Pál Dárdai gave Tjark Ernst his debut in between the posts for the game against VfL Wolfsburg. The same went for U19 captain Pascal Klemens, who started at centre-back. These weren’t the only changes made, with Marc Kempf, Marvin Plattenhardt, Jean-Paul Boëtius, Florian Niederlechner and Jessic Ngankam also coming into the starting eleven, replacing Márton Dárdai, Stevan Jovetić, Prince Boateng, Dodi Lukébakio and Maximilian Mittelstädt.
Hertha didn’t get off to a good start, with Jakub Kamiński putting Wolfsburg into the lead after nice interplay with Yannick Gerhardt, who backheeled the ball into his path (2’). The ‘Old Lady’ almost found an immediate reply, but Koen Casteels kept out Florian Niederlechner’s shot at full stretch (4’). Ernst was then called into action, making a double save from Kamiński (7’) and then Jonas Wind (9’). The Wolfsburg attacker missed another chance moments later with an open net at his mercy (18’). Hertha continued to work hard, but could not find space for a clear-cut chance, with Marco Richter’s shot from the right hand-side of the box blocked (23’). Josuha Guilavogui and Patrick Wimmer had a series of shots, but either fired over or Ernst was in the way (29’, 31’, 45’). Hertha went into the break trailing narrowly.
Ibrahim Maza and Derry Scherhant came on for Suat Serdar and Jessic Ngankam at half time. The first chance of the half fell to Richter, who fired over from the edge of the box (47’). Nico Kovač’s side wanted to secure their place in the Europa League places and sought to find a second goal, but found strong opposition in Ernst, parrying away a dangerous cross from Wimmer (49’), then proving his class to save from Ridle Baku (52’). At the other end, Hertha found the perfect response. Richter sent Lucas Tousart away down the right wing, who did brilliantly to square to Maza who swept it home (55’). An equaliser and a first goal for the 17-year-old in just his second Bundesliga appearance! Just after the hour mark Peter Pekarík came on to replace Marvin Plattenhardt and also took the captain’s armband (63’).
Maza’s first goal – Richter completes the comeback
Hertha’s number 2 was able to celebrate the team taking the lead just moments later. Richter cut inside following a corner and curled a brilliant effort into the far corner to make it 2-1! (68’). Dárdai gave another player his debut shortly after, bringing on Tony Rölke for Niederlechner (71’). The 20-year-old slotted in seamlessly and worked hard with his teammates to get the result over the line. Tousart had another good chance in the final stages, but he fired straight at Casteels from the centre of the box (84’). Julian Eitschberger collected his first Bundesliga minutes of the season moments later and the team went on to win 2-1, meaning at least a winning finish to the 2022/23 season.
VfL Wolfsburg: Casteels – Baku, Bornauw, Guilavogui (C), van de Ven – Gerhardt (80' Pejčinović), Arnold, F. Nmecha (45+3' Svanberg) – Kamiński (66' Paredes), Wind (80' Marmoush), Wimmer (66' Waldschmidt)
Hertha BSC: Ernst – Kenny, Klemens, Kempf, Plattenhardt (C) – Tousart, Serdar (46' Maza) – Boetius, Richter, Ngankam (46' Scherhant) – Niederlechner (71' Rölke)
Goals: 1-0 Kamiński (2'), 1-1 Maza (55'), 1-2 Richter (68')
Referee: Benjamin Cortus
Yellow cards: Bornauw – Serdar, Kenny, Plattenhardt