Berlin - Down, up, down, back up again; the followers of Hertha BSC have, if nothing else, been living in interesting times of late. Next season, they will once again have the opportunity to experience the Bundesliga up close and personal - and all those with a stake in the capital's biggest club are fervently hoping the stay there will be of an altogether longer duration this time around.

Sunday's late home victory over SV Sandhausen secured Hertha a top-two finish in Bundesliga 2 beyond any lingering doubt and come the final whistle, the vast bulk of the 52,000-strong crowd at the Olympiastadion duly erupted in celebration under appropriately sunny skies.

Team effort - and more


After a special mention in dispatches for supersub Pierre-Michel Lasogga, for whom "scoring that vital goal must have been a dream come true. He's had to work hard and show a lot of patience for this moment," head coach Jos Luhukay voiced all-encompassing praise for "the team, the fans, everyone who works for Hertha BSC, the coaching staff, the medical department and of course our president and sporting director!"

The latter, Michael Preetz, more than returned the compliment in kind, thanking Luhukay for doing "a simply perfect job here. A big, big part of this success is down to him." Frontman Sami Allagui meanwhile summed up the general mood, saying, "I think we've all earned this. The fans and the city itself most of all. We're all happy today and we're going to be happy tomorrow and the day after. There's a huge feeling of relief."

Topsy-turvy years


Amidst all the celebrations, relief indeed. That Germany's largest city and capital should not have a single representative in the top flight has been, to say the least, a striking anomaly. Hertha's recent travails commenced on the back of a fine fourth-place finish under Lucien Favre in 2008/09. The future looked bright but a disastrous campaign followed, ending with Hertha rock-bottom of the standings.

Markus Babbel led them back to the Bundesliga in style the following season, but his departure from the club under controversial circumstances in December 2011 was followed by another downward spiral. Veteran coach Otto Rehhagel was brought in to try and stop the rot, but Hertha could climb no higher than 16th by the end of the regular season and lost out to Fortuna Düsseldorf in the subsequent promotion/relegation play-off.

New model Hertha


It was back to the drawing board yet again. Luhukay, having taken FC Augsburg up to the top flight for the first time, and then kept them there, was tempted north to take on a new challenge. The Dutch tactician has risen to the task with aplomb. Despite a few early-season blips, Hertha have achieved their season target with something to spare. With four games remaining, they are the Bundesliga 2 top scorers on 54 goals and boast the best defence - 22 conceded - and the division's outstanding all-round attacking talent in Ronny, who has so far chipped in with 16 goals and eleven assists.

The Brazilian playmaker recently extended terms in Berlin through to 2017 and other key players, such as fellow midfielder Fabian Lustenberger, have already followed suit. The future, this time, really does look bright for Hertha BSC. At the tail-end of the post-match celebrations on Sunday, even the normally reticent Luhukay, loudspeaker in hand, was moved to prompt the faithful into a rendition of the old freshly-promoted standard chant: "Second Division - never again!"

Angus Davison