Krzysztof Piatek made his Bundesliga debut as Jürgen Klinsmann’s new-look Hertha Berlin side drew 0-0 with Schalke in the Matchday 20 opener on Friday.
Having lost 5-0 to Bayern Munich last week, Schalke were understandably rather more cautious this time out, focusing on defensive solidity and gradually working their way into the game. They eventually wrestled the upper hand from their deep-lying hosts, winning more challenges and pushing further into Hertha's territory, albeit without seriously testing home goalkeeper Rune Jarstein. Indeed, defences were on top for the majority of the first 45 minutes, with Weston McKennie's deflected shot that whistled just over the bar on the stroke of half-time as close as anyone came to breaking the deadlock.
It was a similar story after the interval, although both teams visibly showed more purpose going forward. Benito Raman had the first glimpse of goal when he intercepted a Dedryck Boyata backpass, but he could only find the gloves of Jarstein from a tight angle. At the other end of the pitch, marquee winter signing Piatek had Hertha's best chance when he rose to meet a corner after coming off the bench midway through the half, but his header flashed over the crossbar. Schalke attacker Michael Gregoritsch then grazed the outside of the post with a powerful header as the match came to life in the closing stages, but ultimately neither side could find a breakthrough, each taking a merited point.
- Piatek became the 28th player to feature for Hertha in the Bundesliga this season - a greater number any other top-flight club.
- Alexander Nübel returned for Schalke for the first time since being sent off against Eintracht Frankfurt on Matchday 15.
- Hertha took 11 points from 12 games under Ante Covic. They've now amassed 12 in eight outings since Klinsmann took charge.
- Klinsmann faced Schalke twice as Bayern coach in 2008/09, losing 1-0 in Munich but winning 2-1 away.
- Lukebakio is Hertha's five-goal top scorer so far this term. The Belgian also has a team-leading four assists.
- Schalke already have more points after 20 matches (34) than they collected during 2018/19 in its entirety.
Watch: Piatek: "I'm very happy"
Hertha: Jarstein – Klünter, Boyata, Torunarigha, Mittelstädt – Skjelbred (c), Ascacibar – Wolf (Piatek 63'), Grujic (Maier 63'), Dilrosun – Lukebakio
Unused subs: Kraft, Pekarik, Stark, Esswein, Köpke, Ibisevic, Plattenhardt
Out: Darida (cold)
Coach: Jürgen Klinsmann
Schalke: Nübel – Caligiuri, Kabak, Nastasic, Oczipka – McKennie (Todibo 90'), Mascarell (c), Serdar (Schöpf 77') – Harit – Gregoritsch, Raman (Matondo 90+2')
Unused subs: Langer, Miranda, Burgstaller, Becker, Mercan
Out: Boujellab (back), Kenny (illness), Sane (knee), Schubert (knee), Stambouli (fractured metatarsal)
Coach: David Wagner