Coach Bruno Labbadia made tow changes from the team that lost to SC Freiburg on matchday 31. After seeing his suspension, Dedryck Boyata came back into the side, along with Matheus Cunha, who has now completely recovered from his concussion. Vedad Ibisevic dropped to the bench. Marko Grujic celebrated his fiftieth appearance for the club in the game. Arne Maier had to drop out of the squad with a foot injury, Lazar Samardzic developed tonsillitis, and Marton Dardai dropped out with an ankle injury. Pascal Köpke and Mathew Leckie came back into the squad, taking their places. The visitors made just one change from their 3-1 home win over Köln with Jonathan Tah coming back in for Sven Bender.
The game was very balanced in the opening exchanges. The Blue and Whites didn’t allow the “Werkself” anything in behind and tried their best to get forward where possible, and look potent when they did. Kevin Volland and Kai Havertz had the first chances of the game (4’, 6’). Bayer seemed to have more control over the game early, keeping position deep in midfield and attempting to play the ball through the Hertha lines. Leon Bailey looked dangerous down the left hand side and fed Havertz plenty of balls, one of which the German went for with an overhead kick which went just wide (15’). Then it was the turn of Hertha to get forward and look dangerous. And with some success: Peter Pekarik played the ball down the right channel to Piatek, who quickly played it on to Dodi Lukebakio. The Belgian then played the ball back to the onrushing Matheus Cunha who took one touch before planting theban into the top corner to put the home side 1-0 up (22’). The goal didn’t seem to change the plans of either side too much - Hertha continued to be impressive in defence. Piatek had a big chance to put Hertha 2-0 before half time but a good save from Lukas Hradecky denied him, meaning that the sides went in at half time with Hertha BSC a goal to the good.
Bayer coach Peter Bosz reacted at half time with a couple of changes: Kerem Demirbay and Paulinho came on for Charles Aranguiz and Kevin Volland. Unfortunate for Peter Pekarik as the goth back suffered an injury a short time into the second half and was duly replaced by Lukas Klünter (51’). The visitors tried to get their equaliser, but Hertha continued to stay compact at the back and countered with real intent. And it paid dividends for them in the end: the Bayer defence giving far too much space to the ever-dangerous Matheus Cunha, who fed Krzysztof Piatek. The Pole then not only rounded his defender but also the goalkeeper before walking the ball across the goal line to Dodi Luekbakio who powered home for an easy finish (54’). For the rest of the game, Bayer had their chances but never really threatened the Hertha goal, with the home side looking relatively comfortable throughout. Havertz missed a good chance as Dedryck Bpyata and Jordan Torunarigha continued to look convincing at the back (61’). Lucas Alario thought he had pulled one back, but yet again it was Torunarigha putting his body on the line to clear the ball away (76’). In the final stages, neither side really threatened the other as Hertha finished off their concentrated and alert performance all the way to the end of the game. A terrific performance earning the team a terrific result in the end.
Conclusion and Outlook
With the win over Bayer 04 in the books, Hertha remain in tenth place on 41 points. This coming Saturday it’s the final game of the season as Hertha go away to Borussia Mönchengladbach (27/06/20, 15:30 CEST).