ONELeader Kevin-Prince Boateng gathered his teammates from Hertha BSC on the lawn at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium immediately after the final whistle and swore them into the end of the season with arousing words.
But instead of going to their newly critical supporters, the professionals went into the locker room after the vital 2-0 (1-0) in the relegation match in the Bundesliga against VfB Stuttgart. The players were still too worried about the scenes after 1: 4 against Union Berlin in the home game before, when they felt the anger of the fans.
“It was not okay against Union”
After the match two weeks ago, angry Hertha supporters asked the players to take off their jerseys and lay them on the ground as they walked into the basket. Some players endured this humiliation.
“As a team, we decided not to go to the fans for the time being,” goalkeeper Marcel Lotka explained on the DAZN streaming service. “It was not okay against Union. I think the sporting thing is the most important thing now that we also get our points for the fans that we are a unit.”
Hertha coach Felix Magath expressed understanding for the fan boycott of his players: “The team did not go to the fans last week. They disagreed with the action. We demonstrated that last week it is okay as far as the players oppose the measure at the time, said Magath Sunday night.
Magath hopes the situation will calm down in the final sprint of the season. Over the next few days, it should come to “that both groups are approaching each other”. One must “strengthen together against relegation”, the coach emphasized.
“The heart is relieved”
On Magath’s 500th anniversary as Bundesliga coach, the Berliners took a big step towards staying in the league. Due to the success, they rose as Table-15. their lead over the Swabians, which is a number lower, to four points.
“The heart is light. The mood was incredible today,” said goal scorer Davie Selke. The striker (4th minute) gave Hertha the lead with his first goal under Jubilar Magath in front of 54,589 spectators. Ishak Belfodil (90th + 3rd) made the third victory under Magath perfectly.
The Stuttgarts were served after the defeat and had to face their angry fans. “We clearly slept through the first half,” said VfB professional Waldemar Anton. “We have to be there from the start. Then nothing similar will happen. “
This game could not offer football fun due to the precarious situation of both teams. As in the previous week in the 1-0 victory against FC Augsburg, which was also in danger, the Berliners impressed with a team spirit and great commitment that they had long missed.
VfB needs to be improved
With another success next Saturday at Arminia in Bielefeld, which is six points behind, the Bundesliga could possibly be made perfect if VfB Stuttgart simultaneously lost to VfL Wolfsburg. The Swabians are only two points ahead of the East Westphalians in relegation place 16 and must improve again in the last sprint of the season.
The smoke from the pyrotechnic burners in the Stuttgart fan block had not yet disappeared when Hertha started. Marc Oliver Kempf (3rd), who only moved from Stuttgart to Berlin in the winter, had a chance to head the ball. Selke almost got the ball.
Shortly after, the striker was right when Magath’s assistant expert Marvin Plattenhardt crossed in. Judge Felix Brych complained about an offside position, but the video footage was clear. The goal spoke, and Selke and Hertha fans were free to celebrate after the VAR confirmation.
Berlin defends well
There was no sign of great dissonance between the Berlin team and critical supporters during the match. Hertha fulfilled the will of the fans. The fight was real. Stuttgart came with very little. Hertha goalkeeper Marcel Lotka did not have to thwart any serious VfB chances. The Berliners were confident but were unable to put any crucial accents offensively.
In his 500th match as Bundesliga coach, Magath was able to take a seat on the bench in his linen suit in the second half. His assistant Mark Fotheringham took over as coach – with great enthusiasm.
Like his boss, the Scot then saw a much braver VfB team. The Berliners survived difficult phases and from then on successfully resisted the equalizer. Substitute Belfodil made everything clear in overtime.