With the scores level at the break after goals from Tony Jantschke and Julian Schieber, Gladbach’s Raffael outshone his brother Ronny by putting the hosts 2-1 up against his former club. The impressive Thorgan Hazard then netted his first league goal for Borussia to seal a much-needed win, despite substitute Salomon Kalou converting a late penalty for the away side.
In the continued absence of centre-back John Heitinga, Hertha boss Luhukay stuck with Jens Hegeler, a midfielder by trade, in defence, but the 26-year-old’s lack of experience in that position cost the Berliners in the opening moments. Caught the wrong side of Max Kruse, he hauled the forward down and was booked, with Jantschke nodding in the resulting free-kick.
Luhukay’s counterpart Favre, meanwhile, watched on in the knowledge that his team selection had paid dividends. He had gambled on leaving out Andre Hahn for Thorgan Hazard, and the Belgian made his starting berth count with an excellent first half display, the highlights being the assist for Jantschke’s header and an audacious nutmeg on Julian Schieber.
Sting in the first-half tail
Gladbach, even without injured skipper Martin Stranzl, looked solid and organised at the back and Yann Sommer was a spectator for much of the first half, but they paid a heavy price for their first mistake. Jantschke went from hero to villain as he played Schieber onside to allow the former Borussia Dortmund man to head in a teasing Änis Ben-Hatira cross.
Brazilian midfielder Ronny had been introduced to the action by this time, but it was his older brother Raffael that grabbed the game’s next goal in the early moments of the second half, tapping in Alvaro Dominguez’s cross to score his second goal against his former club, rewarding his side for their bright start to the second period.
Reward for Hazard
Raffael went off to rousing applause from the home fans on 65 minutes, with Ibrahima Traore coming on to replace him, but it was Kruse that could and perhaps should have put the game beyond doubt. He was freed by an excellent pass from Granit Xhaka but hesitated in the box and the chance was gone.
Hertha were encouraged by their opponents’ failure to kill of the game, but the home rearguard would not be beaten again and Sommer looked imperious between the sticks. The points were eventually settled when Hazard tapped home from a counter-attack, with Kalou’s late spot-kick a mere consolation for the visitors.
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