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Pokal loss in Lower Saxony

Hertha BSC went out in the first round of the DFB-Pokal on Friday evening, as they were defeated 5-4 by Eintracht Braunschweig. Goals from Dodi Lukébakio (2), Matheus Cunha and Peter Pekarik were not enough to progress in the competition.

Starting line-ups

Bruno Labbadia’s starting line-up contained two new signings; Alexander Scholow made his debut in goal, while Lucas Tousart played alongside Vladimir Darida in midfield. The team was led out by captain Niklas Stark and lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Deyo Zeefuik was on the bench alongside Daishawn Redan and Ondrej Duda, two players who are returning to Hertha after loan spells away. For the opposition, head coach Daniel Meyer used a 3-5-2 system and handed debuts to six new signings: Michael Schultz, Dominik Wydra, Jannis Nikolaou, Yassin Ben Balla, Fabio Kaufmann and Suleiman Abdullahi.

Match report

The hosts got off to a dream start in front of their 500 fans, taking the lead thanks to a second minute free-kick from Martin Kobylanski. Maximilian Mittelstädt had the first attempt for Hertha, but shot over the bar (5’). Matheus Cunha tested the Braunschweig goalkeeper Jasmin Fejzic (13’), and Mathew Leckie’s effort from the resulting corner was blocked (14’). The next goal came at the other end of the pitch; Nikolaou headed the ball into Mittelstädt, with the deflection unfortunately looping into the Hertha net (17’). The Hertha players showed their spirit and responded quickly to the setback. Dodi Lukébakio headed home from a Matheus Cunha corner (23’), shortly before the Brazlian turned goalscorer himself. Cunha equalised after running onto a through ball from Leckie, tucking the ball away smartly with his right foot (29’). The match settled down a little after this, though Hertha continued to search for a third goal. It was the team from Lower Saxony, however, who had the next big chance; Abdullahi shot over from close-range after the ball came in from the right wing (40’). Three minutes later, the referee pointed to the spot after Rekik fouled Kaufmann while attempting to clear the ball. Schwolow saved Kobylanski’s penalty but was unable to prevent the striker from scoring on the rebound (44’). The hosts went into half-time with a 3-2 lead.

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Rubrik 11.09.2020
Eintracht Braunschweig - Hertha BSC

Hunting for an equaliser – Setbacks for Hertha

Hertha came out after the break pressing for an equaliser. Cunha shot at Fejzic (51’) before Lukébakio’s effort was blocked at the last second (54’). The pressure on the Braunschweig goal was unrelenting. Keeper Fejzic made a stunning save from a Leckie header, before Cunha struck the post just seconds later (58‘). Another attempt from the Brazilian went just wide of the mark (60’), but Hertha’s efforts were eventually rewarded with a goal. Cunha was involved again, as his pass found Peter Pekarík arriving in the middle to tap home (66’). The hosts responded by immediately finding a fourth goal, as Kobylanski completed his hat-trick with a sweet strike from the edge of the box (67’). The Hertha defence continued to wobble, with Abdullahi going one-on-one against Stark just six minutes later. Stark fell, allowing Abdullahi to net Braunschweig’s fifth (73’). Head coach Labbadia reacted by bringing on Javairo Dilrosun for Mathew Leckie (74’) , as well as Arne Maier and Ondrej Duda for Vladimir Darida and Marvin Plattenhardt (78’). The Hertha players kept going and cut the deficit in the 83rd minute through Lukébakio. Cunha shot into the side-netting in injury time (90’), while Dilrosun’s effort went agonisingly wide soon after (90+1’). Despite their efforts, there were no more equalisers to be found.

Next up

With this defeat, Hertha’s DFB-Pokal campaign comes to an end in the first round. The 2020/21 Bundesliga season gets started next Saturday (19.09.20, 15:30 CEST) when Hertha face SV Werder Bremen.

First-half highlights

2': ...this can’t be happening. Barely a minute on the clock and Kobylanski has scored a direct free-kick. A nasty bounce for Schwolow to deal with.

5': Mittelstädt has a go from distance with his weaker right foot. The ball flies over. A quick reply could be vital, and Labbadia’s men seem to know it.

17': Maximilian Mittelstädt. And the ball is in the net again. How unlucky was that? 2-0… unbelievable!

23': WE HAVE FINALLY SCORED! Lukébakio heads in after a cross from Cunha. Important.

29': EQUALISER! Cunha! A really nice attack, a beautiful goal. Leckie takes the ball and plays it perfectly into Cunha’s path. Cunha strokes the ball into the far corner.

43': Eintracht lead again… Leckie and Rekik foul Kaufmann just inside the box. Eintracht score the penalty on the rebound. A stupid goal to concede.

Second-half highlights

58':  Our lads are pressing hard and trying everything. So many balls are going into the danger zone now, and Leckie meets one with a header. Sensational stop from Fejzic. Only seconds later, Cunha rattles the post.

60': So close! Cunha fires just inches wide of goal. The equaliser is on its way, somebody just has to get that final touch right.

66': Get in! 3-3! Pekarik gets the equaliser!

67': Unbelievable. Braunschweig score again... Kobylanski with a hat-trick.

73': That one hurt... Abdullahi scores a fifth.

83': 4-5 now! Game on!

Teams, 29.11.2020