In his third game in charge, Jürgen Klinsmann made three changes to the starting XI. After serving his suspension, Rune Jarstein came back in in goal for Thomas Kraft. Javairo Dilrosun and Vedad Ibisevic also started in place of Niklas Stark who was on the bench, and Ondrej Duda who played for the U23s. Klinsmann therefore set up the team in a 4-4-2 formation. Christian Streich put out the same XI that beat Wolfsburg last weekend, starting of course was Nils Petersen, who already has six goal to his name this season.
After a quiet opening quarter of an hour, it was Hertha who produced the first real chance of the game, as Vedad Ibisevic’s low shot tested the gloves of Mark Flekken (16’). Shortly after, it was the turn of Dodi Lukebakio who also struck from distance, but again it proved to be no problem for th Freiburg keeper (18’). The away side enjoyed most of the possession but struggled to find a way through the packed blue and white defence. After Lukebakio produced a great tackle, he then sent his wing partner, Javairo Dilrosun, away on the left hand side where, after a long run, he shot at Flekken but caused minimal danger to the Freiburg goal. This was, however, the biggest chance of an uneventful first half (25’). Jarstein was finally tested ten minutes later by Nils Petersen’s first shot, but the Hertha keeper held safely (35’). Just seconds later, the entire Olympiastadion was ready to erupt after Lukas Klünter’s cross found Davie Selke at the back post, but the striker’s attempt was way off target (37’). So the teams went in to half time goalless.
It was clear right from the off in the second half that Hertha didn’t just want to play defensively, but they wanted to get out and attack. And it’s fair to say it went very well to begin with! Vladimir Darida, on his 100th league game, produced an unbelievable strike after a clever one-two with Davie Selke to put Hertha in to the lead (53’). Robin Koch attempted to produce the immediate reply but his header went wide of the mark (57’), as Streich’s side looked the get back in to the game. Manuel Gulde had the next great chance for the visitors but his shot went narrowly over the bar from the edge of the box (59’). Hertha BSC tried to soak up the pressure and get out on the break, which nearly produced a second goal for the home side. Ibisevic pulled I back to Grujic on the edge of the box but his low shot went just wide of the post (67’). Klinsmann made a double change to start to final stages of the game with Marius Wolf and Maximilian Mittelstädt coming on to replace Javairo Dilrosun and Vedad Ibisevic (74’). Both wingers fitted perfectly in to the team, which was now concentrated on defending, yet looked incredibly dangerous on the break. Unfortunately, counters from Lukebakio, Mittelstädt and Selke didn’t produce the desired result to seal the game (80’, 81’, 82’). A free kick from Marvin Plattenhardt also went sailing over in the final minutes. Finally, referee Frank Willenborg blew his whistle to end the wait for the Herthaner and give them the 1-0 win!
Conclusion and Outlook
It wasn’t exactly a footballing spectacle, but that was to be expected in this game. However, it was a thoroughly convincing and well-earned win from a team which hadn’t won in seven games! Three incredibly important points put the blue and white on 15 for the season, putting them in 13th place in the table. Two games now remain before the winter break: the team will go to Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday (18/12/19, 18:30) before a showdown with Borussia Mönchengladbach to end the calendar year at the Olympiastadion (21/12/19, 18:30).