Potential on show

Hertha put in one of their best performances this season in the away win at Gladbach.

Berlin – There weren't many omens that suggested that Hertha would win away in Gladbach on Saturday afternoon (09/02/19). The Blue-Whites hadn’t won in Mönchengladbach since 2008, taking just one point back to the capital in almost eleven years. Valentino Lazaro was banned and Arne Maier also missed the game due to suspension. Pál Dárdai didn’t want to use the fact that the players had played 120 minutes on Wednesday in the DFB-Pokal as an excuse either: “Nobody moaned about the lack of a rest before the game; they all remained focused on the game. We defended well and gave them no room to play,” said the Hungarian head coach after the game.

‘The Foals’ showed in the first 25 minutes why they deservedly sat second in the league before the day’s play. Hertha’s defence had a lot to do early on, managing to cope by attacking more – the motto ‘attack is the best form of defence’ was appropriate: “The best way to defend is to get the opponents as far away as possible from your goal – which we did,” stated Salomon Kalou. The Ivorian, who captained the team in Vedad Ibišević’s absence, put this footballing saying into practice in the 30th minute. Marko Grujić won back possession and fed Kalou on the right-hand side, who cut inside and showed some unbelievably quick feet to beat the Borussia defence and then passed home into the bottom corner. “I wanted to actually shoot earlier, but I saw that the defender wanted to block it, so I needed a plan B,” said Kalou. Dárdai said on Kalou: “it was an excellent individual bit of work.”

A counter to win the match                                            

The first-half events seemed to repeat themselves in the second period. Gladbach head coach Dieter Hecking explained after match: “After the break we were desperate to find the equaliser, but instead allowed Hertha to counter attack us constantly.” Hertha continued to defend strongly, rarely allowing Gladbach to create any clear-cut chances in the second half – as a result, Dárdai’s side won possession and played effectively on the break. Davie Selke, making his 100th appearance in the Bundesliga, broke from own his half in the 56th minute. World champion Matthias Ginter couldn’t keep up with the striker, who reached the by-line and expertly cut it back for Ondrej Duda. The Slovakian cooly tapped home for his tenth goal of the season. The Herthaner continued this style of play and could have it 3-0 on the counter ten minutes later, but Kalou’s shot was saved by Sommer.

The win was finally sealed by Davie Selke, who deservedly got his goal after he headed home a Duda free-kick (76’). He had another chance to add another goal in the 82nd minute, this time being denied by Sommer. “We are really happy with this away win! We have now taken six points from Borussia Mönchengladbach this season – not many teams can say that,” said a delighted Fabian Lustenberger. Matchwinner Davie Selke continued: “We had obviously hoped to win 3-0 at Borussia, but hadn’t expected to due their strength at home. Everybody can see our potential. It’s no secret that we have this potential, but we have to fulfill it more consistently.” The next chance to show this is next Saturday at home to Werder Bremen (16/02, 18:30 CET).

Teams, 12.02.2019