At Hertha BSC, bitter tears flowed after going into relegation. In the difficult phase, however, coach Felix Magath does not act as a qualix, but as a motivator in order to keep the class. The game in Dortmund gives hope.
It was a moment of emptiness, of absolute despondency. Anyone who saw the Hertha BSC players on Saturday afternoon just before 5.30 p.m. could think that the capital club has already been relegated to the 2nd Bundesliga after the 2-1 loss at Borussia Dortmund.
Players like Vladimir Darida, Lucas Tousart and Dedryck Boyata cried bitter tears. Trainer Felix Magath immediately disappeared into the catacombs of Signal Iduna Park. Scenes of endless disappointment, and it looked no different in the dressing room. “When they got into the dressing room, they dropped their heads,” said Magath.
But the initially disappointed head coach also knew that it wasn’t the end for the “old lady”. Hertha BSC got two finals to prevent the felt relegation. In the relegation on May 19th and 23rd against the third in the 2nd Bundesliga. Currently Hamburger SV, Magath’s regular club.
Felix Magath: “Managed to advance from 17th to 16th place”
“I immediately addressed words to the team. The worst case scenario didn’t happen,” emphasized Magath: “We managed to move up from 17th to 16th place. We were able to prevent direct relegation. We have the opportunity to show that we are a first division team.”
It will be his job over the next few days to free the team from the emotional state of disappointment and, above all, to prepare them mentally for the last outing.
Hertha CEO Fredi Bobic also didn’t want to allow hopelessness after the game: “We have two games, we have to fix it in these two games. The boys have to believe that we can break it. It’s our job to build them up again and get them to work passionately again and bring down the enemy, whoever comes.”
Ironically, the defeat in Dortmund could serve as a beacon of hope: It was perhaps not a brilliant performance that the Berliners presented against the initially unimaginative hosts, but the basic virtues that the coach keeps preaching were absolutely right. Hertha fought against the relegation, the players fought and held out for a long time.
Magath’s premonition of the relegation occurs
“We not only defended passionately, the 1-0 helped us to continue to be in a good position. The lads did an outstanding job – until the penalty came out of nowhere to make it 1-1. After that Dortmund was hooked,” said Bobic.
In fact, substitute Youssoufa Moukoko scored in the 84th minute to make it 2-1 for BVB. About 450 kilometers away, Wataru Endo made it 2-1 for VfB Stuttgart for the rest. Stuttgart stays in, Hertha has to sit in detention.
Hertha had three match points in the last few weeks to ensure they stayed up. You failed every time. Coach Magath even had to grab FC Bayern’s honor so that they didn’t give up last week’s home game against VfB Stuttgart. The 2: 2 then fulfilled the foreboding of the 68-year-old, who had already expected relegation as a likely scenario after his arrival.
There is no alternative to the fact that the experienced coach does not hit the ground running but acts as a motivator. Just trusting the ability to play might not be enough. This season, Hertha has missed the suitability for the first division in terms of play and tactics over long stretches of the season. If no miracle happens, the Berliners will not set off any fireworks in the relegation, but will call up what is in the tank.
Hertha’s Stevan Jovetic: “Leave the emotions aside”
And one of those is indeed a team’s ability to persevere to the end despite many difficult circumstances in a season of two managerial changes, ongoing chaos at the club and breaking up with the fans. “We can’t complain, we have to keep our heads up,” says veteran Stevan Jovetic: “The key now is to put emotions aside and make it through the relegation.”
The processing of everything that went wrong, that despite high demands, you are fighting relegation again, only follows afterwards. At the end of the season in Berlin, all levels will probably be cleaned up and billed. If the relegation succeeds, the damage will be limited. If the “worst case” occurs with a move to the second division, the consequences can hardly be foreseen. “A relegation would be a disaster,” agrees Magath.
But you don’t want to talk about that at Hertha until May 23rd. Confidence is appropriate. And then there’s the motivator Magath again, who believes in staying up in the league: “I think we have a good chance of making it.” If his players believe in it too, there may be tears of joy in the end.