Ante Covic made six changes from the cup win over Dresden in mid-week with Rune Jarstein returning in goal, Lukas Klünter, Dedryck Boyata and Maximilian Mittelstädt all returning to the defence and Per Skjelbred coming back to midfield. Salomon Kalou also dropped out for Vedad Ibisevic up front.
The first Bundesliga duel between the two Berlin sides began with a heart-in-mouth moment for the Herthaner. After a cross came in from the right, Christopher Lenz nodded at goal but saw his effort hit the inside of the right post (3’). Three minutes later, Rune Jarstein managed to hold a header from Marcus Ingvartsen (6’). The ‘Old Lady’ then also nearly went in to the lead themselves after Dodi Lukebakio almost headed home a great cross from Javairo Dilrosun (14’). Jarstein then easily held a hopeful shot from Christian Gentner (24’) as the game ran on relatively deprived of clear-cut chances. Most of the game was played in midfield as both teams tried desperately not to concede. Marko Grujic struck over from a good position (35’), before just failing to connect with the ball for what would have been a certain goal just seconds later (36’). So both teams went in to half time without a goal to their name.
In the second half, Covic started out by making one change with Eduard Löwen coming on for Per Skjelbred. On the pitch however, there was little to see as pyrotechnics put a stop to the game for a few minutes. After the restart, Union had a slight edge in the game, but the Herthaner stood firm. A direct free kick from substitute Löwen came close in what was the first real clear shot at goal in the second half (66’). Gikiewicz just managed to get in front of Ibisevic as he looked to score off a low cross to the near post (70’), before the keeper then managed to get in front of a deflected shot from Wolf (71’). The ‘Old Lady’ managed to take control just before the start of the final stages of the game, but Löwen’s shot was too high and other chances went begging. The home side were not out of it however as Robert Andrich narrowly missed the target from what should have been a goal (79’). The away side threw one last roll of the dice by replacing captain Ibisevic with Salomon Kalou in the closing minutes of the game; however it wasn’t to be for The Blue-Whites. Instead, referee Deniz Aytekin decided to award the hosts a penalty for a Dedryck Boyata foul after consulting with VAR. Sebastian Polter stayed composed from the spot to make it 1-0 (90’): a goal that would prove to be the winner, despite ten minutes of added time and a Hertha pitch invasion.
Conclusion and Outlook
Hertha end a busy week, including matches against Hoffenheim, Dresden and Union, with a disappointing defeat. The Blue-Whites now sit in eleventh place in the table after ten matches. Next up for the Berliners is a game against RB Leipzig on the 30th anniversary of the falling of the wall (09/11/19).