Hertha faced Hannover 96 in a friendly on Wednesday afternoon. The opening exchanges saw the first chance fall to Hertha new boy Suat Serdar, who shot at goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler from an inside-right position after receiving a nice pass from Javairô Dilrosun (7’) The goalkeeper then came rushing off his line to snuff out the danger as Davie Selke hared down on goal (18’). The second-tier side from Lower Saxony had a chance of their own soon after, but Sebastian Kerk could only hit the side-netting with his weaker right foot (23’). The boys in blue and white were celebrating ten minutes later: Dilrosun crossed into the middle where Selke rose highest to head the ball home from close range (34’). The visitors responded almost immediately, forcing Alexander Schwolow into a save as Linton Maina had a go from distance (38’). Just 60 seconds later, though, the goalkeeper was helpless to stop Marvin Ducksch firing home from just five metres out (39’) The Old Lady took the setback on the chin and responded in fine fashion: Márton Dárdai floated the ball into the box and Selke caught the ball with a perfect volley into the bottom corner (42’). A delightful goal, and Hertha had retaken the lead! Yet Selke was hungry for more, and stepped up to take a penalty in the dying seconds of the half. The number seven made no mistake (45’), completing his hattrick before the break and sending Hertha into the dressing room with a 3-1 lead.
In the absence of those playing at EURO 2020 and the Olympics, Pál Dárdai made just one change at half-time: Dodi Lukébakio replaced Dilrosun in front of 850 fans at the Amateurstadion. There were seven changes for Hannover, meanwhile, and one of the visitors’ new faces, Moussa Doumbouya, shot narrowly wide (54’). But Hannover weren’t to be kept out for long; Sebastian Stolze cut the deficit with a goal on the rebound (56’), before Florent Muslija got a free-kick up and over the wall to tie the game at 3-3 (59’). Dárdai then made nine more substitutions, leaving only Schwolow and Lukébakio out on the pitch (60’). It was a team full of youngsters, led by Jhon Córdoba who donned the captain’s armband for the remainder of the match.
Captain Córdoba snatches a draw
Ruwen Werthmüller soon tested Zieler from the edge of the box (69’) and Anton Kade failed to take advantage of a promising situation (74’). Those in green were more clinical in front of goal: Sulejmani took advantage of a Hertha error in possession and hammered the ball into the top-left corner (75’). Hertha were behind for the first time, but not for long. Dennis Jastrzembski was at the heart of things as he whipped a teasing ball into the box, which the Hannover defence was able to clear at the back post (77’). Then, with nine minutes to play, ‘DJ’ drew a foul in the box to win Hertha a second penalty of the afternoon. Córdoba kept his cool and fired home Hertha’s fourth (81’). 4-4! The visiting goalkeeper came flying out to prevent a late winner (84’) before a coming-together led to a lengthy injury break before the final whistle blew.
Pál Dárdai was happy enough with the run-out: “Our performance was okay considering that we are currently in the most difficult phase of preseason, with a lot of running work. We scored some nice goals, but obviously we conceded a few too. We will analyse them but I am really pleased with the attitude and the work we’ve done so far.” The head coach was pleased to see so many fans in the stands, and he reserved special praise for his centre-forward. “Davie scored good goals, they weren’t just the result of luck. He’s played really well so far but now he needs to stick at it and keep getting stronger.”
“I feel really comfortable with these lads,” said Selke himself. “I’m having a load of fun here. I’m feeling really fit, and that’s why everything is going so well right now. Overall we need these tough battles at this stage of preseason, but we still have plenty of work to do.” The next test of strength for Selke and co. will be against FC St. Pauli on Saturday (17/07/21, 16:00 CEST).
Hertha BSC: Schwolow – Klünter (60’ Kade), Stark (60’ Gechter), M. Dárdai (60’ Morgenstern), Plattenhardt (60’ Netz) – Ascacíbar (60’ Dirkner), Boateng (60’ Michelbrink) – Mittelstädt (60’ Jastrzembski), Serdar (60’ Serdar), Dilrosun (46’ Lukébakio) – Selke (60’ Córdoba)
Bench: Körber (GK), Lukébakio, Córdoba, Jastrzembski, Netz, Werthmüller, Michelbrink, Dirkner, Gechter, Kade, Morgenstern, Redan
Hannover 96: Zieler – Muroya (46’ Bokake), Franke (46’ Falette), Lamti, Eichhorn (46’ Ernst) – Frantz (46’ Kaiser) - Ochs, Stolze, Kerk (46’ Sulejmani), Maina (46’ Doumbouya) – Ducksch (46’ Muslija)
Goals: 1-0 Selke (34’), 1-1 Ducksch (39’), 2-1 Selke (42’), 3:1 Selke (45’, pen.), 3-2 Stolze (56’), 3-3 Muslija (59’), 3-4 Sulejmani (75’), 4-4 Córdoba (82’, pen.)
Referee: Florian Lechner