Felix Magath took things very relaxed. About an hour before the relegation second leg kicked off, the Hertha BSC coach took the time to chat next to the substitutes’ bench with his former team-mate Horst Hrubesch. Both had won numerous titles together with Hamburger SV.
Throughout the game, Magath, who had mostly sat in the first leg, stood on the edge of his coaching zone with his arms folded behind his back. Magath was happy after the final whistle: Hertha won 2-0 (1-0) at HSV, turned 0-1 from the first game and remains a Bundesliga club. The relegation mission of the 68-year-old found a successful end.
This time the coach played much more offensively, alongside Ishak Belfodil, Stevan Jovetic also played. In addition, compared to the first leg, Santiago Ascacibar and Kevin-Prince Boateng were there from the start. Two players who should bring in mentality. In fact, the guests acted completely differently from the first second than they did four days ago. They attacked early in this final for Bundesliga affiliation and didn’t leave Hamburg any room.
That quickly paid off in the Volksparkstadion, where an electrifying atmosphere had prevailed long before kick-off: first corner of the game by Marvin Plattenhardt, in the middle several Berliners were close to the ball, captain Dedryck Boayta headed him to take the lead a. After less than four minutes, the 0:1 disadvantage from game one was balanced – and it was a little quieter in the stands, at least for a short time. Apart, of course, from the part where the 6,000 or so guest fans were.
Like the majority of the 55,000 spectators, the Hamburg players also had to gather. It took them a little longer, which may have been due to the force with which Hertha continued to tackle this decisive game. Hamburg got the action shifted a bit out of their own half as the game went on, but there weren’t any real chances to score until the break.
Hertha had other opportunities to do so: a shot by Lucas Tousart, which goalkeeper Daniel Heuer Fernandes parried, and again Tousart, who missed a pass from Belfodil in the penalty area. At the break it was 10:1 after shots on goal for Magath’s team, who deservedly led.
A scene just before half-time was indicative of the intensity of this all-or-nothing game. Referee Deniz Aytekin interrupted the game for a foul in midfield, but not everyone on the pitch noticed. Therefore, the ball was fought for a few more seconds.
While Hertha clearly dominated at the beginning, it was HSV who put the pressure on after the restart. However, goalkeeper Oliver Christensen was there for shots by Ludovit Reis and Moritz Heyer. The Berliners found it more difficult going forward, but had a standard situation again.
They have often been dangerous lately, and this time too: Plattenhardt shot from the inside right, the ball went over goalkeeper Heuer Fernandes into the net – 2-0 in the 63rd minute, Hertha led the total for the first time since the relegation began. Magath briefly celebrated alongside attacking coach Vedad Ibisevic.
At the goal, Marc Kempf accidentally got Heuer Fernandes’ arm in his face. The defender was bleeding from the nose and was treated but was able to continue playing. The hosts now had to open up, which resulted in counterattack opportunities. At one, Jovetic appeared alone in front of Heuer Fernandes, but failed with his shot on his right shoulder. In the 80th minute, Suat Serdar briefly raised his fist to the sky. Not because of a goal, but because he had blocked a dangerous shot from Josha Vagnoman.
Magath left his starting XI on the field for a long time and only made substitutions in the closing minutes. Plattenhardt went down, as did Belfodil, replaced by Fredrik-André Björkan and Myziane Maolida. Niklas Stark also came on as a substitute in his last game for Hertha. HSV didn’t come up with any more dangerous action in the six-minute stoppage time either.
At 10:24 p.m., referee Aytekin blew the whistle and it was clear: Hertha will also play in the Bundesliga in 2022/23. “It’s like a championship,” said Kevin Prince Boateng.