Berlin - Hertha Berlin moved up to fourth in the standings, claiming the UEFA Champions League qualifying berth in the process, with a 1-0 victory over Borussia Mönchengladbach at the capital's Olympiastadion in the late Saturday kick-off.
Ramos powers home for Hertha
The win, earned courtesy of a 37th-minute strike from Adrian Ramos, takes Jos Luhukay's newly promoted side onto 15 points, leapfrogging their vanquished guests, who slip down to sixth place. To compound the misery of yet another defeat on the road, Gladbach also had skipper Martin Stranzl sent off in added time for a second bookable offence.
Both sides sought to get forward from the off in a lively opening spell but it was just short of the quarter-hour mark before either keeper was seriously called into action, Gladbach playmaker Juan Arango warming Thomas Kraft's fingers with a rasping left-foot special. As the half unfolded, it was developing into more and more of a midfield slugfest with no shortage of legwork being put in, but precious little in the way of goalmouth action.
Eight minutes before the break, however, the home fans were on their feet as Hertha broke the deadlock. Unsurprisingly, given the run of the contest, the goal came from a set-piece, Per Skjelbred floating a free-kick into the box which Ramos rose to head decisively past Foals keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen - the Colombian frontman's fourth goal of the season. Gladbach seemed temporarily stunned by the setback, although Max Kruse did pull a fine reflex save out of Kraft just before half-time.
Stranzl off at the death
Gladbach started purposefully after the interval but it was Hertha who could and probably should have gone 2-0 up in the 57th minute, Levan Kobiashvili freeing up Sami Allagui on the breakaway only for the Tunisia international to be foiled one-on-one by ter Stegen. Nico Schulz, fresh off the bench, squandered another opportunity to put the hosts two to the good, totally miscuing from close range in the 68th minute.
At the other end of the pitch, the Foals were making little headway against a well-organised defence and a midfield once again proving itself very adept at keeping the ball circulating out of harm's way. A half-chance that came to naught for sub Branimir Hrgota in the dying minutes was destined to be as close as Borussia would get as their luckless run on the road continued - and Stranzl was the unluckiest of the lot, picking up back-to-back bookings right at the end for a couple of jousts with Sebastian Langkamp, to book an only fractionally early shower for himself.
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