Josh Sargent gets back to scoring ways but Werder Bremen fail to hold on against Hertha Berlin
Josh Sargent scored his first Bundesliga goal since October but Werder Bremen missed the chance to boost their survival hopes at Hertha Berlin, with the Old Lady coming from two goals down to claim a share of the spoils.
Hertha Berlin 2-2 Werder Bremen
Goals: 0-1 Sargent (3'), 0-2 Klaassen (6'), 1-2 Stark (41'), 2-2 Cunha (60')
No Bremen player had managed to find the back of the net in the Bundesliga this year, but Sargent finally ended the drought with just over two minutes on the clock, collecting Leonardo Bittencourt's neat backheel and slamming a left-footed drive past Thomas Kraft. The visitors' blistering start continued as Milot Rashica brought down Milos Veljkovic's lovely crossfield ball and picked out Davy Klaassen's perfectly timed run in behind Niklas Stark – the Dutchman heading home from close range as he also netted for the first time since October. It took Hertha around 20 minutes to show any real signs of life, with Matheus Cunha testing Bremen keeper Stefanos Kapino from distance. The Brazilian had an even better attempt on 35 minutes, but Kapino, deputising for the injured Jiri Pavlenka, was equal to it once again. The hosts kept pushing and their persistence paid off shortly before half-time, as captain Stark rose above counterpart Niklas Moisander to head in a Marvin Plattenhardt free-kick.
There was a fairly scrappy start to the second period, with play swinging from end to end but neither side mustering a proper shot on goal. And when an effort did finally arrive, it led to the Hertha equaliser – Kapino could only parry Maximilian Mittelstädt's fierce attempt into the path of Cunha, and the 20-year-old's follow-up was deflected in off Veljkovic for 2-2. The Serbia defender nearly restored Bremen's lead shortly thereafter, but headed off target, while Kapino showed smart reflexes to prevent his centre-back Moisander scoring an own goal. Sargent could have doubled up midway through the half, but the USMNT star also failed to hit the target after Ludwig Augustinsson whipped in a teasing ball from the left. Hertha thought they had a penalty late on for a Moisander handball in the area, but referee Guido Winkmann overturned his original decision to award a spot-kick after checking the VAR monitor. Ultimately neither side could conjure up a winner, but Hertha will be far happier with a result that pushes them seven points clear of the relegation play-off place and leaves Bremen seven from outright safety.
- Sargent became the first Bremen player to score in the Bundesliga since 14 December 2019, when Rashica opened the scoring in a 6-1 defeat to Bayern Munich. He was last on target in October's reverse fixture.
- The American thus ended a scoring drought of over 13 hours for Kohfeldt's players, with their two previous strikes in 2020 coming courtesy of own goals from Fortuna Düsseldorf's Florian Kastenmeier and Augsburg's Tin Jedvaj.
- Klaassen last netted in the Matchday 9 draw at Bayer Leverkusen, with Sargent providing the assist. The Dutchman's four goals and three assists this term have all come away from home.
- Five of Stark's six Bundesliga goals have been headers. The 24-year-old has netted at least once in each of his five top-flight seasons with Hertha.
- After failing to score in his first 12 Bundesliga outings this season (10 for RB Leipzig, two for Hertha), Cunha has now found the back of the net in successive games.
- Bremen scored two goals in the first six minutes of a Bundesliga game for just the third time in their history, and for the first time away from home.
Watch: Kohfeldt: "Every point counts"
Hertha: Kraft - Klünter, Stark (c), Torunarigha, Plattenhardt - Wolf (Leckie 89'), Ascacibar, Darida, Mittelstädt - Piatek (Ibisevic 78'), Cunha
Unused subs: Jarstein, Rekik, Köpke, Grujic, Dilrosun, Maier, Lukebakio
Out: Boyata (thigh), Pekarik (back), Skjelbred (ill)
Coach: Alexander Nouri
Bremen: Kapino - Veljkovic, Vogt, Moisander (c) - Gebre Selassie, M. Eggestein, Klaassen, Augustinsson - Bittencourt (Friedl 65'), Sargent (Pizarro 87'), Rashica (Osako 82')
Unused subs: Plogmann, Langkamp, Sahin, J. Eggestein, Woltemade, Bargfrede
Out: Bartels (groin), Füllkrug (torn ACL), Möhwald (knee), Pavlenka (groin), Selke (loan agreement), Toprak (calf)
Coach: Florian Kohfeldt
Marc Lenz and Steffen Merkel new CEOs of DFL
Dr Marc Lenz and Dr Steffen Merkel will be appointed as joint-CEOs of DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga GmbH from 1 July 2023.
Why the Bundesliga is best for youngsters
Want to go from wannabe to world-beater? Then Germany's the place to be...
How Bellingham became one of the world's best midfielders at Dortmund
The 19-year-old is set to leave BVB for Real Madrid after a career-shaping spell in the Bundesliga.