Hertha Berlin has appealed its relegation to the Bundesliga 2 on the grounds that the second leg of its playoff with Fortuna Duesseldorf should be replayed because a double field invasion left its players fearing for their safety.
The second leg in Duesseldorf ended in a 2-2 tie, allowing Fortuna to win the series, 4-3, on aggregate. But the game at the Espirit Arena was twice interrupted as fans ran on the field and fired flares. Hertha players were reluctant to return after a mass invasion by fans late in stoppage time.
"For us, the game was irregular, because it was no longer just about a competitive match," said Hertha's lawyer, Christoph Schickhardt. "The sole purpose of restarting the game was to hinder any further escalation of trouble. According to the DFB statutes, a game under these circumstances is not considered valid and has to be replayed."
The German federation has launched an investigation after the ugly scenes were broadcast live on German TV.