Hertha BSC out of DFB CUP
A battling performance by brave Hertha was sadly not enough to see them through to the semi-finals of the DFB Cup on Wednesday night. The capital city side were beaten 2-0, by two extra time goals by Borussia Mönchengladbach in front of 47.465 at the freezing Olympic stadium in Berlin. A dubious decision put the guests into the driving seat against the run of play. Part of that decision saw Hertha’s Roman Hubnik sent off. The resulting penalty opened the scoring for the visitors and the rest as they say is history.
Hertha coach Michael Skibbe welcomed back captain Andre Mijatovic (for Neumann) and playmaker Raffael (for Ramos) to his starting line-up. Once again the role of playmaker was given to Fabian Lustenberger, with Raffael operating on the left . Ex-Hertha coach Lucien Favre sent out the same side which got a goalless draw at Wolfsburg last weekend.
The atmosphere was great but the opening action didn’t do it justice at first, but then the home side finally grasped the initiative. Andreas Ottl fed Pierre-Michel Lasogga on the edge of the Gladbach box, but the young gun’s snap shot was deflected away from danger (14.). Raffael tried to catch Gladbach keeper Marc-André ter Stegen out, who was a little far out of his goal. The in-form stopper however read the danger and dealt with it (16.). Shortly afterwards Ottl played Lasogga through, but a superbly timed tackle by Roel Brouwers did just enough to put the Hertha striker off, as he was trying to get his shot in (18.).
It took 21 minutes for the guests to appear anywhere near the Berlin goal. As they did, a header by Patrick Herrmann flew well wide of the left hand upright (21.). On the half hour mark Raffael sent a crisp shot into the side netting. Then ter Stegen produced a fine save to deny Lasogga who got a shot away from an acute ankle (38.). Hertha’s number 19 then fell inside the Gladbach area after appearing to have his shirt tugged. The whistle of referee Felix Brych remained silent and the game was goalless at the break.
Favre must have found some choice words during halftime, because Gladbach emerged for the second half with more purpose. A nicely weighted through ball had Kraft rushing out of his goal to take the ball off the toe of Reus (50.). After a nasty kick by Tony Jantschke, Lustenberger was forced off injured . Felix Bastians made his debut for Hertha replacing the Swiss midfielder. Raffael played a ball into the area where it was deflected into the path of Niemeyer, who looked on in horror as his side-footed effort came back off the right hand post with the keeper well beaten (61.).
Then Morales fired a fine shot from 20 metres which ter Stegen was able to tip around a post (62.). Kobiashvili crossed into the middle from the left byline to Bastians, who failed to get enough power behind his header and another chance went begging (72.). Then out of the blue Gladbach’s De Carmago found himself bearing down on the Hertha keeper alone. Luckily for the home side Kraft had his wits about him and thwarted the danger, throwing himself onto the ball in the nick of time (77.). A final shot by Ottl also missed the target on 90 minutes so the game went into extra time.
Nothing much happened during the opening minutes of extra time, but then all hell broke loose. In Hertha’s area, Hubnik and De Carmago stood eyeball to eyeball and the Belgian substitute fell down as if he’d been shot. The referee fell for it, awarded Gladbach a penalty and sent Hubnik off. Up stepped Filip Daems to send Kraft the wrong way with his spot kick and put the visitors ahead (101.). Hertha tried everything, Ronny copied his brother by hitting the side netting, while seconds later Ottl fired into the welcoming arms of ter Stegen (105). Gladbach pulled everyone behind the ball and launched occasional attacks on the break. During one of those Hanke could have rounded off an excellent swift counter attack, but found his master in Kraft (116.).
Hertha substitute Adrian Ramos missed a gilt-edged chance to level as he blasted the ball high and wide as he was one on one with ter Stegen. Moments later Hanke fired narrowly wide, but the final nail in Hertha’s coffin came from Oscar Wendt, who scored Gladbach’s second and killer goal with the last kick of the game only seconds after coming on as a sub.
Hertha must now turn their focus to the Bundesliga again. On Saturday (11.02.12) they take on fellow-strugglers VfB Stuttgart at the Mercedes-Benz-Arena.