Head coach Sandro Schwarz made five changes to the starting line up following yesterday’s semi-final match against TSV 1860 Munich. Jonjoe Kenny, Agustín Rogel, Deyovaisio Zeefuik, Ivan Šunjić and Dodi Lukébakio started in place of Sonny Ziemer, Lucas Tousart, Vladimír Darida and Nader Jindaoui, who all dropped to the bench. Maximilian Mittelstädt was left out of the matchday squad with an adductor issue.
Multiple chances to score, but Graz take the lead
The first shot of the game came from Prince Boateng (2’), with Suat Serdar going close as well just 120 seconds later (4’). Boateng looked eager to score, as he had another chance in the 12th minute, with Christoph Nicht just keeping out his header. Five minutes later, Nicht also parried a low shot from Wilfried Kanga (17’). The Blue-Whites looked the more likely to score at this point, and a goal wouldn’t have been undeserved. Instead, however, it would be Graz who would take an unexpected lead. Michael Liendl placed a free kick into the top right corner (29’). Despite the setback, Hertha continued to attack, with Kanga recording a narrow miss (30’) before Lukébakio sent a shot past the far post (32’). Just before the break, Kanga cleverly picked out his Belgian teammate, but Lukébakio just missed the target (41’) as Hertha went into the break behind.
Seven changes at halftime - Scherhant heads in the equaliser
Schwarz made seven changes at the break, bringing on goalkeeper Leon Cuk for his professional debut, along with Sonny Ziemer, Vladimír Darida, Lucas Tousart, Jean-Paul Boëtius, Marco Richter and Derry Scherhant for Kenny, Šunjić, Serdar, Prince, Lukébakio and Kanga. Hertha’s next chance came in the 60th minute, as Scherhant just missed from inside the box (60’). Minutes later, he headed in a corner from Ejuke to bring the Blue-Whites level (62’). The next good chance also fell to Hertha, but Jindaoui had his shot saved by Nicht (78’). Darida redirected the ball towards goal with his thigh from the resulting corner, but it was cleared off the line (79’). Cuk did well on his debut and made a strong save against Maximilian Somnitz (80’). Tousart, who donned the captain’s armband in the second half, went close from a header, as did Scherhant (89’, 90’).
Penalties needed again
With the score level at 1-1 at the final whistle, the match headed to penalties to determine a winner. Richter, Boëtius and Darida scored for Hertha, while Cuk kept out one of the three penalties he faced. Our Blue-Whites kept their nerves in the shootout, finishing third in this year’s Wörthersee Cup.
Grazer AK: Nicht – Seidl, Lang, Huber, Jandrisevits – Schriebl, Somnitz – Liendl, Gabbichler, Kiedl – Peham
Hertha BSC: Sprint (46’ Cuk) – Kenny (46. Ziemer), Rogel, Uremović, Zeefuik – Šunjić (46’ Darida), Serdar (46’ Tousart (C)) – Lukébakio (46’ Richter), Prince (C) (46’ Boëtius), Ejuke (74’ Jindaoui) – Kanga (46’ Scherhant)
Goals: 1-0 Liendl (29’), 1-1 Scherhant (62’)
Penalty shootout: Hertha win 3-2 on pens. (Richter, Boëtius, Darida - Perchtholdt, Eloshvili, Cuk saves)
Yellow cards: Somnitz
Referee: Martin Begusch