Hertha scored against Werder Bremen
Rehhagel rang the changes following his side’s drab performance in their 0-3 defeat away to fellow strugglers FC Augsburg last time out. Christian Lell returned from injury, while Christoph Janker ( playing with a mask) moved into central defence. Captain Andre Mijatovic reverted to the bench. Suspended Andreas Ottl was replaced by young Fanol Perdedaj. The new Hertha supremo also shook up his front line, with Ramos playing the role of sole striker. Tunay Torun moved out to the wing and German under-21 goal-getter Pierre Michel Lasogga was only on the bench at first, which is more than could be said for Patrick Ebert, who didn’t even make the squad.
Despite those changes the home side began the game brightly enough, but as has been the case so often this season, the final telling pass to the front line was missing in their approach work. On 13 minutes Kobiashvili curled in a useful cross from the left, but the Ramos header which met that cross was easily dealt with by Germany number two keeper Tim Wiese between the Bremen posts. At the other end, Werder dangerman Claudio Pizarro (15 league goals this season) was struck by the ball during an attempted clearance. Luckily for Hertha the ball bounced wide of target (17.). Not long afterwards the Peruvian striker was looking to the skies with a questioning look again, as his shot fizzed agonisingly wide of the far right hand post with Hertha keeper Thomas Kraft well beaten (20.).
The game then got bogged down in midfield. All of a sudden though, Markus Rosenberg broke down Hertha’s right before threading the ball through to the feet of mini-midfielder Marin, whose shot was not good enough to beat Kraft (41.). The Berlin stopper then fluffed at a corner. The semi-bicycle kick by Sokratis sailed over the crossbar (44.). The game was golalless at halftime.
Both sides emerged for the second half unchanged. The half was only seconds old as Pizarro found himnself one on one with Kraft. The Bremen striker could only put the ball onto the roof of the net. Had he scored, it wouldn’t have counted anyway because he was clearly offside (46.). After fine approach work involving Ramos and Raffael, the latter fed Torun , who somehow manged to fire just wide from only 10 metres out (51.) as it looked easier to score. The home side were not to be denied though, and new signing Bastians produced an inch-perfect cross to the far post where Rukavytsya’s shot bounced over Wiese and into the net for his first ever Bundesliga goal (63.). And what a crucial one too!
Pizarro once again came off worse in another one on one with Kraft (65.). Pizarro who was made captain for the day because of the abscence of regular skipper Clemens Fritz through suspension, then “scored” with a crisp shot into the top right hand corner of Kraft’s net. But he was rightly ruled to be offside, and a huge sigh of relief was audible inside the Olympic stadium (72.). Rukavytsya almost scored again, after substitute Lasogga had bustled his way down the left and crossed to Hertha’s goal scorer, who could only look on in horror as his effort shaved the outside of the right hand upright. (74.).
Bremen sub Mehmet Ekici got away a shot from distance, but the ball flew well wide of target (81.). The visitors threw everything forward and Hertha defended with man and mouse, grittily determined not to relinquish their slender advantage. Bremen left gaps at the back when they ventured forward, but the home side were unable to exploit them.
Hertha played out the remaining minutes of the game and as match referee Günter Perl blew for full time, Hertha’s long-suffering fans celebrated the first victory of 2012.
The capital city side are in action again next Saturday (10.03.12), as they travel to the RheinEnergieStadion, where they will lock horns with Lukas Podolski and Köln.