Coach Ante Covic put new signing Marius Wolf straight in to the starting lineup, with Dedryck Boyata also celebrating his competitive debut for the club. Covic also started with Jordan Torunarigha, Per Skjelbred and Davie Selke in a starting XI which saw Karim Rekik, Lukas Klünter, Vladimir Darida, Maximilian Mittelstädt and Vedad Ibisevic all drop to the bench. Robin Zentner played in goal for the home side in place of Florian Müller (hand injury) and was excellent.
It was a cagey affair in the opening exchanges and any noteworthy chances went either high or wide. That was until the 15th minute when Jarstein was quicker to the ball than Quaison and immediately found Davie Selke whose shot hit the left hand post (15’). The game really got going from there. Three minutes later, Jarstein was called in to action, saving a well struck shot from Danny Latza (18’). However, it was Hertha who had the best chance when Selke brought the ball in to the Mainz half and after a quick one-two with Dodi Lukebakio, found the gloves of Zentner from close range (21’). Shortly after, it was the Hertha BSC goalkeeper who was instead called into action as he saved a long range strike from Daniel Brosinski (26’). A tustle between Davie Selke and St. Juste in midfield caught the attention of referee Schiri Fritz who was tipped off to the incident by the video referee. After going to review the incident on the screen, the Mainz defender got away with just a yellow (33’). Both teams struggled for clear-cut chances until the Zerofivers struck five minutes before half time. Malong Kunde crossed to the far post from the right hand side of the box to an unmarked Quaison who slotted home past a helpless Jarstein. Marko Grujic missed the chance for a quick equaliser as he struck straight at Zentner (42’).
Chance after chance
Both teams made no changes at half time as the second half started off with a bang. Grujic found himself free in the box but again put his shot straight at Zentner, who parried another long range drive from the Serb just 30 seconds later (47’, 48’). Hertha carried on creating chances though as Ondrej Duda found his way past three Mainz defenders before forcing another great save from Zentner; the resulting acrobatic effort from Dodi Lukebakio going just over (50’). The chances were coming almost every minute. Selke’s effort went just wide after a good cross from Marius Wolf (55’), Lukebakio’s shot from distance was also unsuccessful (56’), and a great free-kick from Ondrej Duda forced yet another save from Zentner (60’). The coach then rang the changes after an hour with Salomon Kalou and Eduard Löwen replacing Dodi Lukebakio and Ondrej Duda (62’, 69’). In the 80th minute, Covic went even more attacking, bringing on Javairo Dilrosun for Dedryck Boyata (80’). The Dutchman immediately made his mark on the game with his first touch, finding Grujic with a great cross to grab a well-deserved equaliser (83’)! Then came the sucker punch right at the end, with St. Juste planting a header from a corner in to the back of the net, right in front of the away fans (88’). Niklas Stark attempted to find a quick equaliser, but his header sailed on to the roof of the net, sealing the loss (90’).
Conclusion and Outlook
After their third loss of the season, Hertha BSC drop to the bottom of the table, despite and encouraging second half from Covic’s men which saw them have the better of the chances. This coming Saturday, the team will play host to Paderborn at the Olympiastadion.