Hertha Berlin moved further clear of the relegation zone with an impressive display against Hoffenheim in their first game since the coronavirus pandemic interrupted the season.
Following an even opening, Hertha striker Vedad Ibisevic twice went close against his former team. The visiting captain was first crowded out inside the area before hooking over midway through the half. Matheus Cunha then fired wide from outside the box as Hertha looked to be getting a grip on things in Bruno Labbadia’s first game in charge. Mid-table Hoffenheim soon hit back, though, with Hertha defender Jordan Torunarigha reacting well to deflect Ihlas Bebou’s effort over the top. Austrian youngster Christoph Baumgartner then missed a glorious chance to put the home side in front before the half-hour, scuffing his close-range effort after being picked out at the back post by Pavel Kaderabek. Cunha could have given Hertha the lead shortly before the break after more good work from Ibisevic, but Hoffenheim goalkeeper Oliver Baumann made a point-blank save.
Hoffenheim sent on Maximilian Beier for Bebou at the interval, and the 17-year-old was soon played in by Sebastian Rudy – but fired wide with the outside of his foot. The dangerous Ibisevic was denied by Baumann at the other end before Hertha got a stroke of luck to forge in front. Peter Pekarik’s drive from outside the area was turned in by unfortunate Hoffenheim defender Kevin Akpoguma. The visitors struck again almost immediately, Ibisevic getting the goal his performance merited with a fine header from Maximilian Mittelstädt’s enticing left-wing cross. Mittelstädt was thwarted by Baumann before Florian Grillitsch threatened for the home side, but Cunha then netted a brilliant individual goal to complete the scoring. Hertha keeper Rune Jarstein later kept Baumgartner at bay, while substitute Arne Maier almost added further gloss to the scoreline when he hit the post.
- Hoffenheim have now gone six Bundesliga games without a win.
- Alfred Schreuder's team have lost eight of their 14 home league matches this season.
- The Sinsheim club have conceded 34 goals at home in 2019/20.
- Winter signing Cunha has scored in his last three matches for Hertha.
- The Old Lady are unbeaten their last six Bundesliga away games. The club record is eight.
- Ibisevic, who scored 43 goals in 92 Bundesliga matches for Hoffenheim between 2007 and 2012, netted his fourth goal of the current campaign.
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Hoffenheim: Baumann - Posch, Akpoguma, Hübner (c) - Kaderabek, Rudy (Geiger 66'), Grillitsch, Zuber (Bruun Larsen 66'), Skov - Bebou (Beier 46'), Baumgartner (Elmkies 90')
Unused subs: Pentke, Bicakcic, Lucas Ribeiro, Bogarde, Ekene
Out: Adamyan (ankle), Belfodil (knee), Dabbur (personal reasons), Esser (not included), Kramaric (ankle)
Coach: Alfred Schreuder
Hertha: Jarstein - Pekarik, Boyata, Torunarigha, Plattenhardt - Skjelbred (Ascacibar 87'), Grujic, Mittelstädt (Dilrosun 90') - Cunha (Maier 78'), Ibisevic (c) (Piatek 79'), Lukebakio (Ngankam 79')
Unused subs: Kraft, Stark, Klünter, Samardzic
Out: Darida (suspended), Kalou (not included), Rekik (knee), Wolf (ankle)
Coach: Bruno Labbadia