Hertha Berlin picked up their third successive Bundesliga win for the first time in two years to end 2015 in third thanks to a 2-0 triumph over 1. FSV Mainz 05.
With possession touching 75 per cent at times, Hertha had clear control over proceedings from the first whistle, though this was not reflected on the scoreboard until ten minutes from the interval. Vladimir Darida picked up the ball 30 metres from goal and with only one thing on his mind, he drilled a low shot into the bottom left-hand corner of Loris Karius' goal.
It was Berlin's reward for their first real attempt on goal, having otherwise done little with their wealth of possession. It also convinced them to take more shots on goal, and their next effort also found the back of the net. It was Salomon Kalou who made space for a shot, dispatching it precisely into the bottom right-hand corner to double the hosts' lead. That advantage was never in any danger as Mainz went down without a fight, allowing Hertha to look down from third place over the winter break.
Man of the match
Kalou needs just an inch to do harm, and he showed that against Mainz. Almost absent at times, there is always a purpose behind his drifting away from the action – he is just planning the best way and the right moment to pop up to score. Devastating.
Hertha are in illustrious company at the top of the standings, but Pal Dardai’s side possesses the solid defensive foundations and unpredictability in attack that can take them into Europe next season.
- Hertha had 75 per cent of the possession in the opening 15 minutes.
- Darida has scored in three of Hertha's last four games – each time making it 1-0.
- Kalou's goal was his ninth of the season, yet only his second at the Olympiastadion.
- Vedad Ibisevic was the supplier of both of Hertha's goals, giving two assists in a game for the first time since August 2010.
- Hertha have yet to lose a game in which they have taken the lead this season, winning ten and drawing one.
Hertha: Jarstein - Weiser, Langkamp, Brooks, Plattenhardt - Lustenberger (c) (77' Hegeler) - Skjelbred – Darida (83' Baumjohann) - Haraguchi, Kalou (87' Stocker) – Ibisevic
Mainz: Karius - Brosinski, Bungert, Bell, Bengtsson - Baumgartlinger (c), Latza (65' Niederlechner) – Clemens (46' De Blasis), Malli, Samperio – Muto (65'Cordoba)