Berlin - SC Freiburg leapfrogged Hertha Berlin in the standings thanks to a smash-and-grab 2-0 win in the capital on Sunday afternoon.
Klaus strikes first
The visitors were efficient if nothing else, with Felix Klaus and Maximilian Philipp converting two of the south-west club's three shots on goal to give Christian Streich's men some much-needed breathing space towards the foot of the table.
Africa Cup of Nations winner Salomon Kalou was back in the Hertha line-up for the first time since Matchday 11's 2-0 home defeat to Hannover 96. The Ivorian partnered Julian Schieber in attack who, without a goal in nearly two months, fired an early effort down the throat of Freiburg goalkeeper Roman Bürki.
Kalou was working hard to impress interim head coach Pal Dardai, dispossessing Oliver Sorg and sending Valentin Stocker in on goal, only for the Swiss midfielder's touch to evade him. Hertha's back four switched off in kind after 14 minutes, however, with Klaus sneaking one in off the post to give Freiburg the lead after a dogged piece of play from Karim Guede.
History against Hertha
Klaus' only other goal of the season came in the 2-2 draw at home to the Bundesliga's capital club on Matchday 4, and just as he did all those months ago, the Freiburg midfielder was working his socks off at the Olympiastadion, putting in a timely sliding challenge to turn a promising ball from Stocker behind for an ultimately fruitless corner with half-an-hour gone.
Not since September 2013 had Hertha managed to overturn a half-time deficit and win, but they went close to at least getting themselves back on level terms within seconds of the restart. Schieber raced in behind the Freiburg back four and crossed for Kalou, who was mere inches from turning the ball into the net from close range.
Philipp makes it two
Another defensive lapse proved costly, though, as former Berlin youth player Philipp dove unchallenged to direct Jonathan Schmid's corner into the net for his first ever Bundesliga goal. Hertha's response was immediate, but Stocker and USA international John Anthony Brooks were unable to get the better of Bürki.
A combination of debutant Florian Kath and Bürki once again denied Stocker late on, although it was Freiburg who ended on the front foot with Schmid firing straight at newly installed Hertha captain Thomas Kraft in injury time.
Line-ups and statistics