Hertha Berlin continued their impressive start to life under Bruno Labbadia with a hard-fought victory over mid-table Augsburg, thanks to goals from Javairo Dilrosun and Krzysztof Piatek.
Hertha were missing in-form attacker Matheus Cunha but, unbeaten in three matches since Labbadia became head coach, they started in confident fashion. The home side bossed possession and looked sharper in the tackle, but they had to wait until midway through the opening half for their first chance of note. The recalled Dilrosun made sure to take it. The Dutch attacker beautifully clipped the ball away from Augsburg defender Felix Uduokhai and calmly slotted home from close range after Peter Pekarik’s shot had led to a scramble in the area. Hertha continued to dominate thereafter, with Vedad Ibisevic scuffing a chance from eight yards out and Dodi Lukebakio heading over. Full-backs Pekarik and Maximilian Mittelstädt were highly effective, and Ibisevic had a smart flick brilliantly pushed away from the top corner by visiting keeper Andreas Luthe before seeing a header saved as well.
Without the influential Philipp Max, Augsburg needed a spark from somewhere. It was no surprise, then, that their leading goalscorer Florian Niederlechner was introduced at half-time along with fellow attacker Marco Richter. Noah Sarenren Bazee almost got the visitors an equaliser right after the interval, but after seeing Rune Jarstein spill his low cross, he was unable to beat the Hertha keeper on the rebound. The second half developed into a much more even contest, and Niederlechner went close with a header on the hour. Augsburg rarely threatened until the final five minutes, however, when substitute Georg Teigl saw an effort deflected wide and Richter was denied an equaliser when Jarstein tipped his drive onto the bar. Hertha countered in injury-time, though, and substitute Piatek kept his cool to seal the win and move his side ninth in the table.
- Hertha have now taken 10 points from a possible 12 in Labbadia’s four games in charge so far.
- Dilrosun got his fourth goal of the season and his first since October. The 21-year-old Netherlands international netted with what was the game’s first shot from inside the penalty area.
- Labbadia has won eight of his 12 meetings with Augsburg as a coach, including last season's 8-1 rout whilst at the helm of Wolfsburg. That was the biggest victory of his professional career, and Augsburg’s heaviest Bundesliga defeat.
- Augsburg have now lost of five of their last six away games without scoring a goal.
- With 11 goals and six assists, Niederlechner has had a direct hand in 43 per cent of Augsburg's 40 league strikes this season.
- Hertha were unbeaten in nine meetings with the visitors prior to their 4-0 loss in the reverse fixture. There have now been 21 goals across the two clubs’ last five clashes.
Watch: Piatek: “We work hard”
Hertha: Jarstein - Pekarik, Boyata, Torunarigha, Mittelstädt - Skjelbred (Maier 59'), Grujic - Lukebakio (Piatek 64'), Darida, Dilrosun (Klünter 90') - Ibisevic (c) (Leckie 64')
Unused subs: Smarsch, Dardai, Netz, Ngankam, Samardzic
Out: Ascacibar (foot), Cunha (concussion), Kalou (not included), Kraft (knock), Plattenhardt (concussion), Rekik (knee), Stark (groin), Wolf (match fitness)
Coach: Bruno Labbadia
Augsburg: Luthe - Lichtsteiner (Framberger 74'), Suchy, Uduokhai, Iago - Khedira (c) (Baier 62'), Gruezo - Sarenren Bazee (Teigl 81'), Löwen (Richter 46'), Vargas - Cordova (Niederlechner 46')
Unused subs: Koubek, Stanic, Jedvaj, Oxford
Out: Finnbogason (knee), Giefer (foot), Gouweleeuw (suspended), Hahn (tendon), Max (knock), Schieber (calf)
Coach: Heiko Herrlich
Watch: Dilrosun: “It was a nice goal”