1: 2 home defeat before 70,000: Hertha BSC misses the early rescue

Suddenly the tension released. Loud cheers echoed through the Olympic Stadium, people cheered and clapped. “Ha ho hey, Hertha BSC!” shouted the fans of the Berlin Bundesliga club. The atmosphere was downright exuberant. However, Hertha’s game against Mainz 05 hadn’t even started at that point. It was a good quarter of an hour before kick-off when the Berlin players – as a gesture of reconciliation after the tensions of the past few weeks – marched into the curve as one.

“It was the right time to go to the fans,” said Hertha goalkeeper Marcel Lotka. “They gave us great support.” However, it wasn’t going to be as nice on Saturday as it was before the game. The Berliners lost their home game against Mainz 1:2 (1:1). Because the team left their first match ball unused to stay up, they now have to keep shaking. Maybe only until Sunday evening if VfB Stuttgart should lose at Bayern Munich. Maybe until the last game next weekend at Borussia Dortmund. From now on, according to Hertha’s coach Felix Magath, you have to prepare for the relegation. Because: “As a professional, who I consider myself to be, I prepare for the worst case scenario.”

More than 70,000 spectators had gathered in the Olympic Stadium in anticipation of relegation. “It would have been nice to make that clear in front of our own fans today and to have a nice evening,” said Hertha striker Davie Selke. “Unfortunately, football isn’t always a request concert.” The Berliners actually went into the game quite euphorically. “We were a bit surprised by Hertha’s high pressure,” said Mainz coach Bo Svensson. “We didn’t start the game well.”

Hertha lacks creativity

But despite all the zeal, the Berliners revealed a dramatic lack of creativity in the game going forward. The best chance of the first half was only possible thanks to the kind assistance of Mainz defender Alexander Hack, who first kicked the ball wide and then slipped away, giving Davie Selke a clear path to the goal. But Hertha’s center forward pulled away hastily and shot well past the goal.

In the middle of the first half, the guests got into the game better, but their first chance also came about by chance – with the decisive difference that the ball was then in the goal of the Berlin team. Silvan Widmer tried it from a tight angle with a low shot to the near corner. Actually not a big challenge for Lotka, but Hertha’s goalkeeper let the ball slide under his body over the line. “That was a careless mistake,” said Lotka. “It mustn’t happen.”

The deficit hit Hertha hard on the mind. Hardly anything went forward afterwards. It was not just the people of Mainz who were presumably already thinking about the break when referee Patrick Ittrich went to the monitor on the sidelines to watch a scene again. He then drew a rectangle in the air and pointed to the penalty spot after Moussa Niakathé had kicked Hertha’s captain Dedryck Boyata in the back of a corner. In the fifth minute of stoppage time, Davie Selke converted the penalty to 1:1.

The post is in the way

A goal at the right time, but Hertha continued to suffer under the weight of expectations after the break. Despite the prospect of staying up, the team didn’t seem really free. The people of Mainz left the more mature impression and were by no means willing to only hand over the staffage for a big party.

Magath reacted to his team’s offensive harmlessness and brought in two fresh players in Ishak Belfodil and Maximilian Mittelstädt. Mainz had the greatest chance, again through Widmer, who this time failed with a header at the foot of the brilliantly reacting Lotka. Shortly thereafter, Hertha’s goalkeeper was beaten for the second time when Stefan Bell headed in largely unchallenged to make it 2-1.

Hertha had everything in her own hands, but it wasn’t to be. This became apparent two minutes before the end of regulation time when Luca Wollschläger, who had just come on, hit the post of the Mainz goal with his first touch of the ball. And then again immediately after, when Selke headed the ball into the goal, but the referee and linesman refused to acknowledge the goal because they had noticed a nudge from the Berlin striker. “If that’s a foul,” said Selke, “then strikers don’t score header goals anymore.”

By Editor

Leave a Reply