Branimir Hrgota scored the fastest goal of the Bundesliga season so far and increased his personal penalty tally as Greuther Fürth picked up maximum points at the expense of Hertha Berlin.
With games running out and a battle to achieve Bundesliga safety intensifying with every passing week, basement side Fürth knew they had to burst out of the blocks in this Matchday 22 encounter. That said, few could have imagined Stefan Leitl's men would be ahead within a minute. Quickest to a loose ball in midfield, Paul Seguin arced a superb long pass into the path of Hrgota, who took a couple of touches before ramming a confident left-footed finish into the corner. With just 27 seconds on the clock, the striker had his sixth Bundesliga goal of the season, and the Clover Leaves a lifeline. On their first-ever Bundesliga visit to Sportpark Ronhof, Hertha looked to respond. Ishak Belfodil drew a smart stop from debutant 'keeper Andreas Linde, a duel the Swede would win again later in the half. Between those efforts, Jeremy Dudziak and Jamie Leweling went close to putting the visitors in further trouble.
Sitting perilously close to the drop zone themselves, Tayfun Korkut's capital side sought more urgency after the restart. A striker who has scored goals in Germany, England, Spain, France and Italy, the much-travelled Stevan Jovetic attempted to break Fürth's resistance here, but was denied by the impressive Linde and then the outside of the post as Hertha's frustration grew. Their afternoon would get even worse when, at the other end, Maximilian Mittelstädt handled Marco Meyerhöfer's cross inside the area and the referee pointed to the spot. Having previously converted all four of Fürth's spot-kicks this season, Hrgota confidently sent Alexander Schwolow the wrong way to extend that sequence to the delight of the home fans. Linus Gechter raised hopes of a visiting fightback with a header in the closing stages, but it wasn't to be for a Hertha side still winless in 2022. Greuther, meanwhile, continue to dream of a great escape.
- Fürth scored a goal in the opening minute for the first time in their Bundesliga history.
- Hrgota's opener after 27 seconds was the fastest goal in the division this season.
- The Swede has converted all six of the Bundesliga penalties he has taken, including five this season. He is the only Bundesliga player to have scored five penalties this term.
- Hertha have conceded first-minute goals on 16 occasions in the German top flight down through the years, the last before this game coming against Hoffenheim in 2018.
- Never before have the Clover Leaves gone five games in a row unbeaten at home in the Bundesliga (W3, D2). They’ve also only conceded twice during that run.
- The Berliners are yet to win a game in 2022 (D2, L4).
Watch: Hrgota: "We showed we really wanted to win"
Fürth: Linde - Meyerhöfer, Griesbeck, Viergever, Itter - Christiansen, Seguin, Tillman (Pululu 83'), Dudziak (Green 83') - Hrgota (c) (Bauer 89'), Leweling (Nielsen 60')
Unused subs: Burchert, Asta, Willems, Raschl, Abiama
Out: Funk (knee), Kehr (knee), Ngankam (knee)
Coach: Stefan Leitl
Hertha: Schwolow - Pekarik (Bjorkan 68'), Stark (c), Gechter, Mittelstädt - Serdar (Lee 81'), Tousart, Darida, Maolida (Richter 46') - Belfodil (Selke 68'), Jovetic
Unused subs: Lotka, Klünter, Plattenhardt, Ascacibar, Ekkelenkamp
Out: Boateng (ill), Boyata (ankle), Christensen (thigh), Dardai (ankle), Jarstein (knee), Kempf (not included)
Coach: Tayfun Korkut
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