Alexander Meier (2nd l.) scored the only goal of the game as Eintracht Frankfurt beat Hertha Berlin
Alexander Meier (2nd l.) scored the only goal of the game as Eintracht Frankfurt beat Hertha Berlin

Frankfurt edge out Hertha for first home win

Frankfurt - Eintracht Frankfurt got the New Year off to a perfect start as they collected their first home win of the season courtesy of a 1-0 victory over Hertha Berlin on Saturday evening.

Cancelled out

The Eagles’ successfully exacted their revenge for the 6-1 thumping they suffered on Matchday 1 as goals from Alexander Meier moved them out of the drop zone, handing head coach Armin Veh his first ever win against the capital city side.

A slow and steady start to proceedings from either side produced little in terms of goalmouth action, with neither outfit willing to take unnecessary risks upon their return to competitive action. Frankfurt were the more active side, but it was the visitors who carved out the first sight of goal with Sami Allagui scampering onto Per Skjelbred’s through ball only to fire wide of the target with Kevin Trapp closing down the angle.

Berlin looked to be throwing caution to the wind as the Tunisian forward was involved again moments later, cutting inside Marco Russ and Constant Djakpa on the edge of the box before dragging his effort off target. Frankfurt responded by dropping deeper in an attempt to tighten up their backline, negating Hertha’s preference to threaten in transition and instead forcing them to play the patience game in a bid to find a break through.

Deadlock broken

With chances at a premium during the opening half hour, it took a defensive mix-up to bring about the opening goal as Frankfurt struck against the run of play. Sebastian Langkamp and Fabian Lustenberger failed to deal with a long ball forward and Meier gladly accepted the invitation to gallop forward before placing the ball beyond Thomas Kraft to hand the hosts a narrow lead going in at the break.

Hertha managed to overturn a 1-0 deficit in their final two games in the first half of the season and seemed intent to follow suit as the second half got underway, but failed to make the most of an early three-on-three situation with Allagui playing the ball behind Per Skjelbred. As a result the game fell back into the monotonous rhythm witnessed in the first half with both sides primarily adopting a risk-averse approach to proceedings.

No late drama

Frankfurt weren’t without their chances though, but often failed to produce the final ball with Takashi Inui twice falling foul of that in promising counter-attacking situations with Meier in support. Both teams seemed short of ideas in their attacking movements, adding to the level of frustration on either side, while a string of second-half substitutions did little in terms of enhancing the flow of the game.

Bereft of urgency up front, Hertha had to resort to set-piece situations in an attempt to carve out their chances with Allagui heading wide of the target from Ronny’s free-kick quarter of an hour from time. Wary of the fact that they had already conceded seven goals in the final 15 minutes of matches this season, Frankfurt were determined to thwart Berlin at every opportunity and managed to do so, despite a late effort from Adrian Ramos, as they defended their narrow lead to collect a first home win of the campaign.

Line-ups and statistics

James Thorogood