Hanover - Ronny's stunning free kick rescued a point for Hertha Berlin in a 1-1 draw against Hannover 96 on Friday evening.
Schulz on target
Hannover took the lead courtesy of Christian Schulz's first goal on home soil in three years, only for Hertha's Brazilian substitute to cap a rousing second-half display and ensure a deserved share of the spoils late on.
The Reds certainly started with the sort of confidence expected of a side unbeaten in their last four league outings at the HDI Arena. Just four minutes had passed when captain Lars Stindl squeezed a delightful ball into the channel for Szabolcs Huszti, whose inviting cross was cut out by Johannes van den Bergh before a Hannover shirt could pounce.
Stindl was involved again for Hannover 22 minutes in, with his deflected strike the end product of a lightning-quick counter. Berlin laboured over clearing their lines from the ensuing corner and when Hajime Hosogai’s tame header fell to Schulz, the 30-year-old former Germany international lashed into the roof of the net with aplomb.
Off the post
Uncertain defending almost cost Hertha a second, but after expertly bringing Huszti’s slide-rule pass under wraps, Arthur Sobiech poked straight at Hertha goalkeeper Thomas Kraft. The visitors did manage to get forward before the half was up, only for Hosogai to rifle wide of Ron-Robert Zieler's left-hand post from range.
Far too passive by their standards for much of the first half, Hertha duly stepped things up after the restart, with Adrian Ramos' bulldozing run very nearly producing the equalising goal. The Colombian unselfishly squared for Änis Ben-Hatira, who directed his effort against the foot of the post.
Hertha's next foray was no less inviting, but the unmarked Ramos could only curl wide with the goal at his mercy. Head coach Jos Luhukay responded to his side's profligacy, throwing on Sandro Wagner and Ronny for Ramos and Sami Allagui and within seconds his side were deservedly level as the Hertha No.12 smashed home an unstoppable free kick with his first touch.
After offering virtually nothing as an attacking unit for much of the half, Hannover almost stole a late victory, with only a jaw-dropping save from Hertha's Kraft keeping out Sobiech's bullet header and denying Mirko Slomka's charges what would have been a record-breaking fifth-straight home win of the campaign.
Line-ups and statistics
Ronny has the knack of scoring stunners. Check out this one on the Bundesliga's official YouTube channel: