Joakim Nilsson boosts Arminia Bielefeld survival bid with late leveller against Hertha Berlin


Arminia Bielefeld boosted their hopes of avoiding relegation after an injury-time equaliser from Joakim Nilsson earned them an unlikely point against fellow strugglers Hertha Berlin.

Arminia Bielefeld 1-1 Hertha Berlin
Goals: 0-1 Tousart 53' (assist: Plattenhardt), 1-1 Nilsson 90+1' (assist: Hack)

Bielefeld started the day second bottom in the table, two points behind VfB Stuttgart and a full six adrift of Hertha with only three games to play. The visitors, having won their previous two matches, looked slightly the better side in a first half that played out almost 50-50 in terms of possession. All three of Hertha's attempts on goal were on target, with a Davie Selke downward header from Marvin Plattenhardt's left-wing cross on 23 minutes brilliantly flicked away by the foot of Bielefeld keeper Stefan Ortega. Selke - who got the opener in Hertha's 2-0 win over Stuttgart last time out - came close again a minute later. This time Ortega didn't have to be quite as sharp, though, as he got down to his left to keep out the Hertha forward's tight-angle effort.

Bielefeld would have been worried that they weren't able to create anything of note in the first half, but that soon changed in the second. Two minutes after the restart Gonzalo Castro flashed a dangerous ball across goal, and four minutes later the veteran midfielder had a great chance to put his side in front. After being cleverly slipped in by Patrick Wimmer, though, Castro smashed his finish narrowly over the crossbar. Hertha responded by forcing a succession of set-pieces that caused Bielefeld problems, with the last of them proving critical. Hertha midfielder Lucas Tousart had the freedom of the six-yard box to head home Plattenhardt's corner. Bielefeld laboured thereafter and rarely looked like hitting back, with Santiago Ascacibar going close for Hertha before substitutes Luca Wollschläger and Maximilian Mittelstädt wasted a golden opportunity to wrap things up. The visitors were made to pay in the first minute of injury-time as Bielefeld centre-back Nilsson stretched to head home Robin Hack's ball into the area. Niklas Stark had one last shot on target for Hertha deep in stoppage time, but the visitors had to make do with a point that does at least edge them closer to safety.

Match stats

  • Nilsson got his first goal in the Bundesliga at the end of his 54th appearance in the top flight.
  • Bielefeld draw a game for the 12th time this season. No team has more.
  • The home side have now gone nine games without a win (two draws, seven defeats).
  • Hertha were denied a third win in succession, but they have now taken 10 points in six matches since Felix Magath was appointed as head coach until the end of the season.
  • Two of Tousart's three Bundesliga goals have been from headers. All three have come from set-pieces.
  • The visitors have still not gone three Bundesliga games without conceding since April 2003 under Huub Stevens.

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Bielefeld: Ortega - Ramos, Pieper, Nilsson, Laursen (Bello 72')- Kunze, Prietl (c) (Krüger 66') - Wimmer, Castro (Hack 83'), Ince (Serra 66') - Okugawa
Unused subs: Kapino, Schöpf, de Medina, Andrade, Vasiliadis
Out: Brunner (concussion), Klos (fractured skull), Lasme (knee)
Coach: Marco Kostmann

Hertha: Lotka - Pekarik, Boyata (c), Kempf, Plattenhardt (Bjorkan 71')- Tousart, Ascacibar - Richter (Gechter 78'), Boateng (Stark 71'), Serdar (Mittelstädt 85') - Selke (Wollschläger 78')
Unused subs: Christensen, Ekkelenkamp, Belfodil, Dardai
Out: Darida (suspended), Jarstein (knee), Jovetic (muscular), Klünter (shoulder), Lee (ankle), Maolida (knee), Schwolow (thigh)
Coach: Felix Magath

Watch: Gonzalo Castro on the relegation battle