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Hertha BSC Berlin

‘Relieved’ Hertha take big step towards safety

Berlin (AFP) – Hertha Berlin took a huge step towards Bundesliga survival Sunday by securing a 2-0 home win over Stuttgart with both clubs fighting to avoid relegation.

Davie Selke fired Hertha into an early lead at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium and Ishak Belfodil made sure of the three points with a second goal deep into stoppage time.

“The heart is relieved. The atmosphere was unbelievable. I don’t need to explain how important this win was,” Selke told DAZN.

The win, their second in a row after a 1-0 victory at Augsburg last weekend, leaves 15th-placed Hertha four points clear of Stuttgart, who are a place below them in the table’s bottom three.

Stuttgart have three games left to escape 16th place, which means a relegation play-off next month.

Hertha have won three of their five games since veteran Felix Magath, who took charge of his 500th game as a Bundesliga coach on Sunday, was brought in to get them out of the relegation places.

The 68-year-old Magath coached Wolfsburg to the Bundesliga title in 2009 after also winning back-to-back league titles with Bayern Munich in 2004-05 and 2005-06. 

Stuttgart have a tough run-in as they host Wolfsburg, visit freshly-crowned Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich and then take on Cologne at home.

Hertha are away to second-from-bottom Arminia Bielefeld next Saturday, then host Mainz before travelling to Dortmund on the last day of the season.

Earlier, Augsburg put more daylight between themselves and the drop zone after a 2-0 win at Bochum.

Andre Hahn capitalised on a mistake in the Bochum defence to put the visitors ahead on 15 minutes and Michael Gregoritsch doubled Augsburg’s lead with a penalty just before half-time.

“We didn’t have the best training week, but we had a good chat yesterday and made it clear it was enormously important to win here today,” said Gregoritsch.

“We put in a good performance and I can’t remember Bochum having a clear chance.”

The result leaves Augsburg nine points clear of the bottom two with three games left, having been 16th in February. They are seven clear of Stuttgart in the relegation play-off place.

Augsburg coach Markus Weinzierl punched the air after the final whistle.

“We scored at the right time and it was important to get the second goal just before the break,” said Weinzierl.

Bochum are one point and one place above Augsburg in the table and on the verge of guaranteeing a second season in the Bundesliga after promotion last year.

On Saturday, Bayern Munich won the Bundesliga title for the 10th straight season after a 3-1 home win over Borussia Dortmund.

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