Sami Khedira made his 100th Bundesliga appearance against first club VfB Stuttgart as new employers Hertha Berlin rescued a 1-1 draw, Luca Netz cancelling out Sasa Kalajdzic's opener.
Stuttgart welcomed Hertha to the Mercedez-Benz Arena without the two players - Gonzalo Catsro and Marc-Oliver Kempf - who had fired them to a 2-0 victory in October's reverse fixture. The Swabians nonetheless clicked into gear early, with Wataru Endo forcing a save from Rune Jarstein in the visiting goal. Kalajdzic, playing in place of another injured Stuttgart protagonist, Nicolas Gonzalez, then scuffed a good chance wide of the far post on the half-hour, before Erik Thommy flashed a free-kick straight into Berlin's wall. Philipp Förster thought he should have had a penalty towards the end of the half after a challenge from Omar Alderete, but referee Harm Osmers' whistle stayed in his pocket. After sending another effort wide, Kalajdzic beat Jarstein with a header from a Borna Sosa free-kick, though, and Stuttgart carried a deserved 1-0 lead into the break.
The early second-half traffic flowed in the same direction as the first, and Sosa could have afforded a shot on goal himself instead of squaring a pass which was then cleared by Atakan Karazor. Pal Dardai sent winter arrivals Sami Khedira and Nemanja Radonjic on for the final half hour - the former making his 100th Bundesliga appearance against his first club - and their introduction gave their side a boost, Matheus Cunha drawing a free-kick soon after which ultimately came to nothing. Hertha had a good spell of possession late in the second period, and they got a well-earned equaliser when 17-year-old Netz benefitted from his own mis-control and tapped the ball home into an empty net.
- Kalazdjic pulled up to nine goals for the season. The league's tallest player has scored every 100 minutes he has played this term.
- Stuttgart have won just one of 10 home games in the league this season, drawing six and losing three.
- VfB kept one of their two clean sheets so far this term in the reverse fixture. Die Schwaben have not been involved in a goalless draw since Matchday 30 of the 2019/20 Bundesliga 2 campaign.
- Khedira played for Stuttgart for 15 years (1995-2010), scoring 14 goals in 98 Bundesliga outings for the club and helping them win the title in 2007.
- Hertha have recorded just one win in their last 11 Bundesliga games, and are winless in their last seven on the road.
- The Old Lady's six-goal leading marksman Cunha is now without a goal in 11 Bundesliga matches.
Watch: Kalajdzic: "I didn't take advantage of my chances"
Stuttgart: Kobel - Mavropanos, Anton, Karazor - Silas (Coulibaly 68'), Mangala, Endo (c), Sosa - Förster (Cisse 86'), Thommy (Didavi 68') - Kalajdzic (Klimowicz 86')
Unused subs: Bredlow, Stenzel, Klement, Ahamada, Kaminski
Out: Al Ghaddioui (match fitness), Castro (hamstring), Churlinov (broken nose), Egloff (ankle), Gonzalez (hamstring), Kempf (ill), Mola (hip)
Coach: Pellegrino Matarazzo
Hertha: Jarstein - Pekarik (Leckie 79'), Stark (c), Alderete, Mittelstädt (Netz 79') - Tousart, Ascacibar (Khedira 58') - Lukebakio, Guendouzi, Cunha - Piatek (Radonjic 58')
Unused subs: Schwolow, Darida, Klünter, Löwen, Palk. Dardai
Out: Boyata (foot), Cordoba (muscular), Dilrosun (knee), Plattenhardt (groin), Torunarigha (hip)
Coach: Pal Dardai