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A tough away defeat

On Sunday afternoon (14/04) Hertha BSC had it all to do from the very first whistle in their away trip to TSG Hoffenheim, but the home side eventually ran out 2-0 winners.

Formation

Head coach Pál Dárdai made three changes to the side which faced Fortuna Düsseldorf last time out. Ondrej Duda missed out through suspension, whilst Marko Grujić (ankle) was unavailable and Niklas Stark (illness) was named on the bench. Marvin Plattenhardt, Lukas Klünter and Peter Pekarik were named in their place. Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann named an unchanged side to the team that defeated Augsburg 4-0.

Match Analysis

The home side came into the match in good form, picking up three wins and a draw in their previous four games and put the travelling Hertha side under pressure immediately. Ádám Szalai hit the top of the crossbar in the 5th minute before Kerem Demirbay forced Rune Jarstein into a great save 120 seconds later and Andrej Kramarić struck the post in the same minute. Shortly after, both Szalai and Kramarić saw their headers narrowly miss the target (8’, 13’). Naturally, Hoffenheim were unable to maintain the high intensity and allowed Hertha some breathing room. The next chance of the game fell to Demirbay in the 26th minute, who put his effort wide of the post following a set piece from the right-hand side. However, the home side’s pressure was finally rewarded four minutes later, as Nadiem Amiri found the back of the net from outside of the area with some help from the post. The ‘Old Lady’ almost hit back immediately, when Maximillian Mittelstädt fired his shot into the side netting just 180 seconds later. In the 35th minute, Marvin Plattenhardt went closest to levelling the game as his free kick from the edge of the box was saved by a full-stretch Oliver Baumann, meaning Hoffenheim took a one-goal lead into half time.

The second half began in a similar fashion to how it ended, as Hertha were more focused and restricted the home side’s chances to a minimum. The only significant chance early in the second half came from the dangerous Deribay, as he tried his luck from range in the 54th minute. Dárdai’s men remained compact in defence whilst trying to pose an attacking threat, but spectators, amongst them tennis legend Boris Becker, had to wait a while for the next chance of the game. It came in the 69th minute, Mittelstädt struck an effort from distance but missed the target. The determined Hertha were the better of the two sides for phases of the second half, whilst substitute Javairô Dilrosun revitalised the attacking threat. Hoffenheim were not able to create much, but Pavel Kadeřábek und Benjamin Hübner became dangerous once again in the final stretches of the game. Jarstein was able to keep the scores at 1-0 on two occasions in the 72nd minute, but the home side managed to double the lead in the 76th minute via substitute Reiss Nelson. Despite an improved performance in the second half, the ‘Old Lady’ left Hoffenheim empty handed.

Conclusion and outlook

After the 2-0 defeat, Hertha remain on 35 points, occupying 11th place in the table. The ‘Old Lady’ will host 18th-placed Hannover 96 at the Olympiastadion on Easter Sunday (21/04/19).

Teams, 14.04.2019