Having taken a position on the fate of Hertha BSC a few times now, there shall be another assessment today, as the players’ punishments are due.
As a loser, you really have a hard time in this country. And it’s pretty clearly divided into winners and losers. At the Olympics, for example – and please never forget the Olympic idea that “being there is everything” – there is, if you trust the media, one winner and maybe 16 million (everyone who also plays the sport) losers. The desire for sensation, the unconditional will for THE BIG headline, the compulsion to create ever new superlatives ensures this. Ben Johnson, for example, “beat” Carl Lewis in the 100 metres, was declared the winner, the other the loser, even if the latter was honoured with a silver medal, which, if the media were to use their worldwide power, would probably be declared the “loser’s medal” at the same time.
So Hertha lost, in the first and second instance. Ex-player Axel Kruse had already commented in advance on the predictable decision, classifying it as a “political” one. Of course, one could not schedule a replay three weeks after the end of the season. THAT would be guaranteed to smack of an irregular decision. So you gather up enough arguments, pass a few more buck to Hertha by denouncing their unworthy behaviour and MUST come to the decision.
Apart from that, the people’s mood has long since calmed down anyway, you can’t seethe with indignation over such an injustice for three weeks, especially when at the same time you have to witness earthquakes or read about murders and assaults that inevitably push sporting events into the background. So the Hertha members voted at the annual general meeting and, no wonder, decided to accept relegation. No third instance please, no matter how great the injustice.
Well, at this point it was mentioned that another mistake was made by not taking into account the distribution of chances. A replay would have increased Hertha’s chances too much compared to the situation they had, even if the actually justified five minutes more playing time had been added on. Even a Hertha player feels that this would be too much of a reward, it’s not something you’re entitled to, no, you wouldn’t want to keep the class in this way, even more so if it was at the expense of the opponent. So the original proposal of increasing the league – especially since all the top leagues play with 20 teams — is much more likely to be considered. Well, that too is unthinkable, especially in Germany, where everything runs so beautifully by the book, but here too there is the good reason that some of those who would then not belong to the first division could make exactly the same claims: Why them and not us?
Now that the dust has settled, injustice or no injustice, the Berlin players are in for it. Kobiashvili, one of the losers, as mentioned above, who, moreover, was not simply prepared to accept this loser image, to come to terms with the given injustices, who revolted at the monstrosity that befell him, just like that, being declared a loser by an overzealous referee in the club with the euphoric fans, without being given a fair chance to shed this image even before it comes to that, who on top of that brought up the passion that the media demanded from the Berliners for months, but at the same time denied them, that Kobiashvili is now, since all instances were lost and thus justice was supposedly done, to be sentenced to a one-year ban.
At this point, one can only guarantee this: one could let any person experience an injustice, it would only be a question of the size of it, until one would get him to white heat, until he would go berserk. This should please be taken into consideration by the gentlemen “speakers of the law”. If, for example, they were accused of raping a minor girl at a time for which they had no valid alibi, and they might have been blissfully and innocently slumbering in their own little bed at the time, dreaming of a beautiful and just world, and if they were handcuffed and dragged before the court to which they themselves, according to their own faith, should still belong, then, we can assure you at this point, they too would be foaming at the mouth, they could not do this to them with impunity, feelings of revenge would arise against the one who started this malicious rumour.
No, the punishment that is now under discussion, for all the Berlin players, is completely inappropriate. Can’t you sense that they only snapped because they couldn’t accept this injustice, that it was simply too great to swallow willingly, to submissively submit after simply being declared losers at a moment when they were full of drive and hope for the third, decisive goal? The fans of the opposing team prevented them from playing on, the referee forced them back onto the field after 20 minutes for a ridiculous playing time of barely 90 seconds, for 90 seconds in which the game did not even continue in regulation, in which they barely touched the ball, in which there was only one intention for the referee: to get through it in one piece and not to spoil the celebrations with a late goal, in the case of which he would have had to fear for his intact skin.
In the way he presented it, he merely incurred the wrath of a few losers with whom he would have to deal, especially since he now had the law behind him. “What are they getting so upset about? I got the game over correctly.”
Apart from that, let’s talk about relegation matches in general: unlike all other knockout matches, a relegation is actually absurd. In the cup, in elimination matches, the aim is to get through to the next round in a competition that is basically set up like this. Win or fly. The budgets are usually not calculated to generate large revenues here, they are more like extra income, another celebration for the fans of the winning teams, who eagerly await the next draw and the next round, and only have to bury the dream of the Cup at the moment when they themselves are knocked out or their opponents have the better end for them in the final.
In the relegation it’s a totally different story. Two teams have had 34 games to prove that they belong in the same division. Of course, for the second division team it is comparable to winning the cup. You get another chance at the end for the dream goal. But how does it look for the endangered first division team? For them, their livelihoods hang in the balance, for them, the future of the entire club is at stake, for them, a terrible season can only turn into a catastrophe or just barely be saved.
By scheduling a relegation, you actually provoke such games, such performances, such outbursts, from fans and players. Hertha was fighting for its life, so to speak. And when injustice happens to you, it takes on a completely different quality than if it happened in everyday league life, where even if you were disadvantaged once (or even several times), you would still have enough chances to get your luck back on your side. In a relegation, it’s do or die. Do or die, in the true sense of the word.
The Herthans only resisted the death to which they were condemned by an injustice that was indisputably theirs.