Play-off defeat pushes Hertha closer to relegation

10 May 2012 09:47

Hertha Berlin moved a step closer to relegation on Thursday after they suffered a 2-1 home defeat to second division Fortuna Duesseldorf in the first leg of the German league's relegation play-off.

Berlin now have to overturn the deficit in Duesseldorf on Tuesday in the return leg with Fortuna, who finished the season third in the second division, now in pole-position to win promotion.

Berlin, who finished third from bottom of the Bundesliga, took the lead after just 19 minutes when Czech Republic defender Roman Hubnik rose to head the hosts into the lead in front of 70,000 fans at Berlin's Olympic Stadium.

But Fortuna, who were last in Germany's top-flight in 1997, hit back with two second-half goals as striker Thomas Broeker fired home on 64 minutes then Berlin's Colombia defender Adrian Ramos headed into his own net on 71 minutes.

Fortuna are now just one match away from taking their place in the Bundesliga for the first time since they were relegated in the 1996/97 season having slipped as far down as Germany's fourth division in the 2002/03 season.

Both Greuther Fuerth and Eintracht Frankfurt have already secured their promotion to the top tier for next season.

Source: AFP