Bruno Labbadia was forced to make a couple of changes from the side who beat Bayer Leverkusen last weekend. Dennis Smarsch started in place of Rune Jarstein, who dropped out of the squad with his wife awaiting their third child. Alexander Esswein also came in a right back after Peter Pekarik suffered an injury during last week’s game and Lukas Klünter suspended. Borussia made just one change to their side with Nicolas Elvedi coming back in for Tony Jantschke.
It was an intense start to the game at BORUSSIA-PARK. The first Hertha chance came for Krzysztof Piatek, who put in a cross from the right but Yann Sommer come out to collect the ball easily (5’). The home side were looking to secure their place in next season’s Champions League and they took a big step towards doing so in the opening. minutes. Breel Embolo fought off multiple defenders in the box before squaring to Jonas Hofmann who tapped in from close range to put Gladbach 1-0 up (7’). Labbadia’s men really struggled to get hold of the ball and Gladbach dominated most of the first half. On twelve minutes, Ramy Bensebaini had the next chance for Borussia but couldn’t avail himself of the opportunity. Gladbach continued to pile on the pressure which Smarsch being forced to parry from Stindl, Hofmann and Neuhaus respectively (23’, 29’, 31’). Twice before the break Borussia hit the post as well through Embolo (32’) and Stindl once more (41’), but Hertha managed to survive the scares to go into the break at 1-0.
Bruno Labbadia reacted at half time and made three changes. Mathew Leckie, Arne Maier and Per Skjelbred came on for Alexander Esswein, Marvin Plattenhardt and Marko Grujic. The Norwegian Skjelbred was celebrating his final minutes in a Hertha shirt and took the Captain’s armband from Niklas Stark. The changes brought a bit more security to the Hertha side and they looked much more stable in the game. Leckie and Maier produced the first chance of the second half too but the Australian struck his effort over the bar (55’). The Herthaner were now defending much better and blocked a great effort from Embolo after he managed to get around Stark and Boyata (63’). Labbadia felt he had to go for it and so brought on Vedad Ibisevic for Vladimir Darida, with this change almost producing instant rewards as the Bosnian fed Arne Maier in the box but his effort clipped the bar on its way over. Per Skjelbred unfortunately had to go off on 78 minutes as his injury persisted, as he closed the book on a wonderful Bundesliga career. He was replaced by Jessic Ngankam. Unfortunately though, it was at the other end that the next goal would come as Embolo tapped home from close range to all but secure the victory for Gladbach (78’). Hertha did get a consolation goal in the dying embers through great work from Ngankam who fed Ibisevic to finish, but the goal did nothing to change the outcome.
Conclusion and Outlook
Hertha finish off the season in 10th place on 41 points after the loss to Gladbach. When the new season will begin is yet unclear, but for now the Herthaner will enjoy a well-earned summer break.