For a moment it looked as if everything could finally resolve itself. Shortly after the Hertha BSC team disappeared into the basement of the Olympic Stadium without saying a word, two players returned to the interior. The appearance of Davie Selke and goalkeeper Marcel Lotka was met with frenetic cheers, but the crowd’s joy proved to be premature.
Because Selke and Lotka only met the contractual obligations to the TV rights holders. The obligations to their own followers, however, remained unfulfilled that evening. “As a team, we decided not to go to the fans for the time being,” said Lotka at Dazn.
So this emotional evening in the Olympic Stadium with the eminently important 2-0 win over table neighbors VfB Stuttgart somehow remained unfinished. “The mood was unbelievable today,” said Selke. 55,000 spectators came to the game against VfB, their support for Hertha was appropriate to the importance of the encounter. But the consistently loud evening came to an unusually quiet end.
Minutes after the final whistle, the east curve was completely populated. “We want to see the team” was sung in the meantime. But the crew was gone and they never came again. Only when this realization spread among the masses did the ranks thin out. The fans left the stadium in silence. There weren’t any whistles or expressions of displeasure – actually common in such situations.
The team reacts to the humiliation after the derby
This was probably also due to the fact that a large part of the normal fans could understand the decision of the team. “It wasn’t okay against Union,” said goalkeeper Lotka. Many followers saw it the same way. After the derby defeat against Union, the Ultras asked the Hertha BSC players to take off their jerseys and put them down in front of the curve.
Despite the heavy criticism of it, the Ultras remained defiant. The Harlequins, the club’s best-known fan group, wrote on their website: “We do not regret this action.” This team did not deserve the flag on its chest.
In the “curve echo” to the game against VfB, the Ultras also explained that “due to the break with the players that cannot be explained away” they would dispense with visual stylistic devices such as waving flags and double holders and “also adapt the songs more to what is happening on the pitch”.
What is supposed to be a punishment should be difficult to convey to non-Ultras. In any case, most spectators felt the game-related and grassroots democratic support in the game against Stuttgart as a blessing. The team must have felt the same way.
In general, however, the relationship status between the club and the organized fans remains complicated. A lot has happened this season: It started with the unannounced visit of the Ultras to non-public training after the cup defeat against Union and the threat of igniting the next stage if necessary. It continued with the reaction of the club to examine legal steps before the whole thing finally escalated after the 1: 4 in the derby two weeks ago.
The fuse is short
The fuse on both sides is short, a latent irritation can still be clearly felt. In an interview with Dazn before the game, sports director Fredi Bobic emphasized the distinction between all Hertha fans and “a small group that might see things differently from time to time”.
Coach Felix Magath also expressed understanding for his team and their refusal to celebrate the victory together with the fans in the corner after the game. “I think it’s okay as far as the players are fighting back,” he said. At the same time, however, he said he was open to dialogue and expressed his hope that both groups would get together in the next few days to resolve the differences: “In the last home game against Mainz, reconciliation would actually be the order of the day for me.” After the win against Stuttgart the chances are at least not bad that there will be something to celebrate again.