The historic Hamburg must continue to wait to achieve the long-awaited return to the highest category of German football after being unable to defend the rent of a goal (0-1) that it achieved in the first leg when it fell 0-2 to Hertha Berlin on Monday in the second leg of the tie for promotion or permanence.
Quite a setback for the Hanseatic team that had, curiously, as their executioner one of the club’s greatest legends, Felix Magath, the player who led Hamburg to the conquest of the European Cup in the now distant year 1983.
The now Hertha coach, unlike what happened last Thursday at the Berlin Olympics, clearly beat the Hamburg coach, Tim Walter, with the aggressive pressure he ordered from his players.
A job in which players such as the Ghanaian Kevin-Prince Boateng, who did not play a single minute in the first leg, or the Montenegrin Stevan Jovetic, who only played the second half in the Olympic Games, were used to the full.
Pressure that was facilitated by the return to the starting eleven of the Argentine Santiago Ascacíbar, after missing the first game due to suspension, who with his ability to occupy the entire midfield helped his teammates harass his rival in the vicinity of the area.
A circumstance that allowed Hertha to steal the ball over and over again, leading to a succession of arrivals that allowed the visitors to get ahead of the game after 4 minutes on the scoreboard (0-1) with a headed goal by the Belgian Dedryck Boyata at the exit of a corner
A result that did not diminish the intensity of the Berlin team, who, spurred on by Marvin Plattenhardt’s continuous incursions down the left flank, continued to search for the goal that would definitively ensure their permanence in the Bundesliga.
A goal that was about to reach the 31st minute in a shot from the edge of the area by French midfielder Lucas Tousart that forced the local goalkeeper, the Portuguese Daniel Heuer Fernandes, to shine.
Only the fatigue accumulated by the passing of the minutes reduced Hertha’s pressure, which allowed Hamburg, who had been unable to shoot between the three posts in the entire first half, begin to generate dangerous chances in the second half.
But even so, Magath’s men did not seem to lose control of the match, thanks to the greater talent of players like Plattenhardt, who came close to establishing the 0-2 scoreline in the 54th minute.
A goal that came nine minutes later, in minute 63, from a lateral free kick in which Marvin Plattenhardt demonstrated his excellent ball kick with a shot that surprised the local goalkeeper at the far post.
So much so that it seemed to completely end the promotion aspirations of a Hamburg team that never seemed able to score, unlike a Hertha team, who had an unbeatable chance in Jovetic’s boots at 73 minutes to definitively sentence the tie.
But nothing could prevent the permanence of the Berlin team, which will continue one more campaign in the highest category of German football at the expense of a Hamburg that, after going down for the first time in its history in 2018, will have to continue playing in the Bundesliga 2.