St. Peterburg – Hertha BSC and Eintracht Frankfurt faced off against each other as part of the Florida Cup on Wednesday evening (08.01.20, 7 p.m. local time). It was the second training camp friendly in the United States for the Herthaner, who previously won 5-1 against a U19 select academy side on Sunday. After a goalless first half, Alexander Esswein scored twice (71’, 78’ pen.) for the Blue-Whites. Timothy Chandler was able to net Frankfurt’s lone goal (73’).
It was Frankfurt who had the first chance to open the scoring in the Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg through Bas Dost, but Jordan Torunarigha managed to block Dost’s attempt (13’). Hertha lined up in a 4-4-2 formation, with Mathew Leckie attempting a shot from a promising position on the left-hand side (21’). A few moments later, Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp just managed to beat Pascal Köpke to the ball (28’). The Herthaner managed to find their way into the match during this phase, after a dominant start from Frankfurt. Vedad Ibisevic headed just wide off a corner from Maximilian Mittelstädt in the 33rd minute. On the other end, Mijat Gacinovic sent a shot just over the crossbar (45’), ensuring that the first half would end goalless.
Birthday boy Meier taken off injured
Following the restart, the nearly 5,000 fans in attendance witnessed a wild few minutes. First, Leckie sent a beautiful shot just over the bar (47’), before Danny da Costa hit the post for the Eagles just three minutes later. A chipped free-kick from birthday boy Arne Meier found the head of Niklas Stark, but Trapp was there to make the save (53’). On the other end, Rune Jarstein was also called upon to make a stop on a bicycle kick from Dejan Joveljic (61’). The moments that followed saw the intensity of the match drop, with one unfortunate moment for the Herthaner. After being plagued by injury for a year and finally making his comeback, Arne Meier had to be taken off injured (69’). While the 21-year-old was being driven off the pitch, his teammates still had cause to celebrate. After some fine solo work, Alexander Esswein scored the opener from close range (71’). However, it was a short-lived lead for the Herthaner, as Timothy Chandler equalised for the Eagles just 120 seconds later (73’). Once again, it was Esswein who would have the final say, as he stepped up and converted the penalty to make it 2-1 (78’). “It was a decent friendly against a Bundesliga side,” said Niklas Stark. “We played well and could feel that our stamina helped us, especially towards the end of the match. Maybe all the running we’ve been doing in training is helping us already. Things can definitely continue in this manner.” The Herthaner will take part in their final training session in Orlando on Thursday morning (09.01.20) before flying home to Berlin that same afternoon.
Hertha BSC: Jarstein - Pekarik (61’ Esswein), Stark, Torunarigha, Mittelstädt - Wolf, Skjelbred, Maier (69’ Klünter), Leckie - Köpke, Ibisevic (61’ Redan).
Goals: 0-1 Esswein (71’), 1-1 Chandler (73’), 1-2 Esswein (78’, pen.)