Berlin – Pál Dárdai had to make two changes to the team which won away in Hamburg last time out. As well as Marvin Plattenhardt, who was serving a ban for yellow cards, Valentino Lazaro was unable to play due to illness. Maximilian Mittelstädt and Mathew Leckie joined the starting XI to replace them. Julian Schieber returned to the bench after 413 days out injured. Former Hertha player Anthony Brooks was missing for Wolfsburg due to a knee problem.
The Blue-Whites started the game with a bang, despite the unfamiliarly late Saturday kick-off time; Mathew Leckie headed a Mitchell Weiser corner into the post just five minutes into the game. The Australian also set up Vladimir Darida with a spectacular pass, but Wolfsburg managed to cut out the chance just five metres out from goal (8’). Hertha continued to play attacking football and push into the Wolfsburg half. There was only a single moment of fear for Dárdai’s team in the first half, namely when Niklas Stark hit his own post (19’). An evenly-balanced match develop after that, with the hosts enjoying the majority of the possession, but without creating many huge chances. Only Salomon Kalou managed to pull off a dangerous shot, with an effort from 17 metres out, but missed the target (37’).
Wolfsburg had the first chance of the second period. Dimata pounced on a mistake from Jarstein, but thrashed at the ball and sent it into the night sky (50’). On the other side of the pitch, a goal was within touching distance for Hertha as Mittelstädt fired a powerful shot with his right foot, which forced Casteels into a big save (61’). Just moments later, Dárdai brought on Davie Selke for Vedad Ibisevic (62’) and Ondrej Duda came on for Arne Maier later on (70’). The fresh legs allowed the capital club to find a better grip on the game. Selke missed the target by a fraction in the 78th minute and Schieber, who celebrated his comeback in the final minutes of the game, was unable to produce that elusive winner. As Wolfsburg, whose Guilavogui had to leave the pitch after being shown a second yellow card (90’), were also unable to produce a winning goal in the final stages, the game naturally ended 0-0 when the final whistle sounded.
Conclusions and outlook
Hertha BSC now have 36 points from 28 Bundesliga games and are tenth in the league before Sunday’s games. The capital club next face Borussia Mönchengladbach away from home next Saturday (7th April, KO 15:30 CEST).
5th minute: Mitchell Weiser takes the first corner kick of the match. And it’s a dangerous one! Mathew Leckie gets his head on the ball and it strikes the inner post. So close!
9th minute: Wow! Mathew Leckie does excellently to beat the Wolfsburg defenders and sends a through ball into Darida’s path. Darida runs directly at goal and plays the ball into the middle, but a defender manages to clear the danger.
18th minute: Phew! And breathe... Arnold crosses it in and Knoche shoots; however, the ball hits the left post.
37th minute: Kalou tries his luck! Out number 8 sends in a curling shot from a central position, which just whizzes past the right post.
50th minute: Jeez! Jarstein loses control of the ball after a back pass from Rekik. Dimata anticipates, but luckily his shot goes over the target.
61st minute: That was dangerous! After the ball had initially been headed away from danger, it falls to Mittelstädt, who shoots from a central position – Casteels deals with it, though.
78th minute: Selke appears in front of Casteels from the left side, but sends the ball a tick wide, so he runs into Casteels and only gets a corner from it. The resulting corner leads to nothing, though.
83rd minute: Hertha BSC make the third and final change. Schieber comes on for Kalou.