Draw against Mainz
Sandro Schwarz made two changes to the starting eleven from the defeat in Leverkusen. Márton Dárdai replaced Agustín Rogel (bench) in the back-three, while Jessic Ngankam came in for Dodi Lukébakio up front (bench). Wilfried Kanga also celebrated his first game back in the squad after injury. The in-form Zerofivers made one change, with Anton Stach replacing Dominik Kohr in midfield.
Ngankam puts Hertha ahead via the penalty spot – Solid in defence
Hertha had their first dangerous attack only a few minutes into the game at the Olympiastadion, but Florian Niederlechner was just unable to get on the end of Ngankam’s cross across the box (4’). The first shot on target came from Suat Serdar, both the former Mainz man’s shot didn’t cause any problems for Robin Zentner in the Mainz goal (9’). Not long later and Hertha were rewarded for their solid start to the game. After a handball from Leandro Barreiro in the box and a VAR check, referee Benjamin Cortus pointed to the spot. Ngankam took on penalty duties and cooly converted from the spot (18’). Stach had a shot from distance for the visitors, but it was easily saved by Oliver Christensen (24’). Defensively, Hertha had everything under control. In attack, Marco Richter shot from a freekick, but his effort hit the wall (38’). Moments later, Niederlechner headed towards goal but it was not a dangerous effort (41’). The Blue-Whites headed into the dressing rooms with a narrow lead.
Equaliser out of nothing – Kempf against the crossbar
Hertha made no changes immediately after the change of ends. Once again it was the ‘Old Lady’ who had the first good opportunity, but Niederlechner arrived a second too late – this time from a Ciğerci corner and Tousart knock-on (50’). Moments later, Hertha conceded almost out of nothing due to a good piece of individual play. Ludovic Ajorque controlled a high ball in the penalty area before turning to fire home an unstoppable shot (57‘). The equaliser gave the Zerofivers some wind behind their sails and Stachs’ header fortunately flew over the bar (63’). Schwarz reacted to this period by making a double change, with Šunjić coming on for Ciğerci and Jovetić replacing Niederlechner (64’). This change almost paid immediate dividends and the Blue-Whites turned up the pressure. Marc Kempf’s header after a corner thundered into the crossbar (69‘). The next good chance for Schwarz’s boys was on the counter attack and fell to substitute Dodi Lukébakio, but his effort curled narrowly wide (75’). In the final stages, Christensen made a key save against the fresh Karim Onisiwo from close range (87’). The game finished in a draw, the first for Hertha in 2023.
Hertha BSC: Christensen – Uremović, Kempf, Dárdai – Richter (72‘ Kenny), Ciğerci (64‘ Šunjić), Tousart, Serdar (89’ Kanga), Plattenhardt (C) – Ngankam (72’ Lukébakio), Niederlechner (64’ Jovetić)
FSV Mainz 05: Zentner (C) – Hanche-Olsen, Bell, Fernandes – da Costa (58‘ Widmer), Barreiro (80‘ Kohr), Stach, Caci – Ingvartsen (58‘ Onisiwo), Ajorque, Lee (58‘ Barkok)
Goals: 1-0 Ngankam (18‘), 1-1 Ajorque (57‘)
Referee: Benjamin Cortus
Yellow cards: Ciğerci, Tousart – Hanche-Olsen