Jürgen Klinsmann changed the personnel in just one area for this match. Per Skjelbred came in to the starting XI for Vedad Ibisevic. Dennis Smarsch and Jordan Torunarigha also returned to the bench for Thomas Kraft (shoulder problems) and Peter Pekarik. Bayer manager Peter Bosz made three changes from the derby loss in Cologne: Jonathan Tar, Daley Sinkgraven and Lucas Alario all started in place of Aleksander Dragovic (suspended), Julian Baumgartlinger (muscle problems) and Wendell (on the bench).
The game began as many expected: the home side had most of the possession and tried to break down a packed Hertha defence. Leverkusen began to ask questions of Rune Jarstein in the ninth minute but the keeper safely parried Moussa Diaby’s shot, before calmly dealing with one from Lucas Alario shortly after (18’). Three minutes later, it was Hertha’s time to push forward with Javairo Dilrosun pulling the strings. The Dutchman took in the pass from Vladimir Darida before unleashing one on the half turn which narrowly missed the target (20’). Not sixty seconds later, Davie Selke also had a chance but failed to convert (21’). These were two chances that really told the tale of the game for Hertha as they continued to sit back and look solid in defence whilst also getting out and looking extremely dangerous on the counter. Despite that, Leverkusen continued to press forward, but didn’t create too many clear cut chances. Dilrosun was once again on the scent of a goal just before half time but couldn’t grab himself one (44’).
After the change of ends and what was a well-earned draw going in to the break for Hertha, the hosts began with a bang, but Alario failed to grab the vital goal (48’). Hertha were playing extremely well at the back, and continuously found a great outlet in the skilful Javairo Dilrosun. And it was that combination that set about the Hertha goal: Dilrosun brought Hertha forward on the counter but it was a goal from an unlikely source as Karim Rekik snatched up the rebound from his own shot after a corner to put the away side 1-0 up (64’). The Rheinlander responded strongly, with Jarstein forced to make a smart save from Kevin Volland (66’). After 74 minutes, substitutes Marius Wolf and Pascal Köpke almost combined for the perfect super sub combination, with the latter looking to make himself the hero as he went clean through on goal, but Hradecky read his chip smartly and made the save. In the 78th minute, the ball found its way in to the Hertha goal, but it was ruled out for offside against Paulinho. Jürgen Klinsmann’s boys stayed cool, calm and collected for the final stages and ground out a great away win!
Conclusion and Outlook
After this brillitant away success and a second win on the trot, Hertha sit 13th in the Bundesliga table with 18 points. The team will be looking to increase their tally in the final game of the Hinrunde at home to Borussia Mönchengladbach (21/12/19, 18:30).