Head coach Pál Dárdai made five changes to his team from the one which kicked off the game against Freiburg. Peter Pekarík, Santiago Ascacíbar, Vladimír Darida, Maximilian Mittelstädt and Krzysztof Piątek all returned to the starting XI, replacing Stevan Jovetić, Prince Boateng and Davie Selke. Lucas Tousart also pulled out late on due to ankle issues, but Myziane Maolida returned to the bench for the first time in four weeks after his hamstring injury. Our head coach was celebrating a milestone today: this game was his 175th in charge of the “Old Lady.”
Richter gives Blue-Whites the lead
With a formation change to a back four, Hertha started the game well and pressed Eintracht high up the pitch. We made our fast start count; Darida, starting his 200th Bundesliga game, put a pinpoint cross into the box, which the arriving Marco Richter only had to get the lightest of touches onto for it to fly off the post and in to give Hertha the lead (7’). Our defence, led by captain Dedryck Boyata, was compact and didn’t give the home side any way through. Richter was then involved with Hertha’s second big chance of the afternoon: his brilliant ball in found Piątek, who was denied by a fine save from Kevin Trapp in the Frankfurt goal (18’). Dominating the duels in midfield, our Herthaner were able to switch the play well and often, something the home side did not get the chance to do. Their biggest chance was Kristijan Jakić’s deflected shot from a well-worked corner, which Alexander Schwolow did well to parry (28’). Ascacíbar and Piątek also had big chances to score, but were not able to find the net (38’, 42’). Referee Deniz Aytekin blew his whistle for half time with Hertha 1-0 to the good.
Ekkelenkamp repeats his feat before Paciência makes it stressful
Without changes at half time, Dárdai’s men were second best at the start of the second half as the home side changed personell and tactics. Djibril Sow was the first to come close in the half from Filip Kostić’s cross. Hertha’s head coach reacted and made two changes after an hour, Ishak Belfodil and Jurgen Ekkelenkamp replacing Richter and Piątek. It was the latter who, like he did at home against Fürth, made the instant impact, firing home Maxi Mittelstädt’s beautiful ball in (62’). Frankfurt then entered a period of possession, with the Blue-Whites defending sternly and attacking on the counter. Borré’s shot on 70 minutes didn’t trouble Schwolow in goal, before substitute Dennis Jastrzembski was prevented from getting his shot off at the other end (73’). The home side halved their defecit five minutes later, “Schwolli” bringing down Gonçalo Paciência after a defensive mixup between him and Niklas Stark. Paciência converted the spot-kick to make the end of the game a stressful one for every Herthaner. Prince Boateng came on in place of milestone-man Darida for the last few minutes (83’), before Marvin Plattenhardt came close to securing the three points with a low free kick which Trapp tipped round the post (86’). That was the last real opportunity; despite the nerves of four added minutes, the players in blue and white held their own and took the three points back home to the capital.
Eintracht Frankfurt: Trapp; Ndicka, Hasebe (C), Hinteregger; Chandler (46‘ Touré), Sow, Jakić (69‘ Paciência), Kostić; Lindstrøm (46‘ Kamada), Hauge; Lammers (60‘ Borré)
Hertha BSC: Schwolow: Pekarík, Boyata (C), Stark, Plattenhardt; Ascacíbar, Serdar; Richter (61‘ Ekkelenkamp), Darida (83‘ Prince), Mittelstädt (73‘ Jastrzembski); Piątek (61‘ Belfodil)
Goals: 0-1 Richter (7‘), 0-2 Ekkelenkamp (62‘), 1-2 Paciência (78‘ Pen.)