Promotion playoff, 1st leg
Hertha BSC Berlin - Fortuna Düsseldorf 1:2 (1:0) 68,041 1:0 Hubnik (19., Ben-Hatira) 1:1 Bröker (64.) 1:2 Ramos (71., own goal, Ilsö)
Fortuna Düsseldorf took a giant step towards a return to the Bundesliga. The 2.Liga 3rd place club defeated Hertha BSC in Berlin, putting themselves in a good position to hold on at home and gain promotion.
Berlin started out trying to dominate the match, but Fortuna began to gain confidence. However, despite gaining some promising opportunities, they wasted them. They were duly punished. A corner from Ben-Hatira, and Hubnik leapt the highest, Berlin up 1-0. Now it was complete Hertha dominance, as Fortuna struggled to get the ball out of their half, and were in danger of being overrun. Berlin pressed, but couldn’t get another goal, Fortuna barely hanging on.
The half-time was definitely put to good use by coach Norbert Meier. Düsseldorf came out aggressive, and although they were still helpless going forward, they neutralized Hertha’s midfield. Then a brilliant piece turned the game. Thomas Bröker, one of Fortuna’s key players all season long, started a slalom run through the Berlin defense, beating 3 players and knocking home. Now Fortuna began to dominate, and and own goal off a free kick gave the visitors the lead. They then fell back and killed off the match, taking a massive win home to take to Düsseldorf. Meier definitely out-foxed Otto Rehagel in this one.
The rematch is next Tuesday in Düsseldorf. The club has already received over 100,000 requests for tickets, so the 51,000 capacity stadium will be packed to the rafters with Fortuna fans, hoping to see a return to the Bundesliga, last seen in Düsseldorf back in 1997. Fortuna had some hard times, falling down to the 4th division, but now they’re almost back. Hertha has their work cut out, as they’ve been weak on the road, but they basically have to win by two goals. Meier definitely out-foxed Otto Rehagel in the opener, so the old-timer will have to work some magic if Berlin is to prevail.