Bruno Labbadia made three changes to the side that started the Pokal match last week. Dedryck Boyata returned to the team after missing out through injury, partnering Jordan Torunarigha in central defence. Torunarigha had also missed the Braunschweig game, having served a suspension from last season. Krzysztof Piątek replaced Mathew Leckie, with the Pole playing up front in a 4-3-3 system. Captain Niklas Stark started in midfield, whilst new signing Jhon Córdoba was on the bench. For Werder, Florian Kohfeldt also made three changes to his line-up. Marco Friedl got the nod ahead of Milos Veljkovic at centre-back, with Davy Klaasen and Tahith Chong, recently signed from Manchester United, in midfield. Davie Selke, on loan from Hertha, started in attack.
SV Werder Bremen - Hertha BSC
In front of 8,500 spectators, Hertha made the brighter start, dominating possession and crafting the first chance of the match. Peter Pekarik’s cross found Piątek, who out-jumped two defenders to head the ball onto the bar (19’). Labbadia’s men defended well, often snuffing out Werder attacks before they had a chance to develop. A misplaced pass from Boyata, however, gifted Josh Sargent a chance just after half an hour, with Alexander Schwolow forced to parry the striker’s shot (31’).
The Old Lady struck just as it seemed like the match was heading into the break without a goal. Maximilian Mittelstädt put in a dangerous cross from the left, finding Peter Pekarik at the back post. The right-back slid in to guide the ball over the line (42’), scoring his second goal in as many matches. Pekarik was involved again shortly after, drawing a foul from Friedl on the edge of the box. Referee Stegemann pointed to the spot, but VAR intervened to award a free-kick instead (44’). Spurred on by the incident, Vladimir Darida won the ball in midfield before playing a glorious ball into the path of Dodi Lukébakio. Finding himself free with only Jiri Pavlenka to beat, the Belgian smashed home to make it 2-0 on the stroke of half-time (45’+2).
SV Werder Bremen - Hertha BSC
Schwolow did well to maintain the 2-0 lead shortly after the break, diving to keep out a deflected effort from Leonardo Bittencourt (48’). Last year’s 16th-placed team grew into the game, but Hertha’s defence stood firm. Hertha found more room to attack at the other end, as Cunha tested Pavlenka (56’). Shortly after, Córdoba replaced Piątek (61’) to celebrate his debut. He made an immediate impact, with Cunha scoring after some good build-up play involving Córdoba and Darida (63’). The goal was aided by some poor goalkeeping by Pavlenka. Soon after, Cunha danced through the Werder defence but his ball into the middle was cut out by a man in green (69’). Instead, it was the hosts who scored, immediately going down the other end and finding Selke in the middle. The Hertha loanee headed home to cut the deficit to 3-1 (70’). Córdoba then went close, drawing a good stop from Pavlenka in the Werder goal (72’). The resulting corner was headed just over the bar by Dedryck Boyata (73’).
The latter stages of the match were end-to-end, with the men in blue-and-white pulling together to prevent another Werder goal. Kohfeldt’s side showed heart, and Labbadia responded by bringing on fresh legs: Arne Maier, Mathew Leckie and debutant Deyovaisio Zeefuik replaced Stark, Lukébakio and Pekarik (81’). The match was almost settled two minutes later, but Córdoba’s header went just wide (83’). Bremen didn’t give up, though, and Schwolow had to show his strength again to deny Füllkrug (87’). Córdoba shot just wide (88), but was finally able to celebrate just seconds later. The Colombian got on the end of a pass from Leckie to bag a debut goal (90’). It was the last kick of an entertaining match in which Hertha were convincing winners.
Hertha are now unbeaten in eight consecutive Bundesliga openers, with six victories in that time. This is the first time that Hertha have picked up three points in Bremen since 2006, ending a streak of 13 matches without a win. A great Saturday of football has raised the excitement even further ahead of the first home match of the season. Eintracht Frankfurt are the visitors to the Olympiastadion next Friday (25/09/20, 20:30 CEST).
19’: Piątek! Our number 9 hits the bar with a header after a cross from the right. The best chance of the match so far!
31’: Sigh of relief. Chong plays Sargent through after a mistake from Boyata, but Schwolli saves and puts the ball behind for a corner.
42’: GOOAAAL! Hertha take the lead, and it’s goal machine Pekarik again! Our Slovakian cornerstone taps home at the back post after a nice ball from Mittelstädt. 1-0 to Hertha! GET IN!
44’: Foul! Penalty? Pekarik falls inside the box after a foul by Friedl… yet VAR gives only a free-kick?!
45’ +2: NOW IT’S TWO! Lukébakio breaks through thanks to a wonderful pass from Darida. Lukébakio fires home from the left with a clinical finish. Great spirit from Hertha!
49’: Schwolli! Our number 1 dives to keep out Bittencourt’s deflected effort. The Hertha defence clears.
56’: A good chance on the break, but the ball is taken away from Matheus Cunha at the last second.
63’: THREE NIL! What a start for Córdoba! The striker knocks the ball forward with his back to goal, allowing Darida to play Cunha in. Pavlenka gets a hand to the Brazilian’s shot, but can’t keep it out. YES!
69’: Werder score. A cross from the left reaches Davie Selke, who heads home to make the score 3-1.
74’: Hertha can breathe again after a crazy period of play. Bittencourt goes close with a header, but we get through unscathed.
79’: Another chance for Hertha! Darida’s cross finds Lukébakio, whose deflected attempt goes out for a corner.
83’: Leckie is fouled by Friedl to the left of the box. Hertha have a free-kick in a good position… but Córdoba heads wide of goal.
87’: Our keeper shows his reflexes again to deny Füllkrug, and the following corner comes to nothing. Only three minutes left...
90’: It’s four! Jhon Córdoba gets in on the act after a nice pass from Mathew Leckie. The striker stretches out a foot to poke home and make it 4-1.