting the competition when Bayern lost 3-1 to Mainz and then traveled on vacation to Ibiza, only to draw 2-2 with relegated Hertha rival Stuttgart.

However, nothing has been preserved yet. From his point of view, staying up late would be a great accomplishment, Magath said in an interview with RBB during the week. But there are still two important games missing. If his hunch is correct and HSV is third in the table in the second place, it can be difficult – both on an athletic and personal level. Magath has a long history with HSV. He played 382 matches for Hamburg and scored the decisive 1-0 victory over Juventus Turin in the 1983 European Cup final. “It doesn’t matter if I want something. I have to take it as it comes,” said Magath. “If it’s HSV, it’s obviously going to be a tough match for me.”

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