Hertha beat Hamburg in playoffs to retain Bundesliga status
Web Editor:國際日報 International Daily News
BERLIN, May 23 (Xinhua) -- Hertha Berlin remain in the Bundesliga after beating second division Hamburg 2-0 (2-1 on aggregate) thanks to goals from Dedryck Boyata and Marvin Plattenhardt in the second leg of the playoffs on Monday.
The visitors from Germany's capital needed to overturn a 1-0 deficit from the first leg, and they made a fairy-tale start to the second leg as Plattenhardt's corner found Boyata, who restored parity in both games from the central position.
HSV were shocked and couldn't respond while Hertha continued strongly, as Lucas Tousart unleashed a dangerous effort to test Hamburg goalkeeper Daniel Heuer Fernandes on the half-hour mark.
Hertha remained the more active team, but Tousart couldn't control Ishak Belfodil's good build-up work five minutes before the break.
After the restart, Hamburg took control, knowing that a goal could book them a berth in the first division.
The hosts came out with all guns blazing as Ludovit Reis and Moritz Heyer forced Hertha custodian Oliver Christensen into action in quick succession.
Hertha were a menace on counterattacks and almost stunned Hamburg, but Fernandes was equal to Plattenhardt's near-post attempt in the 54th minute.
Plattenhardt remained in the thick of things and flabbergasted the hosts at the hour mark after curling a free-kick over Fernandes into the far post to double the lead.
Hamburg needed a goal to force the game into extra-time, but HSV lacked accuracy in the final third. Meanwhile, Hertha almost killed the game in the 74th minute but Tousart couldn't beat Fernandes in a one-on-one.
The hosts increased the pressure in the closing stages but Hertha's defense stood firm and protected their lead until the final whistle to ensure another season in Germany's top flight.
"We feel very relieved. The boys staged a divine performance. They played as a team. They didn't do any mistakes and they really pressed for the goals," said Hertha Berlin sporting director Fredi Bobic.