Head coach Felix Magath made three changes in contrast to the first leg. Santiago Ascacíbar, who missed the first leg through suspension, returned in place of Niklas Stark. Prince Boateng and Stevan Jovetić also came in for Maximilian Mittelstädt and Luca Wollschläger – all three changes were named as substitutes. Oliver Christensen remained in goal in place of the injured Marcel Lotka, as the Blue-Whites began in a 4-4-2-diamond formation.
The dream start: Captain Boyata heads home inside four minutes
Hertha came out of the dressing room with a point to prove at the sold-out Volksparkstadion, and what a start it was! Marvin Plattenhardt’s inch-perfect corner kick was headed home by captain Dedryck Boyata and sent the away end into absolute ecstasy. It was a perfect opening stage, and Hertha looked to push on: HSV goalkeeper Daniel Heuer Fernandes was able to deal with Ishak Belfodil’s header after Peter Pekarík’s cross (10’). The Hamburg side looked to answer with attacks of their own, but the Hertha defence was active and kept vigilant. The home team were unable to get many shots off, but the tackles and chances to counter made the game more and more hectic. The next key moment was, once again, a Hertha shot: a wonderful back-heel from Ishak Belfodil was right into the path of Lucas Tousart, who powered a drive towards goal, but Heuer Fernandes parried away well (31’). As the half went on, yet more silky skills from Belfodil saw him pass his man and cut the ball back for Tousart, but he skied his effort (39’). Tousart was involved in many chances, heading wide from another Pekarík just before the whistle blew for half-time.
Plattenhardt’s wonder-strike keeps Hertha in the Bundesliga!
HSV came out of the dressing rooms with a different energy, and the first shots of the second half belonged to them. Christensen was able to hold Ludovit Reis’ long-range effort, before parrying well from Moritz Heyer seconds later (50’, 51’) – Plattenhardt tried to catch Heuer Fernandes out at his near post at the other end, but the HSV stopper was equal to it in an eventful opening period (54’). Shortly afterwards, Boyata did well to prevent Hamburg’s top scorer Robert Glatzel from doing any damage from a Bakery Jatta cross, and at the other end, our number 21 was involved again – and how! Platte took a free-kick wide on the right flank, around 30 yards out. When everyone expected him to cross, he looped a frankly ridiculous effort over everybody, goalkeeper included, and into the top corner – 2-1 to Hertha on aggregate, and absolutely fantastic scenes (63’)! Our team did not sit back on the advantage they had, and looked to stretch the lead: Jovetić had a shot which ended up over the bar, before the Montenegrin was denied by Heuer Fernandes (70’, 73’). The closing stages saw Felix Magath bring on fresh legs, with HSV trying their utmost to break the staunch defence down. As substitute Darida came close, the board went up for six minutes added time – nerves everywhere. Tousart was shown a second yellow card and sent off with a minute to go, but there was no drama at either goalmouth. Deniz Aytekin blew the final whistle – Hertha BSC were safe! Cue fantastic scenes on the pitch and in the away end. Ha, Ho, He, Hertha BSC!
Hamburger SV: Heuer Fernandes; Heyer (82‘ Gyamerah), Vušković, Schonlau (C), Muheim; Meffert, Reis, Rohr (59‘ Vagnoman); Jatta (74‘ Kaufmann), Glatzel, Kittel
Hertha BSC: Christensen; Pekarík, Boyata (C), Kempf, Plattenhardt (81‘ Bjørkan); Ascacíbar, Tousart, Serdar (85‘ Stark), Prince (89‘ Darida); Belfodil (81‘ Maolida), Jovetić
Goals: 0-1 Boyata (4’), 0-2 Plattenhardt (63’)
Referee: Deniz Aytekin
Yellow cards: Prince, Jovetić, Tousart
Red cards: Tousart (second bookable offence)
Attendance: 54,500 (sold out)