Delight spread through the hall and among supporters of the Social Democrats as the exit polls began to tell the story of the unfolding election.
But the initial joy was at the figures showing the Liberals were out of the Bundestag. That delight was replaced by a deep disappointment at the figures for their own party.
Peer Steinbruck combative and critical of Angela Merkel before the ballot had just led his party to their second worst result in the post war era.
His gaffe-prone campaign never gained momentum up against the popular Angela Merkel. He could only look to the future when addressing his supporters.
“Because of these touching and enriching experiences that I have made during the campaign I owe much more to the SPD and I will be ready in the future to take responsibility,” Steinbruck said.
Our correspondent at the SPD Olaf Bruns headquarters got the reaction from one analyst close to the campaign. What mistakes did they make in the lead up to the poll?
“The SPD’s major error was that the candidate and the programme did not match together and that they did not really find themes and so it was a campaign in which style was decisive and Mrs Merkel was sovereign and played the mother of the nation as Germans saw,” said Die Zeit journalist Peter Dausend.