Hertha Berlin moved back up to fourth in the standings following a narrow 1-0 win at home to bottom-of-the-table TSG 1899 Hoffenheim on Matchday 13.
Goal: 1-0 Polanski o.g (30')
Snowy conditions were not exactly conducive to a free-flowing attacking spectacle, but that did not prevent Hertha from causing Hoffenheim ad hoc problems from out wide. Leading Hertha scorer Salomon Kalou completely missed his kick when presented with his first chance of the afternoon, before Eugen Polanski glanced Marvin Plattenhardt’s inswinging free kick past his own goalkeeper to give the home side the lead. Although Hoffenheim goalkeeper Oliver Baumann got a hand to it, goal-line technology confirmed the ball had crossed the line.
The Hertha ground staff did a fantastic job of clearing the pitch during the interval, but goal-scoring chances remained at a premium. The cat-and-mouse nature of the game certainly favoured Hertha, who looked happy enough absorbing the pressure and awaiting their chance to pick Hoffenheim off on the counter. When Hoffenheim did break through the Old Lady’s otherwise watertight back four, Kevin Volland blazed comfortably over and substitute Eduardo Vargas headed wide.
Man of the match
Hertha captain Fabian Lustenberger once again led by example at the Olympiastadion. The 27-year-old offered a reassuring presence in front of the back four and ensured Hoffenheim’s forward line had very little to feed on.
As if being bottom of the table on the back of their worst ever start to a Bundesliga season was not enough to contend with, Hoffenheim’s lack of bite in front of goal must be beginning to worry Stevens. Die Kraichgauer have found the net just 12 times in 13 matches this term, with only promoted FC Ingolstadt 04 scoring fewer (seven).
- Hoffenheim conceded for the first time under Huub Stevens.
- TSG have now gone four games without scoring: an unwanted club record.
- Hertha’s opener was Polanski’s first own goal of his career.
- Hoffenheim took the lead by way of a John Anthony Brooks own goal in last season’s corresponding fixture.
Hertha: Jarstein - Regäsel, Langkamp, Brook, Plattenhardt - Lustenberger (c.) (Hegeler 77’) - Skjelbred - Darida - Haraguchi, Cigerci (van den Bergh 74’) - Kalou (Baumjohann 90')
Hoffenheim: Baumann - Strobl, Süle, Bicakcic, Kim - Rudy (Kuranyi 83’), Polanski (c.) - Volland, Amiri, Schmid (Zuber 63’) - Uth (Vargas 63’)