bundesliga

Matheus Cunha helps Hertha Berlin breathe again with much-needed win over Bayer Leverkusen

Matheus Cunha starred as Hertha Berlin moved out of the bottom three - a point above the relegation play-off spot - with a comprehensive win at home to a profligate Bayer Leverkusen.

Hertha Berlin 3-0 Bayer Leverkusen
Goals: 1-0 Zeefuik (4'), 2-0 Cunha (26'), 3-0 Cordoba (33')

Hertha set the tone inside four minutes when Deyovaisio Zeefuik curled home after Lennart Grill could only parry Maximilian Mittelstädt's cross out to Dodi Lukebakio. Patrik Schick failed to test Rune Jarstein with quick-fire efforts from two very presentable crosses, before Kerem Demirbay curled a long-range effort over the crossbar. Cunha showed the visitors how it was done with an emphatic finish on the counter, helped along the way by strike partner Jhon Cordoba. A third goal wasn't long in coming thanks in no small part to some incisive attacking play between Cunha and Zeeifuik. The chance looked like it had gone as Leverkusen scrambled to clear, but Cordoba had other ideas. The Colombian turned Jonathan Tah inside-out on his way to planting a precision finish past the helpless Grill.

Lukebakio was denied a slice of the goal-scoring pie early in the second period. The Belgian applied the finishing touch to Cunha's smart pass, only for his effort to be ruled out in consultation with the VAR for a handball against Cordoba in the build-up. Jarstein pulled off a huge save to deny Schick at close quarters as Leverkusen threatened a way back. Grill followed suit with an equally impressive stop in a one-on-one with Cunha to keep the visitors' slender hopes of getting something from the game alive. Schick spurned another opening with 20 minutes of normal time remaining, the Czech striker unable to get his toe to a deflected back-post cross. After Cunha dragged wide from 18 yards, Schick summed up a forgettable day for player and club alike with one final miscued attempt from inside the Hertha box. Grill prevented further misery with a late stop from substitute Krzysztof Piatek.

Match stats

  • Hertha scored three first-half goals for the first time since December 2014 in Frankfurt.
  • The Old Lady ended a run of nine games without a clean sheet.
  • Zeefuik scored his first Bundesliga goal on his 16th appearance. His effort was Hertha's earliest strike of the season.
  • Cunha ended a run of 13 matches without a goal. He's Hertha's seven-goal top scorer this term.
  • Cordoba netted his sixth of the campaign. He's only scored more once before - 13 goals for Cologne last season.
  • Leverkusen have failed to score a first-half goal in their previous five Bundesliga outings.

Watch: Zeefuik: "My father told me I have to shoot more"

Line-ups

Hertha: Jarstein - Klünter, Stark (c), M. Dardai (Torunarigha 82') - Zeefuik, Guendouzi, Tousart, Mittelstädt (Netz 82') - Cunha (Piatek 82') - Lukebakio (Radonjic 72'), Cordoba (Ascacibar 63')
Unused subs: Schwolow, Pekarik, Alderete, Plattenhardt
Out: Boyata (foot), Darida (suspended), Khedira (calf), Löwen (knock)
Coach: Pal Dardai

Leverkusen: Grill - Frimpong (Bellarabi 72'), Tah, Tapsoba, Wendell - Wirtz, Aranguiz (c), Demirbay (Amiri 46') - Bailey, Schick, Gray (Alario 46')
Unused subs: Lomb, S. Bender, Dragovic, Jedvaj, Weiser, Palacios
Out: Arias (ankle), Baumgartlinger (knee), L. Bender (knee), Diaby (unavailable), Fosu-Mensah (knee), Hradecky (heel), Paulinho (fitness), Sinkgraven (thigh)
Coach: Peter Bosz