Dortmund - Borussia Dortmund lost yet more ground at the top of the Bundesliga table after a 2-1 defeat to Hertha Berlin on Matchday 17.
End to end
The day began promisingly for die Schwarz-Gelben, with Marco Reus opening the scoring early on, but Hertha hit back, taking advantage of two Dortmund errors to go in 2-1 at the break, a lead they never relinquished. The Berliners finish the year with three straight away wins, while Borussia were left to reflect on three straight Bundesliga home defeats for the first time since March 2000.
After a relatively quiet opening in a packed out Signal Iduna park, the game exploded into life in the seventh minute, when Reus took advantage of some hesitant defending from visitors’ debutant keeper Marius Gersbeck and roll home from an angle. Berlin had also been 2-1 winners on their last league visit to Dortmund in 2011/12, however, and they responded with admirably attacking intent.
Jos Luhukay’s men were indebted to Gersbeck for a smart save to deny the onrushing Robert Lewandowski, however, before they were almost level a few seconds later, with Adrian Ramos being denied after a sprawling save from Roman Weidenfeller. The Colombian continued to pose a threat, though, and he fired his side level shortly afterwards, finishing smartly from Sami Allagui’s excellent low cross to put him level with Lewandowski on 11 league goals for the season.
Allagui on hand
The sloppiness off the goal seemed to rock the hosts and while their performance level dropped towards the break, when Hertha grew in strength. Allagui was having a stormer on the right wing, and he got his reward on the stroke of half time, capitalising on a defensive error from Marian Sarr to put the capital club 2-1 up.
The second half began with nothing like the pace of the first, but that only increased the hosts’ frustration, conceding sloppy fouls and struggling to break the capital club down. No time was given to Nuri Sahin to conduct the BVB rhythm, and Jakub Blaszczykowski was withdrawn after only 55 minutes after a very quiet afternoon for the Poland captain.
Frustration for BVB
His replacement Jonas Hofmann, on the other hand, made an almost instant impact, collecting Reus’ pass and forcing a brilliant save from the 18-year-old Gersbeck, the closest that Borussia had come to an equaliser. Henrikh Mkhitaryan had hardly been seen in the game, and he had the next opportunity, but his shot was weak and wayward.
Still the home side pressed, with Julian Schieber entering the fray to give them some extra presence up front. Luhukay’s team never looked like relinquishing their lead, though, and ended up as rather comfortable winners against what had been a below-par BVB. Jürgen Klopp’s team could see the distance to leaders FC Bayern München stretch to 15 points by the time the season restarts in the New Year.
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