Ingolstadt – Hertha BSC overcame the hurdle that is the first round without too much trouble. The ‘Old Lady’ prevailed 5-1 (3-0) against VfB Eichstätt. Vladimir Darida and a Vedad Ibisevic double set them on the road to victory.
In his first game as head coach, Ante Covic went with a 4-3-3 formation. Jordan Torunarigha came in at left-back for the injured Marvin Plattenhardt (thigh problem). Matthew Leckie started on the other side of the pitch with the midfield being completed by a trio of Darida, Ondrej Duda and Marko Grujic. Vedad Ibisevic began up front.
Playing in the shimmering sun of Ingolstadt, Hertha had the lions’ share of possession from the beginning, as was to be expected. VfB Eichstätt sat back and looked to sure things up defensively. The first chances however came for the amateur side: after a bit of a defensive mix up, Federl unleashed a strike just wide (7’) before Rune Jarstein found himself having to clear the ball from the oncoming Fries (8’). Covic’s men were looking for better passing and more rotation around the pitch. Then as Duda sent in the corner, Darida slotted a first time effort into the back of the net (11’). 60 seconds later, Maximlian Mittelstädt broke through the defensive line before squaring to Ibisevic for an easy tap in (12’). The third goal needed a little longer to come, but it was just as easy for the captain to grab his second of the game: after a header through from Grujic, the Bosnian stood alone in the box and slammed home from short range once more (31’). It was a well earned lead for the team from the capital going in to the break.
Covic made one change at half time, bringing on Alexander Esswein for Jordan Torunarigha who looked in danger of receiving his second booking. Hertha almost had the perfect start to the second half: after a shot from Darida, the ball was deflected in off Grujic, only to be disallowed for handball (50’). Instead, the home side went up the other end with Julian Kügel nodding past Rune Jarstein to make it 3-1 (52’). The team from the capital were quick in their response as Duda hit the bar after a solid counter attack from Hertha (56’). Salomon Kalou had more luck however, scoring from 10 yards after a great run from Esswein (62’) – the final nail in the coffin! Six minutes later the goalscorer made way for debutant Dodi Lukebakio (68). It was Esswein who took centre stage though, firing in a fifth after a nice pass from Ibisevic (75’). The Herthaner tried to find a sixth goal but the courageous home side fought until the end to deny them.
Conclusion and Outlook
The first competitive game of the 2019/20 season ended in victory for Berlin – at no point did they look in danger of losing the tie. The win will give the team momentum as they look ahead to their Bundesliga opener on Friday in Munich, where they take on Bayern.