Davie Selke and Ishak Belfodil scored the goals as Hertha Berlin moved four points clear of the drop zone with a crucial win in their relegation six-pointer against VfB Stuttgart.
With just a handful of games remaining, both of these teams knew victory was imperative in the race to avoid the drop, particularly with Augsburg pulling ahead with a win at Bochum earlier in the day. Hertha collected an important victory against Augsburg last time out but as coach Felix Magath said prior to his team's latest game, that triumph would, "only really mean anything if we get points again against Stuttgart." The Old Lady responded, forcing Die Schwaben back in the opening stages. Selke had the home supporters on their feet with a downward header from a corner that bounced narrowly wide in the third minute. Moments later, the same player was reeling away in celebration after connecting with Marvin Plattenhardt's whipped cross from the left. The goal survived a VAR check and Hertha were up and running. Stuttgart were further hampered by the loss of the injured Pascal Stenzel and struggled to lift themselves in an opening 45 minutes that could have gotten even worse for the visitors had Lucas Tousart's effort flown the other side of a post.
Sitting in the relegation play-off spot and sensing their hosts climbing further ahead in the standings, Stuttgart responded after the restart and it was Konstantinos Mavropanos who showed them the way. Picking up a loose ball in midfield, the Greek defender barrelled his way forward, even getting into the Hertha box from where he unleashed a shot that was deflected narrowly off target. Chris Führich and substitute Erik Thommy then saw efforts from distance fielded by goalkeeper Marcel Lotka as VfB found their spark. The visitors' revival was the cue for veteran coach Magath to make his way to the touchline and deliver some instructions. Peter Pekarik heeded the tactician's call, Hertha's full-back forging forward before dragging a shot narrowly wide. Stuttgart sought more openings, but it was the hosts who would net a crucial second late on, substitute Belfodil calmness personified as he controlled before eventually rolling past Florian Müller to send the Olympiastadion faithful into raptures.
- Hertha have scored at least once in each of their 16 home games this season. Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are the only other teams who have managed the same this term.
- Selke scored Hertha's quickest goal of the campaign, the forward netting in the fourth minute.
- The goal was Selke's third in the Bundesliga this season, and 33rd in 187 Bundesliga games.
- All four of Belfodil's goals this season have been scored at home.
- Kevin-Prince Boateng made his 70th competitive appearance as a Hertha player. He last scored for the club on the final day of 2006/07 against Eintracht Frankfurt.
- Borna Sosa made his 80th appearance for Stuttgart. He produced 22 assists across his first 79, including seven in this season's Bundesliga.
Watch: Davie Selke on 'important phase' in Hertha's season
Hertha: Lotka - Pekarik, Boyata (c), Kempf, Plattenhardt (Bjorkan 46') - Tousart, Ascacibar - Darida (Stark 74'), Boateng (Belfodil 63'), Serdar (Mittelstädt 63') - Selke (Ekkelenkamp 78')
Unused subs: Christensen, Dardai, Wollschläger, Kade
Out: Jarstein (knee), Jovetic (muscular), Klünter (shoulder), Maolida (knee), Richter (suspended), Schwolow (thigh)
Coach: Felix Magath
Stuttgart: Müller - Stenzel (Thommy 24'), Mavropanos, Ito, Sosa - Endo, Anton (c), Mangala (Tibidi 71') - Tomas (Coulibaly 87'), Kalajdzic, Führich (Millot 87')
Unused subs: Bredlow, Bazzoli, Förster, Klimowicz, Beyaz
Out: Ahamada (broken toe), Didavi (Achilles), Karazor (not included), Marmoush (unconfirmed), Nartey (knee), Sankoh (knee), Silas (shoulder)
Coach: Pellegrino Matarazzo
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