Mönchengladbach/Berlin – "Unbelievable" was the word used by Davie Selke after he was asked to give his opinion on what had just transpired at full time.
Hertha had lost a game that they had no right to lose given how they had played for 70 minutes. Purposeful, confident and robust – it was almost the perfect away performance.
“The lost is just so tough to take, because we were easily the better team. We are shocked to come away from this game with nothing.” Everything looked so good, with Hertha staying compact from the off and giving their hosts very little room to create anything.
Furthermore, they were making themselves known up front. While the Foals had more possession, they did not know what to do with it. “We played so well and allowed them to have very few clear-cut chances,” remarked Selke.
After seeing a few good chances slip by, Hertha took the lead deservedly before the break as Selke took down Stark’s pass before seeing the under pressure Jannik Vestergaard divert the ball into the path of Salomon Kalou. It was the 11th league goal of the season for the Ivorian, who also captained the side for the first time in his career.
Not a new problem
It carried on after the break. Hertha dominated, counter attacked and had two, three or even four very good chances to build on their lead and put the game beyond doubt. Instead, Pal Dardai’s side contrived to throw the result away.
“Gladbach had a lot of individual quality, without and end product – whereas we had everything under control in the first half and for much of the second too, we just needed that second to kill them off,” concluded the boss.
Then the inevitable happened. Not for the first time as far as this Hertha side is concerned either. “If you don’t score goals in the Bundesliga you will be punished,” and that’s something the Dardai knows all too well. Hazard leveled things up from nothing, a moment Valentino Lazaro put down to a ‘lapse in concentration’.
“From then on we went in shock, and it was an open game all of a sudden – which ended badly for us,” said the young Austrian. Mere minutes after wasting an opportunity to go two-nil up, Rune Jarstein was picking the ball out of his net for the second time.
Lazaro had a chance to tie things up once more towards the end, but that chance went the same way as most of the previous had over the 90 minutes. "Not taking our chances has been the story of our season, and if we had scored more goals we could even be pushing the top six,” he said.
"When you lose your grip on a game having passed up so many opportunities to score, you arguably deserve to come away with nothing," lamented Dardai in the post-match press conference.
“We continue to learn from every game we play, but we will just have to suck this one up because we had to take something from this game. We’ll take the positives and stay upbeat.”
The first chance to flush Saturday fully out of the system will be next Saturday at home to Köln.