BERLIN — German soccer fans tore down an artificial ‘Berlin Wall’ erected across the middle of the field at Hertha Berlin’s Olympiastadion before the Bundesliga game against Leipzig on Saturday.
But Leipzig won 4-2 to put a dampener on Hertha’s commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and Union Berlin made things worse by overtaking its city rival with a 3-2 win at Mainz.
Hertha had asked the German soccer league for a home game to mark the fall of the Berlin Wall on Nov. 9, 1989. The club turned back the clock with a retro scoreboard and by wearing retro white jerseys with a Berlin bear on the front, based on the shirts that the team wore in its first game two days after ‘Mauerfall’ in 1989.
Hertha marked the occasion by erecting one symbolic ‘Berlin Wall’ in the middle of the pitch and another on the running track.
Hertha supporters waved blue and white flags behind a choreography of the Brandenburg Gate as an iconic East German Trabant car burst through the wall in front of its fans at the eastern end of the stadium.
The Trabant’s revving gave way to David Bowie singing “we can be heroes” as the walls were dismantled in time for the game.
Two goals from Timo Werner and one each from Marcel Sabitzer and Kevin Kampl dealt Hertha its third successive loss as it dropped to 12th in the table.
Union moved two points above in 11th after Sebastian Andersson scored twice in Mainz.
“We actually played a good game. Leipzig didn’t have more chances than we did,” said Hertha’s Karim Rekik. “Of course the situation won’t get any easier for us after three defeats in a row. It’s important we stay calm and come out of this phase.”
It was Hertha’s first game since it announced Friday that former Germany and United States coach Jürgen Klinsmann had joined the club’s supervisory board and that investment firm Tennor had increased its holding to 49.9% for 99 million euros.
Tennor, which is headed by investor Lars Windhorst, paid 125 million euros for a 37.5% stake in June.
Also Saturday, Schalke drew with Fortuna Duesseldorf 3-3 and Paderborn lost 1-0 at home to Augsburg.
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CiaráN Fahey, The Associated Press