Sandro Schwarz made two changes to his starting eleven from the game against Stuttgart for the final Bundesliga game of the year, with Ivan Šunjić and Wilfried Kanga coming in for Suat Serdar and Davie Selke. Former Herthaner Ondrej Duda started for Köln.
Both teams started cautiously in front of a crowd of 60,827 at the Olympiastadion. With the first memorable action of the half the Blue-Whites took the lead. Kanga stooped low in the middle of the box to head home a Marvin Plattenhardt cross from close range (9’). Hertha kept pushing forward, with Dodi Lukébakio shooting from the edge of the box after winning the ball in midfield. Marvin Schwäbe was equal to his effort and an off-balance Marco Richter could only fire the rebound over (14’). Not 60 seconds later, Köln demonstrated their attacking threat by getting in down the left, but fortunately for Hertha Sargis Adamyan somehow managed to put the ball over the bar from a yard out (15’).
Kanga and Šunjić miss chances to make it 2-0
Following this, Köln breached the Hertha box two more times. First, Oliver Christensen made a brilliant save to prevent Adamyan from a corner (23’). Moments later, Linton Maina got away from Maximilian Mittelstädt, who had come on to replace the injured Plattenhardt, but he could only fire wide (25’). The game was increasingly end-to-end, with a long throw from Christensen setting Lukébakio away down the right, who crossed for Kanga whose shot at the near post was blocked by a Köln defender (28’). The intensity on the pitch remained high; Hertha had more possession, while Köln won more duels. Moments before half time, Šunjić attempted to double the lead having been played in by a back-heeled flick from Lukébakio, but his left-footed shot was saved by Schwäbe (45’).
The second half began with plenty of competitive challenges in midfield, with the first real chances of the half once again resulting in Hertha taking the lead. This time, Lukébakio did brilliantly to beat his man on the left before driving into the box. His cross could only be blocked by Schwäbe’s outstretched leg, and it fell perfectly for Richter to hammer into the roof of the net (54’). Another important goal at the start of a half for Schwarz’s side. With this behind them, Hertha began to control the game, with Steffen Baumgart’s team failing to have a shot after the 63rd minute. With the fans vocally supporting the side, the team fought for every ball, skilfully winning the ball back and transitioning well. Marc Kempf almost scored a header to make it 3-0 (81’). With a controlled, smart performance Hertha managed to pick up a key three points in their third win of the season, climbing up to 15th place in the table after the last league game of 2022 in the process.
Hertha BSC: Christensen – Kenny, Rogel, Kempf, Plattenhardt (C) (24‘ Mittelstädt) –Tousart, Šunjić, Richter (84‘ Boateng), Boëtius (84‘ Serdar), Lukébakio (69‘ Ejuke) – Kanga (84‘ Selke)
1. FC Köln: Schwäbe – Hector (C), Kilian, Hübers, Schmitz (51‘ Schindler) – Martel (70‘ Tigges), Skhiri, Kainz, Duda (56‘ Huseinbašić), Maina – Adamyan (56’ Thielmann)
Goals: 1-0 Kanga (9’), 2-0 Richter (54’)
Referee: Christian Dingert
Yellow cards: Rogel, Kempf, Lukébakio – Skhiri