Fortuna Düsseldorf ended 15 years of longing for Bundesliga promotion after chaotic playoff battle vs Hertha Berlin with fans invading the pitch in the stoppage time.
Düsseldorf / NationalTurk – Fortuna Düsseldorf returned to the Bundesliga after defeating woeful Hertha Berlin 4-3 on aggregate in the Bundesliga promotion/relegation playoff. Having schocked Hertha 1-2 last week in Berlin Düsseldorf entered Hertha Berlin game at home turf with a big advantage. Hertha Berlin had to score at least two goals in the match to even have a shot at remaining in the Bundesliga for another season and they even managed to score 2 but the result was dissapointing for Berlin side. They saw in the end 2 relegations in 3 years.
The match on Tuesday evening pitted the third-best team from the second division (Fortuna Düsseldorf) against the third-to-last team in the Bundesliga this past season ( Hertha Berlin)
The Fortuna Düsseldorf vs Hertha Berlin match could not have started any better for Düsseldorf. Maximilian Beister ripped an excellent shot past a rooted Thomas Kraft to give Fortuna Düsseldorf the 1-0 lead with less than a minute gone on the clock. The task didn’t change much at all for Hertha Berlin. They still needed to score two goals to have a shot at survival.
Düsseldorf back in the Bundesliga
Hertha’s Ben-Hatira pulled one back for Berlin in the 23rd minute. The Hertha fans were in full voice knowing that they need just one more goal to make things level. However disaster struck for Hertha in the 54th minute. The goal scorer Ben-Hatira was shown his second yellow card and was sent off. Less than five minutes later Ranisav Jovanovic found the back of the net to put Fortuna Düsseldorf up 4-2 on aggregate.
The Hertha supporters in the corner of the Esprit Arena let their unhappiness be known. A dozen or more flares were thrown onto the pitch. Hertha players kicked the flares off of the pitch and pleaded with their supporters to calm down so they could finish the match. This was a sign of things to come and the match would go down in history for some ugly scenes that forced long delays, particularly near the end of the game, nearly urging referee Wolfgang Stark to abandon the match.
Time ticked away and in the 85th minute, Raffael scored for Hertha to pull them within one goal of survival in the Bundesliga. After the massive delay for the flares, referee Wolfgang Stark signaled seven minutes of stoppage time and then chaos struck again at Düsseldorf Esprit Arena packed with the max. capacity crowd of 51,000 Fortuna fans.
Fortuna Düsseldorf Hertha Berlin Bundesliga Promotion/Relegation game – Watch the fans invade the pitch during the game
Fortuna Düsseldorf supporters started to find their way down from the terraces onto the areas surrounding the pitch. With a minute of the allotted stoppage time remaining, the Düsseldorf supporters finally took to the pitch. Many players from both sides and the referees took to tunnel to head to the locker room. Many stayed on the pitch, and Hertha’s Christian Lell and Düsseldorf’s Assani Lukimya nearly came to blows after an argument. The match was delayed for over 15 minutes while German police cleared the field of fans. Referee Stark had to go into the Hertha locker room and convince them to return to the pitch for the final two minutes. The match restarted, and the final two minutes passed without event. Stark blew his final whistle, and the eager Düsseldorf supporters many of them clearly drunk, invaded the pitch again.
It was not immediately known after the match if Hertha would appeal to the DFB for the ending of the match. If they did and the DFB approved the appeal, the match could be replayed or Düsseldorf could have to forfeit. German national team’s manager Joachim Löw described the Düsseldorf fan’s behaviour as outrageous. Köln-based Bild tabloid’s heading read ‘ Düsseldorf shamefully and scandalously promotes to Bundesliga ‘ a result of Köln vs Düsseldorf rivalry and following FC Köln ‘s relegation.
As of now, the only thing known is that Fortuna Düsseldorf are heading to the Bundesliga for the first time in 15 years. They’ll be the fifth club from North Rhine-Westphalia in the Bundesliga in 2012-2013 season replacing their arch-rival town Köln and joining Borussia Dortmund, Schalke, Borussia Mönchengladbach, and Bayer Leverkusen.