Änis Ben-Hatira was one of the main players in Hertha’s lost relegation in 2012. Now, before the first leg in the relegation between Hertha and HSV, he remembers the defeat and the attack on the pitch in an interview with SPOX and GOAL.
Ten years after Hertha BSC last took part in the relegation, the Berliners have to endure this nerve-wracking scenario again. Two games against Hamburger SV (first leg today at 8.30 p.m. in LIVETICKER) await, in which it is all or nothing, rescue or relegation.
In 2012, things didn’t end well for Hertha. As a Bundesliga 16. After a 2-1 defeat in the first leg against Fortuna Düsseldorf, who were third in the second division, the Berliners were unable to get past a 2-2 draw in the second leg and had to make the bitter transition to the 2nd Bundesliga – including a pitch attack.
One of the main players at Hertha at the time: Änis Ben-Hatira, who brought the capital club into the relegation in the first place. The German-Tunisian exclusively remembers SPOX and GOAL back to the bitter defeat, the storming of the pitch in Düsseldorf and evaluates the relegation that started tonight and was the “worst” relegation of the year for him.
Änis Ben-Hatira on Hertha’s lost relegation in 2012
“I didn’t really notice our relegation at the time. In the second leg of the 2011/2012 relegation against Fortuna Düsseldorf I got yellow-red in the 54th minute, the first yellow was an absolute joke by the way.
Anyway, I was in the cabin. Without TV. Without real network. I sat there and tried desperately to get a live ticker running on my smartphone. I’m completely freaked out, dude!
Suddenly it got incredibly loud in the arena, I thought the game was over and wanted to join the team. You have to imagine, I’m going down the stairs in Düsseldorf to the stadium, suddenly there’s a whole squadron of police with sniffer dogs in front of me and I see all the people on the field. I will never forget these pictures of the square tower.
Ben-Hatira: “Düsseldorf was worse than us”
But it was a miracle that we got into the relegation at all. 2012 was a turbulent season at Hertha BSC. On the last match day against Hoffenheim we had to win and Cologne lose against Bayern to even get into the relegation. Cologne then got a 4-1 win against Bayern and I scored two goals in the 3-1 win over Hoffenheim.
In the relegation Düsseldorf was absolutely worse than us. We didn’t underestimate them, but we knew that we’re actually better. Sometimes that makes a difference. I still don’t understand how we could lose the first leg 2-1. Then we started the second leg with a shot from Maxi Beister on Sunday and were immediately behind. Then I shoot the equalizer and see yellow-red later. Incomprehensible. And then there is this space storm.
A few of my team-mates were totally scared after the attack on the pitch, our coach Otto Rehhagel said afterwards that he felt like he was in war. We didn’t want to play any more but were put under a lot of pressure, almost forced to play again. My Opinion: This should have been a replay. In the end it went 2-2 and we got relegated. In the evening I sat in the hotel room with Patrick Ebert and a few buddies, we were totally paralyzed.
Ben-Hatira on Hertha vs. HSV: “Two clubs I love”
I only realized the descent after a few days, which was absolutely disgusting. But that’s also why I stayed at Hertha and went to the second division. My contract was actually only for the Bundesliga, I would have been free of charge. But I really wanted to help Hertha get promoted again. And that’s what we did.
Ten years later, two clubs are playing in the relegation, both of which I love. This is the worst that could have happened. Hertha is my home, my old love, blue-white blood flows through my veins. But I turned pro at HSV when I was five years old and growing up. I played there with superstars like Rafael van der Vaart, Vincent Kompany, Nigel de Jong or Khalid Boularouz, the cannibal.
I’m attached to both clubs, would have liked to see both at the top, but emotionally I’m 60:40 for Hertha in the two games. I have no idea which of the two will do it, but I’m extremely excited about the games. As long as I don’t have to watch the whole thing on a live ticker again.”