When Hertha BSC could have wished for a start in the relegation second leg against Hamburger SV, then this: Corner from Marvin Plattenhardt, Dedryck Boyata header and the result from the first leg was equalized. After just four minutes, the final duel between the sixteenth in the Bundesliga and the third in the second division was completely open again.
As a result, Hertha’s coach Felix Magath got to see what he had asked for before the first game last Thursday. Hertha acted like the Bundesliga club, like the favorite that kept the rebellious challenger in check. And even more, who conquered him. Hertha won 2-0 at Hamburger SV with a sovereignty that was not thought possible and remains in the Bundesliga. After the game, Magath announced his departure from the Berliners: “My job is over now,” he said. HSV, on the other hand, is in its fifth year in the second division.
The pull of the Berlin opening goal lasted for a half-time. But they kept Hamburger SV completely in check. The Berlin courage was fueled by two changes in the starting eleven compared to the first leg. Santiago Ascacibar returned to the team after his ban and then there was Kevin-Prince Boateng, the 35-year-old Alpha-Hertha player who had been signed for precisely those games with a final character before the season.
The fact that the liaison between Boateng and Hertha had the character of a warmed-up relationship for large parts of the season was a gift. Boateng played his role perfectly in the opening minutes of that crucial game. HSV initially had little to counter with his and Ascacibar’s physicality.
But someone else became the decisive figure in the Berlin game. Marvin Plattenhardt, the left-back, who once made it to the national team and took part in the 2018 World Cup, threw cross after cross into the Hamburg penalty area from his left. Lucky for HSV that there was no Berliner who threw himself into these submissions with enough conviction. Plattehardt’s flanks were mostly ineffective.
But it was obvious that HSV had lost the ease they had gained in the first leg. An offensive game did not take place, in the first half there was not a noteworthy scoring opportunity for the Hanseatic League. The mixture of anticipation and expectations obviously paralyzed Hamburg, although the crowd made every effort to push their own team forward despite being behind early on. But it was obvious that Hertha had the more pressure-resistant characters on the field. The Berliners were only slightly dangerous, Lucas Tousart simply pulled the ball after fine preliminary work by Ishak Belfodil, Hamburg goalkeeper Heuer Fernandes had a few problems parrying the shot (31st). Just before half-time, Belfodil got the better of it in the penalty area and Tousart appeared again, but the Frenchman failed to get the ball right.
Hertha deservedly led, but HSV came out of the half with much more conviction. Suddenly, coach Tim Walter’s team were winning more duels, Hertha’s goalkeeper Oliver Christensen was only able to fend off a powerful shot from Heyer with difficulty. Christensen, who replaced the injured Marcel Lotka in the relegation games, was not the focus this time, unlike in the first leg. The few balls that came to his goal, he parried confidently. His teammates made it easy for him. Apart from the first fifteen minutes of the second half, they nipped the greatest dangers in the bud early on.
Plattenhardt of all people
The decision was made after just over an hour, in the middle of HSV’s urgent phase. Free kick for Hertha on the right corner of the penalty area. Plattenhardt arranges the ball and circles it directly over Heuer Fernandes into the far corner of the goal.
Plattenhardt, of all people, who was often injured and no longer played a role under Magath’s predecessor Korkut. Magath, on the other hand, went back to left footing, which was effective when he played. Plattehardt has never been more important for Berlin than in this 62nd minute. HSV should not recover from this second goal. His final offensive was no problem for the multi-legged Berlin defense.