At the Olympiastadion, relegation-threatened Darmstadt 98 defeated Champions League hopeful Hertha BSC 1-2. This victoy for Darmstadt moves them to 13th, three points in front of
Former Hertha man, Sandro Wagner, came back to haunt his old club. He scored the priceless match winning goal that at least saved his new side from an automatic relegation spot.
To start things off in the eighth minute, Vladimir Darida hit an audacious half-volley from well outside the area. The ball took a massive dip, although Christian Mathenia was up to the challenge and caught the shot. In the 10th minute, Mitchell Weiser made a great run into the box. He took a couple of touches too many, though, as his pass back towards the middle got blocked. If he had completed a pass, Hertha would have had a great scoring opportunity.
Hertha's lead doesn't last long as Darmstadt equalize nine minutes later
The match, in the first quarter, had been dominated by the hosts. They looked more dangerous in the final third of the pitch, moving the ball about well. The pressure eventually did pay off as Hertha found an opener in the 15th minute. Salomon Kalou's initial cross got blocked by a Darmstadt defender. Then, Maximilian Mittelstädt sent a good ball towards the back post. Darida was waiting and proceeded to send a header back to the far corner of the goal.
Darmstadt finally got a half-chance off of a set piece in the 21st minute. Sandro Wagner headed a ball into space before Marcel Heller hit his attempt over the cross bar.
Against the complete run of play, the guests did get an equalizing goal. Mercel Heller blew by Mittelstädt down the left and worked towards the byline. Heller then played a ball back into the box where Jérôme Gondorf slotted home, as he beat Rune Jarstein.
The beginning stages of the second half were dull, lacked ingenuity, and any kind of sharpness as compared to the first. The first chance for either side did not come until the 62nd minute. Vedad Ibisevic split the Darmstadt defense with a through ball to Darida. Then, Darida fired a shot into the top of the net. But the Assistant Referee had his flag up for offside. On replay, Darida was just off the shoulder of György Garics.
Four minutes later, it was Darmstadt's turn to go close. Tobias Kempe whipped in a cross from the corner and found Wagner free inside the eighteen yard box. Wagner, somehow, missed the target of the goal as his shot missed the top right corner by mere inches.
Ibisevic got involved again in the final third of the pitch on 70 minutes. He was free in space in the penalty box but skied his effort up and into the stands.
Wagner gets crucial goal for Darmstadt
With seven minutes remaining, Darmstadt found a crucial go-ahead goal. Jérôme Gondorf sent a ball back towards the middle of the box. Former Hertha footballer, Wagner, swung his right foot onto the ball and found the back of the net. In a relegation battle, that goal could be the goal that keeps them in the Bundesliga for another season.
Hertha, though, responded almost immediately. Alexander Baumjohann threaded a pass to Salomon Kalou who found space in behind the defense. The shot, unfortunately, deflected off the toe of the visiting goalkeeper.
The man who scored the goal, Wagner, got sent off for a needless challenge in the 88th minute of the match. He dove into a tackle with his studs showing and was shown his second yellow card of the match.
But Wagner would not be too disheartened by his dismissal as he knows how important the goal he scored is.