Head coach Pál Dárdai made two changes to the team that lost last week: Per Skjelbred came in for Fabian Lustenberger and Mathew Leckie came in for Arne Maier, who suffered a season ending knee injury on Friday during training. Hertha BSC began in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Salmon Kalou and Mathew Leckie on the wings. Friedhelm Funkel, the Fortuna head coach also made two changes to his team with top goal scorer Dodi Lukebakio and Andre Hoffmann coming in for Markus Suttner and Kaan Ayhan.
Both teams had chances within ten minutes on the newly laid pitch at the Olympiastadion. Lukebakio had a chance within 180 seconds. Up the other end, Mathew Leckie and Davie Selke both had half chances too (10’, 11’). Fortuna put the home side under early pressure as they pressed the ball hard and the home team found it difficult to install their quick passing play. In the best phase for Hertha, Fortuna were able to counter quickly and forced Rune Jarstein into a set of three saves (26’ 29’ 30’). However, five minutes later, a devastating Fortuna counter attack resulted with a Benito Raman goal as the guests took the lead (36’). Nevertheless, their lead did not last long as Ondrej Duda spotted Marko Grujić in the Fortuna box and the Serbian midfielder tucked the ball home to level the scores (41’).
The second half began much the same as the first. Hertha first looked dangerous after a narrow miss by Leckie (50’). Seven minutes later, a Duda effort was goal-bound after a cross from Lazaro, but Düsseldorf keeper Michael Rensing pulled off a spectacular save to deny the home team. Leckie’s rebound also failed to hit the target (57’). Then, the visitors were able to regain the lead in spite of a strong performance from Hertha. Despite Jarstein blocking Raman’s first attempt, his rebound found its way into the back of the net to make it 2-1 (61’). Hertha’s next chance came in the 80th minute of a free kick from Valentino Lazaro, which was kept out by Rensing. Three minutes later, Salomon Kalou had a chance to head one home but put it just wide (83’). Hertha failed to create any meaningful chances in the dying minutes of the game, which ended in a narrow 2-1 defeat.
Conclusion and outlook
After this 2-1 defeat, Hertha have 35 points and sit in 11th place. Next Sunday, Hertha will face TSG Hoffenheim in Matchday 29, with the game beginning at 13:30 CEST. Ondrej Duda is suspended for this game having picked up five yellow cards.