Haris Tabaković points to the sky after scoring the opener.
First team | January 21, 2024, 03:30 PM

Hertha share the spoils against Fortuna Düsseldorf

In a week in which on-field events were overshadowed by tragic news off it, Hertha put in a brave performance to draw 2-2 with Fortuna Düsseldorf. Pál Dárdai was forced to make changes to the side which drew against Osnabrück before the winter break, with Florian Niederlechner suspended following his red card in that game, and Jonjoe Kenny and Gustav Christensen also unavailable. Deyovaisio Zeefuik, Smail Prevljak and Marten Winkler came into the side, while Andreas Bouchalakis started in place of Marton Dárdai in the midfield. Aymen Barkok, meanwhile, was on the bench for his first appearance in a Hertha matchday squad.

A cagey opening salvo
In a tense and low-key start to the contest, neither team produced any real moments of quality in the opening 25 minutes, before Haris Tabaković broke free of the Düsseldorf defence on the half-hour mark to finish sweetly on his left foot from the edge of the box, holding aloft a tribute shirt to Kay Bernstein in celebration. Tabaković may well have added to his tally, but was thwarted first by Düsseldorf skipper Andre Hoffmann and then the woodwork. 

Late first-half drama
Düsseldorf equalised on 43 minutes as the ball fell to Copenhagen loanee Ísak Jóhannesson, who finished through a crowd despite Tjark Ernst getting a glove to it. Hertha, though, secured a half-time lead, as Derry Scherhant seized upon a poor ball from Düsseldorf ‘keeper Florian Kastenmeier and finished with aplomb into the top corner.

Photo gallery: In memory of Kay Bernstein

Düsseldorf in the ascendancy
The visitors started the second half brightly, and were rewarded for their pressure when Jona Niemiec took a tumble under pressure from Kempf. Christos Tzolis dispatched the penalty confidently, but the Greek was unable to repeat the trick five minutes later after his side were awarded a second penalty, again after an incident involving Niemiec.

Hertha push for a winner
Tabaković continued to be heavily involved in the second period, with the Bosnian - given the captain’s armband for the last twenty minutes – firing wide from 18 yards on 71 minutes, and feeling he himself should have been awarded a penalty after a coming together with Hoffmann in the Fortuna box. 
Aymen Barkok made his debut from the bench, replacing Prevljak, while Palkó Dárdai came on for the final 10 minutes in his long-awaited return from the ligament injury which has kept him out since mid-September, but neither player was able to affect the outcome as the tie finished level. The result, in truth, was a secondary concern this afternoon, and today will be remembered for the poignant and impeccably-observed tributes to our much-missed president Kay Bernstein.

Hertha BSC sporting director Benjamin Weber spoke to herthabsc.com at full time: "It's difficult to speak about sporting matters, because it's been a very, very emotional day - just like the entire week before. We tried to focus on the 90 minutes, but that was difficult for all of us. Kay was part of us and we wanted to play this game for him, and I saw that from the team as well. Under the circumstances we managed very well. We did well in the first half, and at the end of the day we didn't lose, came away with a point and remain unbeaten. Overall, it's good that this game and the start of the second half of the season have allowed us to get back to normality a bit. Life goes on, albeit differently."

Hertha BSC: Ernst – Zeefuik, Leistner (C) (Gechter 73‘), Kempf (M. Dárdai 59‘), Karbownik – Klemens, Bouchalakis ( Hussein 73‘) – Winkler (P. Dárdai 82‘), Prevljak (Barkok 59‘), Scherhant - Tabaković
Fortuna Düsseldorf: Kastenmeier – Oberdorf, Hoffmann (C), de Wijs, Iyoha – Engelhardt – Tanaka, Jóhannesson – Niemiec (Jastrzembski 81‘), Vermeij (Daferner 84’), Tzolis
Goals: 1-0 Tabaković (30’), 1-1 Jóhannesson (44’), 2-1 Scherhant (45+1’), 2-2 Tzolis (50’)
Referee: Robert Kampka
Yellow cards: Zeefuik, Kempf, Leisner, Klemens, Barkok – Engelhardt
Attendance: 42,902

by Hertha BSC