Suddenly the tension stopped. The chants echoed in the Olympic stadium, and people cheered and applauded. “Ha-huh, Hertha Berlin!” fans of the German club Berlin shouted. The atmosphere was lively. However, Hertha’s match against Mainz 05 did not even begin at that point. A good quarter of an hour passed before kick-off when the Berlin players – as a gesture of reconciliation after the tensions of the past few weeks – walked down the curve as one.
The team and the fans had to be patient for a long time until the next celebration. After Mainz took the lead, it went into first-half injury time before Davy Silk’s equalizing goal sent a shriek of relief. It was due to be another evening. Herta left the first match ball unused to stay awake. Ten minutes before the end, the team conceded another goal – and after the defeat 1: 2 (1: 1) they still had to shiver. Maybe only until Sunday evening if VFB Stuttgart loses to Bayern Munich. Maybe until the last game in Borussia Dortmund.
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More than 70,000 spectators had gathered at the Olympic Stadium in anticipation of the landing. Despite some personal issues, Hertha’s team started out ecstatic. Coach Felix Magath, Marvin Platnhardt (muscular problems) and Marco Richter (cold) were not available from the starting line-up last week. They were replaced by Marton Darday (left-back) and Vladimir Darida. On the bench were three A-class players who had played for the Under-19 team the day before in the German Championship semi-finals.
Hertha lacks creativity
Despite all the enthusiasm, Hertha revealed a huge lack of creativity in the match. The best chance in the first half was only possible thanks to the gracious assistance of Mainz defender Alexander Hauck, who fired the ball at the start and then slid wide, giving Davey Silky a clear path into goal. But the heart of the Hertha striker hurriedly moved away and shot wide.
In the middle of the first half, the guests more and more dominated the action, but their first chance also came by chance – with the decisive difference that the ball ended in the goal of the Berlin team. Sylvain tried it and destroys from a tight corner with a low shot to the close corner. Actually not much of a challenge for Marcel Lutka, but the Hertha goalkeeper let the ball slide under his body over the line.
Helplessness hit Herta hard in his mind. Rarely did anything go forward after that. It wasn’t just Mainz who were already considering a break when referee Patrick Ettrich went to the screen on the sidelines to watch a scene again. He then drew a rectangle in the air and pointed to the penalty spot after Musa Nyakathe kicked Hertha captain Dedrick Boyata in the back corner. In the fifth minute of stoppage time, Davy Silk converted the penalty kick to 1: 1.
Post is on the way
Hertha also suffered from the burden of expectations after the break. Despite the possibility of survival, the team does not look really free. The people of Mainz made a more mature impression and were by no means ready to hand over the staff only for a big party. Right at the start of the second half, Karim Onisio celebrated the supposed 2:1 for the guests. The goal didn’t really count because the Mainz player took the ball with his arm.
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Magath responded to the damage to his offensive team and brought in two new players, Ishak Belfodil and Maximilian Mittelstädt. Mainz had the biggest chance, once again through Widmer, who this time failed with a header down Lutka’s reaction brilliantly. Shortly thereafter, Hertha’s goalkeeper was defeated for the second time when Stefan Bell’s header was largely unchallenged to make it 2-1.
Herta had everything in her hands, but that wasn’t the case. This became apparent two minutes before the end of normal time when Luca Volschlager, who had just come in, hit the Mainz post with his first touch of the ball.