Fortuna Düsseldorf will be returning to the Bundesliga after defeating Hertha Berlin 4-3 on aggregate in the promotion/relegation playoff. Düsseldorf shocked Hertha 1-2 last week in Berlin. That result forced Hertha to score at least two goals in today's match to even have a shot at remaining in the Bundesliga for another season.
The match could not have started any better for the hosts. Maximilian Beister ripped an excellent shot past a rooted Thomas Kraft to give Düsseldorf the 1-0 with less than a minute gone on the clock. The task didn't change much at all for Hertha. They still needed to score two goals to have a shot at survival.
Änis Ben-Hatira brought his scoring boots again this week and pulled one back for Hertha in the 23rd minute. The Hertha fans were in full voice knowing that they need just one more goal to make things level. Disaster struck for Hertha in the 54th minute. 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 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.
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.
Düsseldorf supporters began 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 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 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 supporters stormed 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.
As of now, the only thing known is that 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 next season replacing Köln and joining Borussia Dortmund, Schalke, Borussia Mönchengladbach, and Bayer Leverkusen.