It was midway through the first half and Niklas Dorsch brought down Santiago Ascacibar pretty hard in midfield. As a result, a dispute developed with many participants. Right in the middle on the part of Hertha BSC: Kevin-Prince Boateng.
A little later, the midfielder picked up a yellow card after a tactical foul on Dorsch. And when the game was interrupted, he loudly directed his teammates in the away game at FC Augsburg.
Only this week coach Felix Magath noted that there is actually only one leading player at Hertha: Kevin-Prince Boateng. He ordered the 35-year-old, who last played from the start more than six months ago, into the starting XI.
It is well known that he no longer has the speed of earlier days. In terms of presence and in the duels, which he won almost all of them, Boateng was completely convincing and took over the role of boss on the pitch. Just like Hertha fully accepted the fight this time and won 1-0 (0-0) in Augsburg. It was the first away win in the Bundesliga after nine attempts without a win. This results in the jump from 17th to 15th place in the table.
“I trained hard all week and was rewarded for it today. I think I did quite well and still don’t look like a player who’s already finished,” said Boateng, who played almost 70 minutes, on Sky. “There was so much criticism of the team and of me personally. It was just an important win for us mentally.”
Magath said he should do his thing, get the team involved and bring order, Boateng said. He did. “From my point of view it was a great team performance. I don’t want to talk about just one,” said Magath. But with a view to Boateng found: “Prince is a player who takes responsibility and has self-confidence. He leads and talks to the players.”
Compared to the 1: 4 against 1. FC Union, Magath had changed his starting lineup to five positions. Stevan Jovetic was out injured, Linus Gechter had a cold, Vladimir Darida was on the bench and Julian Eitschberger and Myziane Maolida were not in the squad at all.
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The same was true for striker Ishak Belfodil who, according to sporting director Fredi Bobic, did not have a good week of training. In addition to Boateng, Davie Selke, Marvin Plattenhardt, Suat Serdar and Marco Richter were also new.
In the initial phase, Hertha tried to be defensively stable – which initially failed. After Lucas Tousart lost the ball to Mads Pedersen in his own penalty area in the second minute, it passed to Michael Gregoritsch. His shot missed the goal.
Otherwise, Hertha had things under control. There was only one greater chance for FCA through Alfred Finnbogason, goalkeeper Marcel Lotka was there. After that, apart from a free kick by Gregoritsch, there was little to see from Augsburg until the break.
The game was briefly or longer interrupted in front of 28,533 spectators. The game rested for several minutes after Dorsch and Ascacibar collided. Both continued playing with a head bandage.
Dorsch had also been treated off the field beforehand and in this short majority Hertha had their first good chance in the 21st minute: After a precise cross from Plattenhardt, Peter Pekarik shot over the goal.
After that, the Berliners had more confidence in the very hectic game. A goal was not achieved before the break, but Hertha disturbed the opponent early on with the start of the second half. And was quickly rewarded.
After a throw-in by Augsburg, the guests captured the ball, Richter brought it inside after a one-two with Selke. There Serdar finished wonderfully with the hoe, in front of the bench Magath and assistant Mark Fotheringham hugged for a long time.
Gregoritsch hits the crossbar for FC Augsburg
Serdar and Richter, both of whom didn’t really get their chance in the second half of the season, were also involved in the next dangerous scene. After their combination, Richter’s flick went past. Then Augsburg reported back. In the 55th minute, Gregoritsch’s header hit the crossbar.
The guests continued to fight doggedly for the all-important three points. They allowed little. About 15 minutes before the end, Iago shot over the goal from a promising position. Hertha had also led 1-0 in the first leg – and conceded the equalizer through Gregoritsch in the seventh minute of added time. It was coach Dardai’s last game.
This time the stoppage time was a good five and a half minutes – and Hertha brought the win home. “We finally showed what you have to show in a relegation battle and we were successful straight away. That’s good for us,” said Magath, who called the win “vital”.