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Party poopers

Hertha BSC celebrated a first win in 2018 following the 2-0 victory against Bayer Leverkusen yesterday.

Hertha are usually a welcomed guest in Leverkusen, having not won there since 2008, but turned historical form on its head to spoil Bayer’s Carnival festivities on Saturday (10.02.18). “We took advantage of the fact that Leverkusen played 120 minutes midweek," told head coach Pál Dárdai at full time. “We wanted to be bold, which we were. The lads played with hunger and passion from the off, defended high up the pitch and, all things considered, deserved the win."

Goals scored at the right moment

It was the Berlin side enjoying the party mood at full time, after 90 exhausting, nail-biting and intensive minutes that secured a seventh win of the season and a first of 2018. The biggest smile could be seen on the face of Valentino Lazaro, who scored his first goal for the club. “I’m obviously delighted that I finally scored my first goal in the Bundesliga. I want to contribute a lot more goals and assists in the future,” said Hertha’s number 20 at full time after scoring the important opener in with just two minutes remaining in the first half. The Austrian dedicated his goal to his mother, who celebrated her birthday that day. “It’s a lovely birthday present for her,” told Lazaro. On top of that, there was also special praise from the coach. “Tino played fantastically, he’s in very good condition at the moment,” Dárdai praised.

Calm and collected from Valentino Lazaro, who scores his first Bundesliga goal.

The first goal came at the perfect time for Hertha, giving them a huge psychological boost going into the second half. The same thing could be said for Salomon Kalou, who capitalised a Jonathan Tah mistake to double the lead shortly before the hour mark. “The most important thing is to be successful with the team. On top of that, to score the decisive goal feels great,” said the Ivorian after the match. Pál Dárdai summed the two goals perfectly: “We scored our goals in the right moments.”

"We defended with our lives"

Hertha also benefited from the pinch of luck that had been lacking in recent weeks. An unusual indirect free kick awarded just six yards out after Rune Jarstein picked up the ball from a back pass could have been a lot more damaging that it proved to be, with all eleven Hertha players defending solidly to hold onto the clean sheet amidst the scramble.

“We defended with our lives,” admitted Dárdai at full time with a wide grin. But Hertha can be content with their overall defensive performance, not just in this moment, having defended brilliantly throughout the 90 minutes against one of the strongest attacking sides in the Bundesliga.

The three points did little to change Hertha’s league position, as they remain in 11th place, but with 30 points they are just six off Eintracht Frankfurt in fourth. “The win should give us lots of confidence for the coming weeks. Everything is still possible for us in the table – except for catching FC Bayern,” believes Kalou. There’s a ten-point cushion ahead of Mainz in 16th, however, who Hertha face next on Friday night (16.02.18).

Teams, 28.02.2018
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