Hertha Berlin end 2022 with morale-boosting Cologne triumph
Hertha Berlin moved out of the relegation play-off spot with a 2-0 victory over Cologne at the Olympiastadion.
Hertha 2-0 Cologne
Goals: 1-0 Kanga 9' (assist: Plattenhardt), 2-0 Richter (54')
A run of four defeats in their previous five outings saw Hertha drop perilously close to the bottom two but, despite the negative results, the 'Alte Dame' had shown enough to give Sandro Schwarz hope of an upturn in form. In front of their own supporters for the last time this year, the Berliners took the lead after just nine minutes, when Wilfried Kanga headed Marvin Plattenhardt's pinpoint cross into the corner. A solid Marvin Schwäbe save denied Dodi Lukebakio's driven effort before Cologne missed two gilt-edged chances. How Sargis Adamyan did not find the back of the net prior to the break is a mystery, the Armenian first firing over with an open goal at his mercy inside the six-yard box before failing to connect from a similar position in a crowded penalty area, although Oliver Christensen this time stood between him and the goal. Kanga and Ivan Sunjic then went close, before Linton Maina beat Christensen only for his strike to be ruled out for offside.
Before kick-off, Lukebakio had scored five goals in seven games since the start of October, so it was no surprise to see Hertha aim for the Belgian at every opportunity. That tactic ultimately led to the hosts doubling their advantage shortly after the interval, although Lukebakio was not the scorer. Instead, Marco Richter fired into the roof of the net after some neat dribbling from the side's star man down the left flank. Despite their endeavours, Cologne rarely threatened even to grab a consolation and ended 2022 with a seventh straight game without a win in all competitions.
- This was Luca Kilian's 50th appearance for Cologne, while Suat Serdar reached the same milestone for Hertha with his introduction from the substitutes' bench.
- Schwarz has won both managerial meetings with Steffen Baumgart in the Bundesliga.
- Richter's goal, which ended a run of eight league games without scoring, means he is Hertha's joint-second most prolific player in the Bundesliga this season with three goals.
- This was only Hertha's second clean sheet of the campaign, following their 1-0 victory versus Augsburg in September, and their first at home.
- Although he impressed, Lukebakio is now without a goal in seven career Bundesliga appearances against Cologne.
- The win was Hertha's first in their last six matches against the Billy Goats.
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Hertha: Christensen – Kenny, Rogel Paita, Kempf, Plattenhardt (c) (Mittelstädt 24') – Tousart, Sunjic – Richter (Boateng 84'), Boëtius (Serdar 84') – Kanga (Selke 84'), Lukébakio (Ejuke 68')
Unused subs: Ernst, Pekarik, Uremovic, Maolida,
Out: Dardai (shin), Jarstein (not considered), Jovetic (hip), Lee (ill), Ngankam (thigh), Nsona (cruciate ligament), Gechter (fitness)
Coach: Sandro Schwarz
Cologne: Schwäbe – Schmitz (Schindler 50'), Hübers, Kilian, Hector (c) – Shkiri, Martel (Tigges 70') – Maina, Duda (Huseinbasic 57'), Kainz – Adamyan (Thielmann 56')
Unused subs: Horn, Petersen, Soldo, Chabot, Olesen
Out: Andersson (knee), Dietz (knee), Lemperle (ankle), Limnios (knee), Ljubicic (knee), Uth (fitness)
Coach: Steffen Baumgart
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