Hertha BSC aims to take the final step toward a bright future on May 22. And Hertha Berlin has taken the first step by defeating Unterhaching 2-1. It is May 22, 1997. The 25th anniversary of promotion to the Bundesliga was celebrated on Sunday. “Nothing can go wrong today,” Hertha midfielder Christian Fährmann said years later about his early thoughts in Unterhaching.
This Monday, Hertha intends to take another major step. It’s not about promotions or large parties this time. It’s all about having one last chance to stay alive. The Berliners face Hamburger SV in the relegation second leg (8.30 p.m., Sat.1 and Sky), and no one believes anything can go wrong.
Instead, the Bundesliga club is regarded as a significant outsider in the public eye. The reason for this is not so much the outcome of the first leg (0:1) as it is the manner in which it occurred. “Of sure, our first-leg performance was not extraordinary,” coach Felix Magath said on Sunday. That was expressed cautiously because the performance was actually quite poor for such a crucial game.
Hertha would have been demoted long ago in previous years because the table 16 had to play in the second tier right away. Since 2009, relegation has provided a second chance. When it comes to taking advantage of opportunities, however, Magath’s club hasn’t had the best luck in recent weeks. She blew three consecutive points late in the game, resulting in direct relegation.
Then, on Thursday evening, a strong starting position against HSV was squandered. “We’re out at the moment,” Magath rapidly turns this deficit into an advantage. We can only succeed. The onus is now on HSV. I believe the situation is better. As a result, I believe we have a strong chance of winning the game.”
The last choice has been made as to whether Hertha BSC will suffer a sporting absolute loss in the form of a seventh Bundesliga relegation or whether the crazy season will take a final, positive turn. “The cards have been placed on the table. “There’s only one game left,” adds Fredi Bobic, Sporting Director. Due to the absence of the away goals rule this season, a Hertha win by one goal would result in extra and maybe a penalty shootout. The league would be over if the visitors in Hamburg won.
Everyone involved was in a sour mood immediately following the loss in the first game. She’s become a little more cheerful. “Something was developing there,” he sensed. We’re prepared for this match “Magath stated. In the home game, the team did not convey such impression. “However, once we’ve coped with the disappointment, we’ve always managed to come back and do a terrific job,” Magath says.
In fact, he never had more than two terrible games in a row. However, the question remains as to how many setbacks a squad can endure. Especially considering the extended regular season performances in the last games went unrewarded. “The boys will also go in with a certain degree of rage,” Bobic predicts. The frustration over the first leg’s failure should be expressed with “intensity and passion.”
The recent history of relegation serves as a motivator.
Santiago Ascacibar, who was recently suspended, can return to the defensive midfield. As Magath puts it, “a duel that is particularly uncomfortable for the opponent.” When it came to Kevin-Prince Boateng, the coach recalled his presence with Eintracht Frankfurt in the 2018 DFB Cup final: “Prince is one of the finalists. He understands how to do it. For the final, the squad desperately needs him.” That sounded a lot like Boateng, who came out last and started the game. Marcel Lotka, the goalkeeper, will be absent once more.
Magath wishes for a more compact standing position and improved game management. Even if it succeeds, Hertha will still be accompanying one construction site throughout the season, which could suddenly be more important: the innocuous attack. The Berliners require at least one, if not more, goals. “Unfortunately, we don’t have somebody on offense who can guarantee a goal every time,” Magath acknowledges. As a result, it is forced to rely on standards in the person of Marvin Plattenhardt.
The recent history of relegation serves as a motivator. 1. FC Köln lost 0-1 to Holstein Kiel as a Bundesliga club a year ago, won 5-1 away, stayed in the Bundesliga, and only recently dropped to the Conference League. Hertha would appreciate it if the template for staying in till 2021 could be replicated. “Perhaps then everything will be a little simpler,” Bobic says, looking ahead to the end of the season. The General Assembly is scheduled for next Sunday.