Hertha Berlin recorded their first league win of 2016 with a narrow 1-0 triumph away to 1. FC Köln in the Matchday 23 opener on Friday night.
Goals: 0-1 Ibisevic (43')
Despite having failed to win in over two months coming into this game, Hertha began as if they were the home team and seized the initiative from the off. Köln appeared content to sit back and break on the counter, with Filip Mladenovic going closest for the Billy Goats with a close-range shot after Leonardo Bittencourt played him in. Yet Hertha’s pressure paid off just before half-time when Salomon Kalou’s pass found Vedad Ibisevic, who slotted a first-time shot past Timo Horn.
Köln were more adventurous after the re-start and coach Peter Stöger brought on attack-minded players Milos Jojic and Philipp Hosiner in an attempt to reinvigorate their efforts in the final third. An equaliser seemed to be in the cards and Köln very nearly levelled when Anthony Modeste hit the post in the closing stages, but ultimately they could find no way through.
Man of the match
In what was a tight encounter throughout, Ibisevic proved the difference between the sides with his clinical finish for the winner.
Having struggled to click into gear so far this year, this victory could provide the spark Hertha needed to maintain their surprising push for a top-four finish. They are guaranteed a place in the top three for at least another week.
- Per Skjelbred had his first shot at goal this season for Hertha in this match. His last attempt in the Bundesliga was on Matchday 31 last season!
- Hertha have not lost this term after taking the lead (11 wins, two draws).
- Köln had 13 shots on goal to Hertha’s ten.
Köln: Horn – Maroh, Mavraj, Heintz – Risse, Lehmann (c), Hector (Jojic 69’), Mladenovic (Hosiner 59’) – Gerhardt, Modeste, Bittencourt (Hartel 79’)
Hertha: Jarstein – Pekarik, Stark, Brooks, Plattenhardt – Weiser, Skjelbred, Lustenberger (c) (Hegeler 68’), Haraguchi (Stocker 90+1’) – Ibisevic, Kalou (Baumjohann 79’)