King Kalou enthroned in Berlin

Berlin - Celebrations marking 24 years of German unity were transformed into something of a king's coronation on Friday night after Salomon Kalou scored twice to help Hertha Berlin to a valiant 3-2 win over south-west corsairs VfB Stuttgart.

'Hope I will continue to score'

The Ivorian's brace capped a soul-stirring display in front of his capital city subjects for whom the goals of departed striker Adrian Ramos must now feel like a distant memory.

"It was very important to win," Kalou told bundesliga.com after Matchday 7's thrilling opening fixture at the Olympic Stadium. "We only had five points, so it was important to get another three before the international break. I'm happy to score because when your team works hard and the defence kills themselves at the back to give you the ball, they expect you to score. I hope I will continue to score for my team."

The Hertha faithful are unlikely to be disappointed on that front. At Dutch outfit Feyenoord, the 29-year-old was on target 35 times in 69 appearances. In his six years largely as an impact substitute in the Premier League with Chelsea FC, he grabbed another 36 in all competitions, before sinking a further 30 during a two-year spell at Ligue 1 side OSC Lille. In just five league outings at Hertha, the newfound fan favourite already has three goals to his name.

'Part of the Berlin family'

"As a striker you have to show your team that you want the ball and that you want to score to help your team," Kalou explained, before going on to discuss life in the historic German capital. "I've felt at home ever since I got here. People have helped me, the club have helped me. People are happy that I'm here and have made it easier for me to adapt. I'm very happy to be part of the Berlin family."

It goes without saying the feeling is mutual. The Old Lady have won just twice this season, but on both occasions - on Matchday 5 against VfL Wolfsburg and Friday evening at home to Stuttgart - Kalou was on the scoresheet. What's more, the 70-time Ivory Coast international's three-strike tally is the product of just eight attempts on goal compared to a certain ex-Hertha forward's two from 11 over in Dortmund. Life after Ramos isn't so shabby after all.

Christopher Mayer-Lodge