Berlin - In a stunning start to Matchday 7, Hertha Berlin and VfB Stuttgart celebrated German reunification day with a five goal thriller that ended 3-2 in the hosts' favour.
Early lead clawed back
Ivorian international Salomon Kalou stole the show with a goal in each half, with a Roy Beerens' strike ultimately winning it for the home side after Moritz Leitner had given the visitors a fifth-minute lead. A late own goal from Sandro Wagner proved to be nothing more than a consolation for VfB, who remain in the table's nether regions after a fourth defeat of the season.
With the game still in its infancy, Stuttgart were ahead as Florian Klein found plenty of time and space on the right flank to pick out a low cross and Leitner was on hand to apply a simple finish. Despite the early set-back, though, Hertha were the better side for much of the first period and levelled not long afterwards.
After Salomon Kalou had a shot parried by the Stuttgart keeper, Valentin Stocker, starting a league game for the first time since arriving in the summer, was clumsily tackled by Carlos Gruezo and the referee signalled for a penalty. Kalou stepped up and calmly dispatched the spot-kick to make it 1-1 for his second of the season.
Lightning strikes twice
The capital club looked the more dangerous of the two sides after the equaliser, with Kalou continuing to catch the eye and going close with a header. They might even have been in front on the stroke of half-time as Beerens met Änis Ben-Hatira's cross, but stand-in VfB stopper Thorsten Kirschbaum saved and Antonio Rüdiger was on hand to clear the rebound to safety.
Having required a handful of good saves from Kirschbaum to go in level at the break, VfB began the second half on the front foot, forcing a series of corners, with a Timo Werner header requiring a smart stop from Thomas Kraft. Despite that pressure, however, the visitors then found themselves trailing just after the hour-mark. Rüdiger was robbed in possession on the halfway line and the ball found its way to Kalou, who skipped through two tackles before finishing calmly.
Beerens' goal decisive
Jos Luhukay's side now had their tails up and ten minutes later they put the result beyond doubt. Ben-Hatira ghosted past his man on the left with a tricky step-over and delivered a dangerous cross into the box, which Beerens met with a neat side-foot effort to make it 3-1.
Armin Veh's charges continued to probe for a way back into the game and Vedad Ibisevic missed a glorious chance on 77 minutes, before Wagner diverted a Leitner free-kick into his own net to ensure a nervy end for the hosts. There proved to be no final twist in this intriguing encounter, with Hertha taking the points on a day of national celebration.
Line-ups and statistics