January signing Matheus Cunha played a vital role on his Hertha Berlin debut to earn the capital club all three points against bottom of the table Paderborn.
After the departure of interim head coach Jürgen Klinsmann in midweek, Alexander Nouri made several changes to the capital club's side and they started perfectly in Paderborn. Santiago Ascacibar crossed from the left flank and Dedryck Boyata headed the ball back across goal and beyond the reach of Leopold Zingerle for his second goal in as many games with 10 minutes played. January signings Cunha and Krzysztof Piatek started together for the first time in Hertha's attack and combined for a second Hertha goal, but the Poland international's hand helped him in the build-up to the goal and VAR ruled out Cunha's 18th-minute strike. The home side – bottom of the table coming into this game – struggled to create any true chances on goal until the final minutes of the first half. Jamilu Collins charged into the Hertha box and crossed to Kai Pröger at the back post in space, but his shot that followed was blocked while heading wide with what was the hosts' best chance of the opening period.
After struggling in the first half, things could not have started better for Paderborn in the second half. Just six minutes after the restart and Steffen Baumgart's second-half substitute Srbeny found the equaliser with the help of Hertha goalkeeper Rune Jarstein. The forward shot at goal from the by-line away to the left of the box and the ball looked to have been going past the far post had Jarstein not pushed it into his own net with his right hand. Piatek had a chance to score his first Bundesliga goal just before the hour mark but headed wide with a free header from inside the Paderborn box. Soon after, one of the new signings made a big impact to re-take the lead. Piatek had two shots saved by Zingerle before the ball fell to Cunha in the Paderborn penalty area, and the Brazilian tapped the ball at goal before it went in off Jamilu Collins to go down as an own-goal. Paderborn kept battling but couldn't find a second equaliser to grab a point, as Hertha extended their unbeaten run on the road to four games.
- Matheus Cunha top-scored in Brazil’s qualifying tournament for this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo with five goals in as many games before making his Hertha Berlin debut today.
- Dedryck Boyata scored his second goal in as many games for the capital club, and third of the season in total.
- Hertha extended their unbeaten run on the road to four games, the club’s longest run without defeat on the road within a single season since their five game effort in 2017.
- Paderborn have picked up 11 points in the last nine games, having collected just five from the first 13.
- Piatek has had a club-high 10 shots on goal since signing for Hertha. He scored his maiden goal for the club in the DFB Cup against Schalke, but is yet to find the back of the net in the league.
- This was Alexander Nouri’s first game in charge at Hertha after the departure of Jürgen Klinsmann earlier this week.
Watch: Cunha reflects on his Hertha debut
Paderborn: Zingerle – Jans (Dräger 75'), Strohdiek (c), Schonlau, Collins – Gjasula (Michel 86'), Vasiliadis, Zolinski (Srbeny 46') - Pröger, Mamba, Antwi-Adjei
Unused subs: Huth, Hünemeier, Fridjonsson, Ritter, Evans, Jastrzembski
Out: Holtmann (suspended), Killian (hamstring)
Coach: Steffen Baumgart
Hertha: Jarstein – Stark (c) (Torunarigha 70'), Boyata, Rekik - Ascacibar - Pekarik, Skjelbred (Darida 46'), Maier, Mittelstädt - Piatek, Cunha (Ibisevic 83')
Unused subs: Kraft, Klünter, Plattenhardt, Grujic, Köpke, Lukebakio
Out: Wolf (suspended)
Coach: Alexander Nouri