It was on around the hour mark in Berlin’s Olympiastadion that the decisive moment unfolded between Hertha BSC and Fortuna Düsseldorf. The visitors, who had been pegged back by the boys in blue and white, took full advantage of a lapse in concentration. Hennings swung the ball into the penalty area, where Rune Jarstein was able to pull off a good save to deny Benito Raman’s first effort, but the second fell straight back to the forward’s feet from where he buried the rebound. "We weren’t consistent enough, the prime example being their second goal," said a disappointed Valentino Lazaro. "We were passengers, weren’t present in the middle and just weren’t alert. We had a good game plan from the coach, and we carried this out in lots of situations as well, but too often, we didn’t."
Caught off guard
Despite good passages of play and despite equalising, Hertha were beaten at home by Düsseldorf, in part due to losses of concentration in pivotal moments.
Aggressive visitors punish Hertha
The capital city boys were visibly intent on winning the game and enjoyed some good passages of play time and time again, but the visitors were aggressive and managed to cause Dárdai’s men problems from the start. One of these problems resulted in the opening goal for Düsseldorf in the 35th minute, courtesy of Benito Raman. A loss of possession was followed by a quick counterattack and a strong finish to make it 0-1. "We can’t concede goals so easily," declared Salomon Kalou: "We need to defend better, and particularly as a team." Kalou and Co. did regroup and were able to respond quickly to the setback: Ondrej Duda played a nice diagonal ball for Marko Grujić, who pushed the ball home for the equaliser. The goal fell in the 41st minute, in the short period of time before the break famously ideal for a goal of any kind, a goal which did indeed put wind in the Old Lady’s sails for the restart.
"We need to remain calm, assess our own capacities realistically and start making our own luck with hard work at training and motivation."Pál Dárdai
The Herthaner began to press for another, but Rensing saved Fortuna twice in quick succession, denying Kalou and then Duda. Four minutes later, Dárdai’s men were caught cold once again, by a Düsseldorf side who were simply more switched on in key moments. "We were nearly there defensively, but weren’t 100 percent invested in our challenges," said Marko Grujić: "Düsseldorf, on the other hand, went into the challenges aggressively and punished us." The goal had an aftermath: Hertha had to regroup once again, but there was no let-up from the visitors, who continued to hit the defence on the counter. In the closing stages, Hertha threw everything forward in search of another equaliser. Rensing was on hand again this time to deny Lazaro from a free-kick. "When it rains, it pours," said Karim Rekik, reflecting on his side’s lack of fortune in the last ten minutes: "We had our chances, but we didn’t score, while Düsseldorf scored twice from relatively few chances." Two goals were enough for Funkel’s men to take all three points home from Berlin.
Make our own luck with hard work and motivation
Despite the disappointing result, head coach Pál Dárdai had no intention of criticising his players after the game. "Statistically speaking, we played well, even though we were lacking a bit going forward. In terms of mentality, the lads did all they could," said the boss, who bid the press for understanding of his players. "The team is a little unsettled at the moment, which has a bit to do with experience, so I don’t wish to criticise the lads and kick them while they’re down. That won’t help us now, since everyone is moving forward together well!" The coach also waved away any mention of a crisis on Sunday, adamant that his team need only to stay calm and work hard with these negative results behind them. "We need to remain calm, assess our own capacities realistically and start making our own luck with hard work at training and motivation," he explained. The first chance for he and his team to respond presents itself next Sunday in the shape of an away game in Hoffenheim (14th April, 13:30 CEST).