Hertha Berlin summer signing Jurgen Ekkelenkamp had a dream Bundesliga debut in the Matchday 5 opener on Friday, coming off the bench to inspire a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Greuther Fürth.
Fürth were without a win this season at kick-off but nevertheless made a confident start in the German capital, with Jetro Willems firing off the first shot of the game inside two minutes. They battled well in midfield, albeit without seriously threatening Hertha in the final third again, and it was the hosts who should have taken the lead on 17 minutes when Suat Serdar, who scored a brace in the victory over Bochum last week, skipped past a couple of challenges before firing wide from 16 yards. That was the clearest opening of the first 45 minutes, although Myziane Maolida also had a glimpse of goal at the back post from Deyovaisio Zeefuik's teasing right-wing cross shortly before the interval.
As in the first half, Willems had the first effort after the break when the Hertha defence backed off him as he approached the area, but the Dutchman snatched at his shot with his weaker right foot and it sailed harmlessly over. Fürth did manage to take the lead though - doing so for the first time this season - when Branimir Hrgota converted from the penalty spot after Zeefuik had brought down Jeremy Dudziak. Hertha coach Pal Dardai responded by bringing on summer signing Ekkelenkamp for his league debut and the move paid off instantly when the midfielder headed in the equaliser from Marton Dardai's corner seconds after entering the pitch. Hertha sensed blood and pushed for a winner, with substitute Marco Richter volleying over before providing an inch-perfect cross into the middle looking for Ekkelenkamp, whose pressure forced Fürth defender Maximilian Bauer into conceding an own goal that sealed Hertha's second win of the season.
- This was the first Bundesliga meeting between Hertha and Fürth, becoming the 933rd different fixture between teams in the German top flight.
- Ekkelenkamp scored with his first shot on his debut, just a minute after coming off the bench.
- The Dutchman's goal was Hertha's first from a corner kick in their last 44 games. Their previous such effort was on 27 May 2020 when Marko Grujic scored in a 2-2 draw in Leipzig.
- Fürth went into the break without having conceded for the first time this season.
- Linus Gechter became Hertha's second-youngest Bundesliga player last weekend (17 years and 196 days).
- Fürth goalkeeper Sascha Burchert was born in Berlin, and was with Hertha for almost 14 years until 2016.
Watch: Ekkelenkamp: "It was very emotional"
Hertha: Schwolow - Stark, Boyata (c) (Gechter 27'), M. Dardai - Zeefuik, Tousart, Boateng (Ekkelenkamp 60'), Plattenhardt (Jastrzembski 46') - Maolida (Richter 68'), Serdar - Belfodil (Selke 59')
Unused subs: Christensen, Pekarik, Darida, Ascacibar
Out: Jarstein (match fitness), Jovetic (calf), Klünter (shoulder), Piatek (ankle)
Coach: Pal Dardai
Fürth: Burchert - Meyerhöfer, Bauer, Viergever, Willems (Barry 64') - Nielsen, Seguin (Fein 88'), Griesbeck, Dudziak (Leweling 82') - Itten (Abiama 64'), Hrgota (c)
Unused subs: Funk, Christiansen, Sarpei, Tillman, Green
Out: Jung (knee), Kehr (groin), Ngankam (knee)
Coach: Stefan Leitl
Watch: Hrgota: "We have to be stay positive"
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