There were two full debutants among the Hertha ranks, with Márton Dárdai and Sami Khedira in the line-up to take on second-placed Leipzig. With the sun shining down and temperatures reaching 17 degrees, Hertha began the game with strong focus and a good, united effort. Jarstein pulled out a wonderful stop in the early stages to deny Hee-Chan Hwang (5’) before Hertha’s togetherness gradually began to show signs of a reward. Hertha got the ball forward quickly after winning the ball back, but Maximilian Mittelstädt’s cross was just out of reach for Krzysztof Piątek (17’). Two minutes later, Mittelstädt couldn’t connect with the ball well enough to turn it home (19’). Driven on by those first opportunities, the Berliners continued to look dangerous. Piątek beat his man down the right and unselfishly sent the ball into the middle for Lukébakio, but Klostermann got in the way at the last second to prevent the opening goal (22’). Matheus Cunha tried to go by himself in the 26th minute, but Willi Orban stopped the Brazilian after a brilliant solo run from one end of the pitch to the other. Then, out of the blue, Leipzig opened the scoring with a bitter blow. Marcel Sabitzer hit an unstoppable shot from 30 yards which left Jarstein helpless between the sticks (28’). The Hertha boys kept ploughing forwards despite the setback, but there was no equaliser to be found in the first half.
Clinical Leipzig prevail as Hertha waste chances
Hertha delivered another mature, spirited performance against a top team on Sunday (21/02/21), but were unable to stop RasenBallsport Leipzig emerging as 3-0 winners.
Personnel changes and the chances keep coming - RBL score again
The Old Lady began the second half with similar intent to the first. Lukébakio missed the target by inches (50’) before Cunha and Mittelstädt (51’) both tested Gulacsi. Hwang missed for the visitors (57’) before Hertha boss Pál Dárdai switched things up, sending on Nemanja Radonjić and Luca Netz to provide more pace in the final third (60’). Both teams started to fatigue at this point, and the tempo of the match dropped off a little. Mattéo Guendouzi was sent on to try and swing the game in Hertha’s favour (68’). Not long after coming onto the pitch, the Frenchman lost the ball to Adams in his own penalty area and Mukiele volleyed home a second for the title hopefuls (71’). The goal was checked by VAR before being allowed to stand. The blue-and whites refused to give up and had a few chances to cut the deficit through Cunha und Radonjić (80’). Minutes later, Orban headed home a cross to settle the match in favour of the more clinical Leipzig (84’). A mature, passionate display from Hertha was not enough to avert a harsh defeat.
Hertha BSC: Jarstein – Klünter, Stark, M. Dárdai – Leckie (60’ Netz), Tousart, Khedira (68’ Guendouzi), Mittelstädt – Cunha – Piątek (84’ Ngankam), Lukébakio (60’ Radonjić)
RasenBallsport Leipzig: Gulácsi – Klostermann, Orban, Halstenberg (83’ Konaté) - Adams, Sabitzer, Haidara (59’ Mukiele), Angelino – Dani Olmo (79’ Kluivert), Poulsen (83’ Sörloth), Hwang (59’ Nkunku)
Goals: 0-1 Sabitzer (28’), 0-2 Mukiele (71’), 0-3 Orban (84’)
Referee: Sven Jablonski (Bremen)
Yellow cards: Cunha (Hertha BSC) – Sabitzer (RasenBallsport Leipzig)