Germany: Bundesliga
FT
1 - 1
(0 - 0)
Hertha BSC
Bochum
L. Tousart (63)
K. Schlotterbeck (90)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

15:30 Kickoffs: Late Schlotterbeck tally relegates Hertha, Bremen clinch safety, Union drop points

The 2022/23 German Bundesliga's first relegation has been confirmed after Hertha BSC failed to hang on at home against visiting relegation rivals VfL Bochum Saturday afternoon at the Olympiastadion. Keven Schlotterbeck scored an equalizer deep into second half injury time to hand Hertha a 1-1 draw and a ticket back down to the 2. Bundesliga. 

Elsewhere in a highly entertaining set of simultaneous kickoffs, Bremen were able to clinch safety with a draw against Köln while Schalke took a point off Frankfurt in a 2-2 draw at the Veltins Arena. In a result with huge ramifications for the Champions' League race, Union Berlin were upset by TSG 1899 Hoffenheim at the PreZero Arena in Sinsheim. 
Pal Dardai's Hertha BSC have been relegated from the Bundesliga. The Charlottenburg capital city side saw their seventh overall relegation confirmed in the most heartbreaking of fashions. Berlin's "alte Dame" took a 1-0 lead that would have kept them very much alive into the fourth minute of second half-injury time. A late equalizer from former Union Berlin defender Kevin Schlotterbeck (90+4) nonetheless took the two points out of Hertha's hands.

Hertha trainer Dardai made four changes to the XI that were crushed in the cathedral city last Friday night. Two injured defenders, Filip Uremovic and Marc Oliver Kempf, were unavailable. Agustin Rogel was inserted into the lineup with Marton Dardai moving out of midfield and into his natural central defensive position.

Suat Serdar took over in midfield for Dardai. Maximilian Mittelstädt started over captain Marvin Plattenhardt at left-back. Kevin-Prince Boateng also took the starting spot of Florian Niederlechner. Boateng played at ten, with Stevan Jovetic moving up to the lead-striker slot in Dardai's 4-2-3-1, which held a rigid shape.

Bochum trainer Letsch made just one change to the side that bested relegation rivals Augsburg in a five-goal thriller at home last week. Konstantinos Stafylidis wasn't able to go due to both shoulder and rib issues. Kevin Stöger took the Greek international's place. The visiting Revierklub also lined up in a 4-2-3-1, albeit one with some interesting midfield staggers.

The first big chance of the match went to Bochum. Philipp Hofmann narrowly headed wide in the 5th. Several interruptions and midfield turnovers impeded the flow of proceedings at the Olympiastadion over the next quarter-of-an-hour. The capital city side thought they had snatched the lead when Dodi Lukebakio slotted past Riemann in the 19th.

A VAR review nevertheless revealed that Jovetic had fouled Ivan Ordets prior to releasing Lukebakio from the center-circle and the tally was chalked off. Bochum racked up points with several chances over the course of the rest of the half. Christopher Antwi-Adjei, Takuma Sason, and Philipp Förster all either sent efforts wide or found themselves stymied by Hertha keeper Oliver Christiansen.

Bochum maintained a 7-3 shot advantage at the half and were unquestionably the better side in the opening 45. Dardai's charges came out of the tunnel much more motivated. Jovetic and Marco Richter came close with chances in the first four minutes after the restart. Jovetic also flashed over in the 54th. Bochum didn't manage to apply much pressure until shortly before the hour-mark.

VfL captain Antony Losilla had to chest out a Lukebakio effort for a corner in the 64th after Hertha finally pushed back against Bochum with a decent counter. It was from the flag that the hosts would snatch the opening goal. Lucas Tousart rose higher than Hofmann in an aerial duel and headed home a Richter service for the 1-0 in the 65th.

Christensen was on point for his side four minutes later, executing an excellent save on Asano on what looked sure to be the equalizer. The subbed-on Gerrit Holtmann narrowly missed Christensen's goal shortly after that. Following the brief VfL spurt, the Charlottenburger hosts rode the momentum supplied to them by a sold-out home crowd and proceeded to dominate the next phase of the match.

Jovetic, Lukebakio, and the Hertha sub Chidera Ejuke kept peppering the Bochum goal with shots and earning a series of corners. Out to help his team on the break, VfL keeper Manuel Riemann was very nearly caught out by Lukebakio in the 77th. In an exciting finishing phase, Bochum hit the post in the form of a deflected Keven Schlotterbeck shot (87th) while Ejuke struck the woodwork in the 90th.

It really began to look as if Bochum were going to be left without a chance. A superb Ejuke dribble at 90+3 nearly produced another goal. Unfortunately for the hosts, Schlotterbeck was able to head home the equalizer at 90+4. The on-loan SC Freiburg defender put Kevin Stöger's service into the back of the net.

The draw ensures that Bochum will again finish the weekend out of the relegation zone. Letsch's 1848ers are in 15th place on 32 points. VfB Stuttgart can potentially overtake Schalke tomorrow, but cannot catch Bochum. The VfL also face a serious test next week as they close out the season against Leverkusen.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga's 15:30 kickoffs, FC Schalke 04 were able to fight back against Eintracht Frankfurt at home and earn their own 2-2 draw. The result certainly doesn't help Schalke nearly as much as a win might have, but the point may yet come in handy for die Königsblauen. Thomas Reis' Schalke currently occupy the relegation playoff place on 31 points.

Up north at the Weserstadion in Bremen, the Hanseatic city hosts played to a 1-1 draw against visiting Köln. Steffen Tigges and Romano Schmid traded goals in the respective halves. The point is enough to ensure that Bremen have secured safety after their first season back in the top flight. Werder are in 12th on 36 points.

Back down south at the Prezero Arena in Sinsheim, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim did manage to upset Champions' League aspirants 1. FC Union Berlin 4-2 in a wild affair that featured three goals in second-half injury-time. Pellegrino Matarazzo's Kraichgauer took a 2-1 lead into the match's extra allotted time. Andrej Kramaric completed a brace to make it 3-1.

Aïssa Laïdouni pulled his side back within a goal before Munus Dabbur dusted off the 4-2. The result constitutes huge news in the Champions' League race as SC Freiburg - following their victory last night - now have a chance at a top four finish. Union and Freiburg are level on 59 points, with the Berliners still clinging to fourth place via goal differential.

The win practically guarantees safety for Hoffenheim ahead of a trip to Stuttgart next week. While a certain field of permutations could leave the Kraichgauer tied with VfL Bochum for the relegation playoff place, it's almost impossible for Bochum to make up the goal-differential gap.

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