Hertha's Anis Ben-Hatira: Spiderman mask celebration was for sick child

Hertha Berlin midfielder Anis Ben-Hatira dedicated his "Spiderman" goal celebration against Schalke to an eight-year-old boy fighting leukaemia.

Ben-Hatira, 26, scored the first goal in Hertha's 2-2 draw with Schalke on Saturday, converting from close range on 21 minutes after goalkeeper Timon Wellenreuther failed to control a Valetin Stocker shot.

The Hertha player then raced to his team's bench where he was supplied with a Spiderman mask by teammate Tolga Cigerci, though referee Michael Weiner presented him with a yellow card.

The celebrations were reminiscent of Dortmund players Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Marco Reus, who put on Batman & Robin masks following the Gabon international's goal against Schalke a fortnight ago.

Aubameyang also celebrated a goal in the Super Cup against Bayern back in August by donning a Spiderman mask, though Ben-Hatira told Sport1 he was not trying to imitate the Dortmund attacker but instead fulfilling a promise to eight-year-old Jannik, who has been battling leukaemia.

"I wasn't trying to copy Aubameyang," Ben-Hatira said. "It was about my little friend Jannik, who has developed cancer.

"I promised him that if he gets through the first part of his chemotherapy he can take to the field [as a mascot] with me. I also promised him to put on the Spiderman mask should I score.

"Children's eyes don't lie and they were sparkling indeed. It was all a bit too much for the young lad. He needs a few days to let it sink in."

Speaking to reporters at his postmatch news conference, Hertha coach Pal Dardai said that Ben-Hatira will still have to pay the fine for receiving the yellow card, but bowed to the player's big heart.

"He can take the lad to the dressing room," the Hungarian coach said. "I am not angry with him. It's also a win for Hertha's heart."