Fortune favours Fortuna
An Adrian Ramos own goal could prove costly to Hertha Berlin after they suffered a 2-1 defeat by Fortuna Dusseldorf.
Last Updated: 03/07/12 5:16pm
An Adrian Ramos own goal could prove costly to Hertha Berlin after they suffered a 2-1 defeat by Fortuna Dusseldorf in the first leg of their Bundesliga promotion-relegation play-off at Olympiastadion.
Roman Hubnik headed Hertha in front in the 19th minute but Thomas Broker levelled for the visitors in the 64th minute.
Ramos then netted at the wrong end in the 71st minute and gave Norbert Meier's side a second away goal and a one-goal lead to take with them into the second leg.
The sides now head to Dusseldorf for the return leg next Tuesday with 51,000 fans expected to help Fortuna rejoin the Bundesliga after a 15-year absence.
Fortuna started brightly, looking to become only the second 2. Bundesliga side to prevail in the play-off after Nurnberg succeeded three years ago.
They went close to opening the scoring in the 10th minute when Andreas Lambertz found himself with only Thomas Kraft to beat, but the Hertha goalkeeper came out on top of that battle.
Kraft had no chance a minute later in reaching Adam Bodzek's flying header which went just wide of the post.
Hertha's response came in the form of the opening goal which had much of the 70,000 fans on their feet in the 19th minute.
Anis Ben-Hatira sent in a corner from the left which was met by the giant defender Hubnik, who headed the home side in front from seven yards out.
The goal gave Hertha confidence and Ben-Hatira, whose two goals last weekend helped earn Hertha this second chance, sent a shot just wide after half-an-hour.
Fortuna held out until the break, when they reorganised, emerging for the second half with the same verve they had shown in the opening exchanges.
However, this left them susceptible to Hertha's counter-attacking tactics and the hosts missed a glorious chance to double their lead in the 58th minute.
Ben-Hatira's cross was met by Ramos, but the Colombian headed wide of the post.
Fortuna were unable to make any inroads through a disciplined and packed Hertha defence, with Lambertz resorting to shooting from distance but Kraft had no problem plucking his shot out of the air in the 62nd minute.
They finally made the breakthrough in the 68th minute, with Broker scoring a fine individual goal, beating a host of Hertha defenders before keeping his cool to slot the ball past Kraft and in off the inside of the near post.
It was Fortuna's turn to play with more confidence, and they went in front in the 71st minute.
Ken Ilsoe's free-kick was curled dangerously into the penalty area where Ramos unwittingly headed it past his own goalkeeper.
Hertha coach Otto Rehhagel sent an extra striker in Tunay Torun on for the final 15 minutes and the home side camped in the Fortuna half with the visitors defending resolutely.
Ronny came close to an equaliser by hitting the post in the 88th minute and Kraft made a fine save to deny Broker in stoppage time as Fortuna held on to a result which puts them closer to a place in the top flight next season.