The final game of the season, away to Borussia Dortmund, saw Felix Magath make four changes. At left-back, Marvin Plattenhardt replaced Márton Dárdai, who had muscular issues. Maximilian Mittelstädt and Jurgen Ekkelenkamp came in for Vladimír Darida and Prince Boateng, who both started on the bench. Up front, Ishak Belfodil came in for Davie Selke, was also out due to muscular issues. U23 players Christalino Atemona and Jonas Dirkner took places among the substitutes’ bench.
Belfodil from the spot – a rock-solid first half
The Blue-Whites came into the game with a good opening spell, quelling the home side’s attacking exploits and looking to break on the counter attack. One of these led to the first goal – Belfodil broke into the penalty area, where VAR judged him to have been brought down by Dan-Axel Zagadou (17’). He made no mistake from 12 yards, and Hertha had the lead (18’). The hosts definitely had more of the game following the opener, but did not pose much danger to Marcel Lotka’s goal – the defence was working fantastically to prevent any chances. BVB’s first chance came on 37 minutes, as Marius Wolf headed well wide from Marco Reus’ free-kick. There was a real moment of concern in added-time, as Lotka took a goalpost full in the face to claw a Zagadou cross away. He was down for a couple of minutes to receive treatment, but was able to carry on – that was the last action of the first half, and Hertha went into the break ahead.
Haaland and Moukoko win it for Dortmund
The second half began with Marco Richter coming on to replace Ekkelenkamp, and a huge chance for Marco Reus. He went through one-on-one, but Lotka did fantastically to block his attempt (51’). Not long after, the BVB captain’s set-piece was blocked by Ishak Belfodil (54’). Suat Serdar was then replaced by Darida, before the lively Belfodil found Richter in space, but he sent his effort well over (62’). Then, the equaliser came in highly controversial style. Santi Ascacíbar blocked a free-kick with his shoulder, his arms behind his back and tucked in. Referee Tobias Stieler was called over to the monitor and, somehow, gave BVB a penalty (66’). The decision was final, and Erling Haaland converted the spot-kick (68’). Marco Rose’s side grew in energy after their goal, Haaland going close twice, once from a Marius Wolf cross, then from Jude Bellingham’s delivery (73’, 75’). Substitute Youssoufa Moukoko then found the tightest of angles to squeeze the ball in off the far post to give Dortmund the lead (84’). No further goals and an added-time winner for VfB Stuttgart in their final game against FC Köln meant that Hertha finished the regular season in the relegation playoff place. The two-legged tie against the third-placed side in the 2. Bundesliga (their final day is tomorrow) will take place on the 19th and 23rd of May (both at 20:30 CEST).
Borussia Dortmund: Bürki; Wolf, Can (46‘ Bynoe-Gittens), Akanji, Zagadou (82‘ Pongračić), Guerreiro; Witsel (83‘ Moukoko), Bellingham, Reus (C), Brandt; Haaland
Hertha BSC: Lotka; Pekarík, Boyata (C), Kempf, Plattenhardt; Ascacíbar (88‘ Jovetić), Tousart, Mittelstädt (65‘ Bjørkan, 88‘ Prince), Ekkelenkamp (46‘ Richter), Serdar (55‘ Darida); Belfodil
Goals: 0-1 Belfodil (18’ Pen.), 1-1 Haaland (68’ Pen.), 2-1 Moukoko (84.)
Referee: Tobias Stieler
Yellow cards: Ascacíbar, Plattenhardt