Hertha Berlin centre-back Karim Rekik scored his first Bundesliga goal in over two years as the Old Lady made it two wins in five days at the expense of Bayer Leverkusen, who have now lost two on the bounce.
Bayer Leverkusen 0-1 Hertha Berlin
Goals: 0-1 Rekik (64')
After their derby loss to Cologne over the weekend it was all Leverkusen in the opening stages, as Kevin Volland headed an attempt wide, Moussa Diaby forced a good save from Rune Jarstein, and Volland drilled another effort into the side netting. Nadiem Amiri had a go from distance, then snuck in behind the Hertha defence and tested Jarstein with a low effort. Jürgen Klinsmann's men could barely get out of their half for 20 minutes, but then had two chances in quick succession: Javairo Dilrosun flashed inches wide of the post after a lightning counter, and Davie Selke drew a first save from home keeper Lukas Hradecky. Leverkusen continued to dominate, with Diaby looking lively and Sven Bender blasting one over the bar, but Hertha managed to keep their hosts at bay, and even had the final chance of the half as Dilrosun fired high over Hradecky's goal.
There was little to report at the start of the second half, with Dilrosun seeing a low drive comfortably gathered by Hradecky, and Diaby putting in an inviting cross than none of his teammates could get on the end of. Rekik's moment came shortly after the hour. Having stayed high up the pitch after a corner, the Dutchman beat Hradecky at the second time of asking to give Klinsmann's side the lead, rather against the run of play. Leverkusen almost drew level within two minutes, but Jarstein produced a magnificent save to deny Volland from close range. Pascal Köpke – the son of Germany goalkeeping coach Andreas Köpke, who is helping Klinsmann out for a few months – then had a golden chance to make it 2-0 after coming off the bench, but Hradecky stayed upright to make a close-range save. Paulinho replaced Kai Havertz and had a goal correctly ruled out for offside as the home side failed to find a way past Jarstein. It's a second straight league defeat for Leverkusen, which leaves them outside the European places. Hertha are six points clear of the relegation play-off spot.
- Rekik scored his first Bundesliga goal since 5 November 2017, when he was on target in a 3-3 draw with Wolfsburg.
- Having gone seven league games without a win between late October and early December, Hertha have now won two on the bounce.
- The Old Lady have now scored at least once in their last 17 trips to the BayArena.
- Leverkusen had won five of their last six home games against Hertha before tonight.
- Hertha have now won two of their last eight away games in Leverkusen.
- Havertz has netted two of his four career Bundesliga braces in meetings with Hertha. The 20-year-old, who celebrated his 100th top-flight appearance last weekend, has now failed to score or assist in seven games.
Leverkusen: Hradecky - L. Bender (c) (Retsos 46'), Tah, S. Bender, Sinkgraven - Aranguiz - Diaby, Amiri, Havertz (Paulinho 72'), Volland - Alario
Unused subs: Özcan, Demirbay, Wendell, Stanilewicz, Azhil
Out: Bailey (suspended), Dragovic (suspended), Pohjanpalo (ankle), Weiser (ankle)
Coach: Peter Bosz
Hertha: Jarstein - Klünter, Boyata, Rekik, Plattenhardt (c) - Skjelbred, Grujic - Dilrosun, Darida (Maier 90'+1), Lukebakio (Wolf 65') - Selke (Köpke 72')
Unused subs: Smarsch, Stark, Kalou, Mittelstädt, Ibisevic, Torunarigha
Coach: Jürgen Klinsmann