New head coach Klinsmann made three changes to the side for his first game in charge of Hertha; Thomas Kraft, Dodi Lukebakio and Karim Rekik started in place of Rune Jarstein (suspended), Javairo Dilrosun and Lukas Klünter. The ‘Old lady’ were deployed in a 3-5-2 formation. For the guests, Dan-Axel Zagadou, Thorgan Hazard and Julian Brandt replaced Lukasz Piszczek, Julian Weigl and ex-Herthaner Nico Schulz.
The match started tentatively in front of 74,667 spectators, with both teams feeling each other out, seeking to create chances. It was a cagey first ten minutes, marred by fouls and breaks in play, Grujic went into the book early (5’). In the fifteenth minute, the guests broke the deadlock through England international Jadon Sancho. Julian Brandt played in the Englishman down the left hand side, and he swept the ball past Thomas Kraft (15’). Dortmund doubled their lead not two minutes later. Achraf Hakimi broke free down the right and crossed towards Thorgan Hazard, who finished calmly (17’). A difficult first twenty minutes for Hertha were soon forgotten. The home team were starting to force their way into the match, seeing more and more possession. The crowd seemed to sense the momentum shifting. It took half an hour for the hosts to force their first real chance of the game. Lukebakio, beginning to look electric, took on Dortmund left back Raphaël Guerreiro and beat him with ease. The Belgian unleashed a vicious shot, but it was straight at Bürki, who parried with ease (31’). Five minutes later, Hertha got themselves on the scoreboard. Lukebakio cut inside from the right and took a shot, Vladimir Darida then lifted the shot away from Bürki, wrongfooting the Dortmund ‘keeper and the ball nestled in the bottom left corner (34’). Dortmund were reduced to ten men just before the break, Mats Hummels fouled Selke as the Herthaner attempted to break, and the referee showed the German his second yellow card (45’).
Hertha began the second half strongly with a man extra. Selke appeared to have scored what would have been the equaliser, but, after a lengthy delay, VAR judged the striker to have started in an offside position and it remained 2-1 to Dortmund (47’). The ‘Old Lady’ kept up the pressure all throughout the second half; it was not an uncommon sight to see all of Hertha’s outfield players in the Dortmund half. A double change strengthened the home side’s attacking power; Vedad Ibisevic and Dilrosun came on for Niklas Stark and Lukebakio (68’). Grujic had a go, Bürki denied him (75’). It was then the lack of chances in the final quarter that denied the point for Hertha. The game sparked up again in added time, but it was too little, too late. The 2-1 half-time defecit was not to be overcome.
Conclusion and outlook
After this 2-1 home defeat, the capital club sits in 16th place in the Bundesliga on eleven points. Hertha BSC are back in action on Friday with an away duel with Eintracht Frankfurt.