3:1 home win over Frankfurt
Hertha came from a goal down on Friday evening, to beat FSV Frankfurt 3-1 and defend top spot in the division two table at the Olympiastadion Berlin. For the home side it was their third victory in four games, but for the visitors, the defeat extended their winless run to seven.
Hertha coach Markus Babbel (hardly surprisingly) saw no reason to change the team which triumphed 5-0 in Aachen last week. That meant that his Brazilian playmaker Raffael was on the bench at first. Babbel’s Frankfurt counterpart Hans-Jürgen Boysen replaced two of the players in the team which lost in Cottbus in round 24: Christian Müller and Wunderlich returned from suspension, while captain Schlicke (5th booking in Cottbus) and his former HSV team mate Fillinger missed out. The FSV captain’s armband was worn by Gjasula.
After a cautious start during which Hertha looked a little hapless at raising the early tempo and getting forward effectively, it was hardly surprising that the visitors threatened first from a free kick taken by Gjasula. Bouhaddouz met the cross but was under pressure from a home defender, and blasted the ball over the crossbar (4.). Two minutes later though, Frankfurt went one batter and took a shock lead. Five metres out Berlin keeper Aerts attacked Bouhaddouz, who somehow got the ball in the air to Mölders, who scored his 14th goal of the season by way of a superb bicycle kick into the empty net.
The league leaders fought back, but could not break down the massed Frankfurt defence no matter how hard they tried. Until the 21 minute! Rukavytsya won a physical battle for possession down the left, from where he produced a wonderfully-weighted pass to Ebert, who marked his first goal of the season with a well-taken volley. Four minutes later the home fans were screaming for a penalty as Ebert crossed to the far post from where Ramos nodded the ball onto the hand of an opponent. Match referee Guido Winkmann’s whistle however remained silent (25.).
Berlin continued to take the game to FSV and were denied by a timely challenge by Wunderlich, as Rukavytsya looked about to score (31.). On 36 minutes, in-form striker Lasogga played a cheeky back-heel to Niemeyer, who in turn fed the-advancing Hubnik who scored to put Hertha into what was a deserved lead at that point in time. The home side combined well before the break. They led 2-1 as the opening half ended.
Hertha snoozed through the opening minutes of the second half, which gifted Frankfurt not one but three opportunities to draw level. But first Bouhaddouz and then Mölders blasted over while handily placed (50., 51.), before a shot deflected by Lell two minutes later failed to trouble Aerts between the Hertha posts. Hertha then woke up again and began to get forward themselves.
Babbel replaced Niemeyer with Raffael after 63 minutes, hoping that the talented Brazilian would be able to breathe some new life into the team. It took Raffael less than 60 seconds to make a mark, as he played a sweet through ball to Rukavytsya, who was (wrongly) pulled up for being offside. FSV to their credit were much improved after the break, and on 79 minutes forced Aerts into a good save to deny Bouhaddouz, who had got in an awkwardly bouncing effort.
Not long after that the home side hit Frankfurt on the break and put the game to bed. Ebert’s free kick on the right found Hubnik, who laid the ball off to Raffael waiting behind him. The Brazilian fired the ball into the bottom left hand corner of the net for what was his ninth goal of the season (82.). Hertha could have scored a fourth goal moments later, but a fantastic reflex save by Klandt denied Ramos a goal. Then Gladson scraped a Lasogga effort off the line (85., 88.). The game ended shortly afterwards in a deserved 3-1 win for the capital city side.
Hertha BSC: Aerts – Lell (71. Janker), Mijatovic, Hubnik, Kobiashvili – Niemeyer (63. Raffael), Lustenberger – Rukavytsya (78. Ronny), Ebert, Ramos – Lasogga
FSV Frankfurt: Klandt – Hickl, Heitmeier, Gledson, Konrad (80. Cidimar) – Müller, Cinaz – Bouhaddouz, Gjasula, Wunderlich – Mölders (80. N’ Diaye)
Goals: 0:1 Mölders (6.) 1-1 Ebert (21.) 2-1 Hubnik (36.) 3-1 Raffael (82.)
Booked: / C. Müller
Referee: Guido Winkmann