Matteo Guendouzi was among the goals as Hertha Berlin extended rock-bottom Schalke's winless run to 30 Bundesliga matches, courtesy of a comfortable 3-0 triumph at the Olympic Stadium.
Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Fährmann was made to work by Marvin Plattenhardt's early long-range strike, before Mark Uth returned fire for the visitors. American Matthew Hoppe got in on the act with an improvised acrobatic attempt, which Alexander Schwolow swatted away in somewhat unorthodox fashion. The Hertha stopper proceeded to instigate an incisive counter-attack, which concluded with a spread-eagle Fährmann thwarting Dodi Lukebakio at close quarters. Schwolow followed suit moments later, diving full stretch to keep out Uth in a promising one-on-one. It proved a decisive moment in the first half, as Hertha forged ahead with their next meaningful attack. After Matheus Cunha's shot was charged down in the penalty area, Arsenal loanee Guendouzi guided the follow-up into the far corner of Fährmann's goal for 1-0.
Fährmann had been equal to a carbon-copy attempt from Guendouzi shortly before half-time, but was powerless to prevent Hertha doubling their advantage early in the second period. Cunha was involved again, driving up the middle and finding Vladimir Darida to his right. The Czech midfielder calmly fed the ball back into the area for the returning Jhon Cordoba, who showed no signs of any ring rust with an emphatic finish. Cordoba almost forced a third in the 66th minute, but his close-range effort was diverted agonisingly wide by Schalke defender Matija Nastasic. And so it was left to substitute Krzysztof Piatek to round off a chastening first shift at the office for new Schalke head coach Christian Gross, the Pole dispatching Vladimir Darida's clever pass before having another effort chalked off for offside. The result takes Hertha into mid-table, but leaves the luckless Royal Blues 90 minutes from equalling Tasmania Berlin's ignominious record of 31 Bundesliga matches without a win.
- Tasmania Berlin hold the record for most games without victory in the Bundesliga, but Schalke’s barren spell is the longest at 351 days.
- Schalke's 26 matches without a clean sheet is an ignominious club record.
- Guendouzi scored his second Bundesliga goal, but first on home soil.
- Cordoba made his first appearance since Matchday 7, following injury. He scored his fourth Bundesliga goal of the campaign.
- Six of Piatek's eight Bundesliga goals have come as a substitute, including all four of his strikes in 2020/21.
- Hertha left-back Luca Netz, 17, made his Bundesliga debut.
Watch: Hoppe: “Christian Gross is trying to get us to fight more”
Hertha: Schwolow - Pekarik (Zeefuik 82'), Stark (c), Alderete, Plattenhardt (Netz 86') - Tousart, Guendouzi - Lukebakio (Mittelstädt 86'), Darida, Cunha (Ngankam 82') - Cordoba (Piatek 77')
Unused subs: Jarstein, Torunarigha, Dardai, Redan
Out: Ascacibar (muscular), Boyata (foot), Leckie (abdominal), Löwen (thigh)
Coach: Bruno Labbadia
Schalke: Fährmann - Stambouli, Kabak, Nastasic, Oczipka - Mascarell (c) (Becker 58'), Serdar - Schöpf, Harit (Skrzybski 58') (Bozgodan 68'), Uth - Hoppe (Kutucu 80')
Unused subs: Rönnow, Mendyl, Thiaw, Mercan
Out: Bentaleb (not included), Boujellab (knock), Ludewig (foot), Paciencia (knee), Sane (knock)
Coach: Christian Gross
Watch: Gross on why he accepted the "big challenge" of taking over at Schalke