Hertha BSC were still missing six minutes plus stoppage time at Borussia Dortmund to stay in the Bundesliga on their own. It was 1:1. Then Youssoufa Moukoko, who had just come on as a substitute, got through on the left and put the ball over the inside post and into the goal.
Hertha was behind and had to hope that VfB Stuttgart would not win against 1. FC Köln. But that’s exactly what happened, with a goal from Wataru Endo in the 92nd minute. Since the Berliners no longer equalized, but lost 1: 2 (1: 0), they have to be relegated.
Opponent there will be the second division third party, currently Hamburger SV. Coach Felix Magath’s rescue mission is being extended.
There were a lot of emotions in front of 80,500 spectators before the game. BVB said goodbye to several players, including goalkeeper Roman Bürki, former captain Marcel Schmelzer, who was at the club for 17 years, Erling Haaland – and Michael Zorc, one of the most influential figures in BVB history.
Zorc joined the club in 1978, is a record player, has been sporting director since 2005 and has won numerous titles. The 59-year-old stops, the south stand dedicated an impressive choreography to him.
There was less activity on the lawn at first. Hertha gave the ball to the hosts, who were only interested in a good end to a season that was anything but exciting, but attacked aggressively and with a lot of effort in this important game.
What was appreciated on the bench by Kevin-Prince Boateng, among others, who coach Felix Magath had not ordered into the starting XI this time. Compared to the game against FSV Mainz 05, Vladimir Darida, Marton Dardai and injured Davie Selke were also absent there.
In addition to Maximilian Mittelstädt, Marvin Plattenhardt and Jurgen Ekkelenkamp, Ishak Belfodil was also a newcomer. And when things got dangerous going forward, the striker was involved. Especially after a good quarter of an hour: Belfodil moved into the penalty area, Dan Axel Zagadou brought him down. Penalty decided referee Tobias Stieler.
But there was a flag raised by assistant Eduard Beitinger. Stieler checked whether Belfodil had been offside before the foul. If he didn’t, there was a penalty and Belfodil converted safely. The lead was not only good for Hertha for their own game, but also because something had happened about 400 kilometers south-west a few minutes earlier: VfB had taken the lead and thus increased the pressure on the Berliners, who at that time only had one conceded were removed from relegation.
Now the situation looked more relaxed. Especially since Dortmund continued to have very few ideas going forward. Only after more than 35 minutes did Marius Wolf bring a header at least close to the Hertha goal. And in stoppage time, a Zagadou cross became quite unpredictable.
Goalkeeper Marcel Lotka – who has signed a contract with BVB for the new season, but Hertha would like to keep him – went to the ball with one hand. His face hit the post and had to be treated, but he was able to continue playing. BVB failed to get a shot on target in the first 45 minutes, Hertha exactly one. That was enough for the break.
After the change, Dortmund increased their efforts significantly. That almost paid off quickly, but Marco Reus put the ball too far in front of Lotka and therefore failed when trying to bypass the goalkeeper. Hertha came closer to the rescue bit by bit. Especially when Cologne equalized in Stuttgart after just under an hour.
But then there was video evidence again. And another penalty. This time against Hertha because of a handball from Plattenhardt. When Haaland shot, Lotka was still on it with his foot, but the ball found its way into the goal, equalizing in the 68th minute. And Dortmund wanted more, Haaland wanted more in his last game before moving to Manchester City.
Hertha almost never came to relief attacks. After preliminary work from Reus, he had the chance to take the lead, but couldn’t head the ball towards the goal. Then Moukoko scored and Magath’s team was no longer in control.
Shortly thereafter, VfB Stuttgart actually made it 2-1. Hertha then had the opportunity to equalize through substitute Stevan Jovetic. But the ball went to the side netting. Shortly afterwards it was clear: Hertha is 16th in the table after 34 matchdays.