Hertha lose 0:1 to Borussia Dortmund
Hertha played their 1000th Bundesliga game at home to reigning Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund on Saturday afternoon (18.02). The history books will confirm that Dortmund won 1-0 through a well-taken goal by Großkreutz on 66 minutes. What the books will not reveal is how tight the game was at times. In the end the champions cheered on by 18,000 fans (!) at the sold out Olympiastadion Berlin (72,244) deserved their win for their finishing power. It was Hertha’s fifth consecutive league defeat since the winter break, and leaves them teetering on the edge of the dreaded drop zone in 15th place.
Interim coach René Tretschok made some changes to the team which was hammered 5-0 in Stuttgart last time out. That result cost head coach Michael Skibbe his job. Veteran Georgian Levan Kobiashvili played in front of the back four, following the omission of Ottl (suspended) and Lustenberger (bruised foot). That saw recent signing Felix Bastians revert to left back. Columbian goal-getter Adrian Ramos was Hertha’s sole striker. To his right on the wing was Aussie dribbler Nikita Rukavytsya. Lasogga was on the bench at first. Christoph Janker playing in a mask following a broken jaw injury got the nod over Morales at right back.
Hertha got stuck in right away, and after only seconds Raffael fell between two Borussia defenders on the edge of the Dortmund box, but match referee Marco Fritz waved play on (1.). Fritz was also on the whistle as the two sides met at the sold out Signal Iduna Park on matchday 5. Hertha triumphed 2-1 that day, so the visitors were hoping to avenge that stinging loss. On 8 minutes Lucas Barrios headed a cross by former Hertha defender Lukas Piszczek into the grateful arms of Thomas Kraft.
A Kobiashvili cross turned into a shot, but Dortmund stopper Roman Weidenfeller cleared the danger easily (21.). The best chance of the game up to that point was missed by Barrios, who fluffed at a Blaszczykowski pass while on his own in front of Kraft (31.). Then Raffael dispossessed Mats Hummels inside the Borussia box. Luckily for the visitors, Weidenfeller was on his guard to block the somewhat surprised Brazilian’s weak effort (36.). On the stroke of halftime Hummels found Piszczek with a breathtaking pass from inside his own half. Kraft magnificently rose to the challenge though producing a heart-stopping save to deny the former Berliner (45.). The game was goalless at the break.
Hertha emerged for the second half highly motivated. The half was five minutes old as Ramos strongly won possession in midfield before feeding the advancing Ebert, whose crisp shot fizzed inches wide of the far post with Weidenfeller beaten. Moments later a Lewandowski effort from an impossibly acute angle flew high and wide of target (51.). Then it was Raffael’s turn to show his battling qualities and win the ball in midfield, from where he also fed Ebert, whose strong low ball was only missed by a hair’s breadth by Ramos at the far post (53.).