Goalscorers Tabaković und Dudziak celebrate.
First team | May 11, 2024, 02:54 PM

Hertha secure victory in final home game of the season

Hertha made three changes to the side which suffered defeat in Elversberg last week. Linus Gechter and Jeremy Dudziak lined up in defence, while Bilal Hussein made his first start of the season alongside Deyvaisio Zeefuik in the centre of the park. Toni Leistner, Pascal Klemens and Andreas Bouchalakis dropped to the bench.

The lively atmosphere at the Olympiastadion was matched by the early pace of the game, as Kaiserslautern – in desperate need of points in their fight to remain in the division – pushed forward and carved out a couple of half-chances in the opening exchanges. Despite that early pressure, Hertha took the lead after a goalmouth scramble culminated in Jan Elvedi pulling Tabaković to the ground to hand the Old Lady a penalty. The striker made no mistake from the spot to net his 22nd league goal of the season and put his side 1-0 in front (19’).

Free-kick draws Kaiserslautern level

The game became something of a physical affair after the goal, with the visitors receiving three yellow cards, while Zeefuik picked up one of his own. Ben Zolinski, one of the FCK players to receive a booking, left the field through injury in the 33rd minute. Outside of the melees, Tabaković missed a gilt-edged chance to make it two after some clever interplay between Ibrahim Maza and Dudziak (35’). Shortly afterwards, Hertha were punished for their wastefulness in front of goal as Marlon Ritter fired home a free-kick from 20 yards with the aid of the crossbar. The sides were set to enter the break with the scores level, but a long throw from Fabian Reese in stoppage time found the energetic Dudziak, whose delicate lob with the final kick of the half beat the onrushing Krahl to give Hertha a 2-1 half-time lead.

Jeremy Dudziak makes it 2-1.

Reese scores wondergoal

Less than three minutes after the restart, Maza won the ball and sent Reese on his way down the left flank, but the captain’s uncharacteristically tame effort provided no real threat. Though the DFB-Pokal finalists did on occasion attempt to restore parity, with an Elvedi header on 53 minutes needing to be stopped by Ernst, Hertha were in control and always appeared the more likely of the two sides to score the next goal. Tabaković flashed a shot over the bar from an acute angle just before the hour mark, while Reese hit the post just a minute later. Reese’s next attempt would be a far more successful one – intercepting a forward pass from Elvedi, the winger cut inside, found space 25 yards out and unleashed a thunderbolt for his ninth of the season (67’).

The third goal deflated the visitors somewhat, while Hertha appeared content to see out their eighth league victory at the Olympiastadion this season. The Old Lady’s final fixture of the season will see them travel to already-relegated VfL Osnabrück next Sunday (19.05.24, 15:30 CEST).

Speaking after the game, today's skipper Fabian Reese said: "We owe the fans a lot, especially in the second half of the season. Every week we set out to be consistent in attack and focused in defence. This time we managed to do that with a very mature performance. This victory will be a real soul-soother for the fans - and for us as a team."

1. FC Kaiserslautern: Krahl - Soldo (Klement 63‘), Tomiak, Elvedi - J. Zimmer, Zolinski (Opoku 32‘), Raschl (Aremu 85‘), Puchacz - Ritter, Redondo (Abiama 85‘) - Ache

Hertha BSC: Ernst - Gechter, M. Dárdai, Kenny, Dudziak (Pekarik 84‘) - Hussein (Kempf 62‘), Zeefuik- Maza (Scherhant 79‘), P. Dárdai (Winkler 79‘), Reese (C) - Tabaković (Niederlechner 84‘)

Goals: 1-0 Tabaković (19‘), 1-1 Ritter (38’), 2-1 Dudziak (45+3’), 3-1 Reese (67’)

Referee: Daniel Schlager

Yellow cards: Zeefuik, Winkler - Elvedi, Zolinski, J.Zimmer 

Attendance: 67,144