Herta was going to need a little miracle in the end. Something like Hamburger SV happened in 2015, when Marcelo Diaz scored the equalizer against Karlsruher SC with a free kick in injury time from the second relegation match, saving HSV first in overtime and last in the class. Such a miracle was needed on Thursday evening at the Berlin Olympic Stadium. But the minutes of normal playing time elapsed, as did the minutes of overtime. And it happened: nothing. In the end, Hertha Berlin, who was still in the Bundesliga, lost the first relegation match to Hamburg SV, who was still in the second division, 1-0.
Should Felix Magath really fail this time? Hertha’s team went to a short training camp before the match. For two days they stayed at the Olympic Training Center in Kienbaum, about 40 kilometers from the capital’s gates – “because that’s where the winners come from,” Magath said. The Olympic champions and world champions trained here, and you can smell it everywhere, said Hertha’s coach somewhat vaguely. In Herta, it still stinks of landing.
One of the well-known athletes in Berlin is Robert Harting, who prepared for competitions at Kienbaum. At his best, Harting managed to throw a discus for 70 meters, that is, from a distant target in the opponent’s half. Hertha also played a match that evening after Magath had to make a substitution at the back before the match. For first-choice goalkeeper Marcel Lutka, who has yet to recover from a post in Dortmund last Saturday, Oliver Christensen conceded against Berlin – the first game of the season for the 23-year-old Dane.
Christensen followed in Harting’s footsteps, as he also liked to carry sports equipment away to the Hamburg half, although Hertha did not feel quite as happy as a discus thrower once did. On the other hand, since Hamburger showed little ambition to test Christensen’s qualities as a goalkeeper, the game developed over long distances with many tough duels around the midfield, only a very accidental approach to the edge of the penalty area and a few shots that only get in good faith you can. Register as an opportunity.
The longer the game went on, the more desperate and terrified Hertha seemed to be a magath player
Hertha mostly tried down the left flank, with Marvin Plattenhardt and Maximilian Mittelstädt repeatedly trying to overturn their opponents. More than a short period of pressing with a free kick and corner kick and shortly before Isaac Belvodel’s header was ruled out for offside. So Magath’s second surprise character couldn’t prove herself either. The coach had brought in 19-year-old Luca Welschlager. A player more excited than he could hardly have been on the field against HSV. Because in the league match in Bielefeld, Wollschläger missed a big chance to score because he wasn’t expecting it and had already walked away, Hertha conceding a goal to make it 1-1. Wollschläger put in a real effort against HSV, but even his 1.94-meter height didn’t help him counter Hamburg’s air superiority in several Berlin passes. At the break, Magath replaced him with Stefan Jovich.
HSV, on the other hand, would occasionally skip the right side, but then Bakery Jatta played the ball a few times where no one really needed it: behind the goal, across the penalty area or straight into the opponent. So there were several minutes into the first half during which referee Harm Osmers checked a potential penalty for HSV on TV and ultimately ignored it, the most exciting stage.
On the field, there was initially no weight gain in the team in the second half either. On the other hand, Hertha’s supporters made up the clear majority in the stands. Yes, logically, one would think, in a home match. But in Berlin there was concern that HSV fans would spread too much after Hertha BSC opened free ticket sales early.
So Hertha warned Hamburg fans that “fan wear for the guest team is prohibited” outside the guest blocks. In such cases, security personnel will refuse entry. Such solidity would have also helped the security forces in the Berlin defense when they did not refuse, in the 57th minute, Ludovit Reiss, who took the ball from Miro Moheim and shot it over Christensen in the far corner, where it jumped into the goal. Clear.
Goal did the match well – especially the HSV match. Hertha ran hopelessly, but not creatively, Hamburg remained much more dangerous on the counterattack, and otherwise played it cool. Hertha now needs a miracle on Monday in Hamburg – but it’s no longer a small miracle, but a big one.