Eintracht Frankfurt had substitute Michael Hector to thank as they rescued a point against Hertha Berlin after a thrilling encounter at the Commerzbank Arena.
After a quiet start, visitors Hertha were given the chance to take the lead when Haris Seferovic brought down fellow Swiss Valentin Stocker in the Frankfurt penalty area. Up stepped captain Vedad Ibisevic to convert the first penalty Hertha had been awarded since November 2015. The Eagles responded in style, though, turning the game on its head just before the interval. They broke from a Hertha corner in the 39th minute, with Marco Fabian out-muscling Marvin Plattenhardt before rifling in his second goal of the season. Six minutes later, Alexander Meier made the most of a scramble in the Hertha box to put Frankfurt ahead on the stroke of half-time.
Hertha struggled to contain the excellent Danny Blum in the first half, so Pal Dardai threw on Alexander Esswein in place of Peter Pekarik at the break. That proved to be an inspired substitution, as Esswein whipped in an inch-perfect cross for Ibisevic, who steered a superb volley past Lukas Hradecky to bring the visitors level with his second of the game. Esswein then went one better, latching onto a long ball from Ibisevic, cutting inside, and curling a beauty into the far corner to make it 3-2. There was to be a final twist in the tale, though, as Hector - who replaced the injured David Abraham early on - headed home in injury time to rescue a point for Frankfurt.
Man of the Match
He may only have played 45 minutes, but Esswein changed the game after replacing Pekarik at half-time. He whipped in a superb ball for Ibisevic's equaliser, before putting Hertha ahead just seven minutes later. Honorary mention has to go to the Bosnian, who grabbed two goals and an assist.
Both of these sides have made a strong start to the new Bundesliga campaign, although given the circumstances Hertha will be frustrated to be heading back to the capital with only a point. There was to be no victor, then, in the battle of former teammates - coaches Pal Dardai and Niko Kovac played together at Hertha between 2003 and 2006.
- Ibisevic's penalty was his first in a Hertha shirt and his 12th successful strike from the spot in 15 attempts in the Bundesliga.Ibisevic netted his 19th brace in the Bundesliga but his first since December 2015.Esswein scored his first goal for Hertha and his first in the Bundesliga since November 2015.
Frankfurt: Hradecky - Chandler, Abraham (Hector 31'), Vallejo, Oczipka - Mascarell, Huszti (Hrgota 70') - Seferovic (Rebic 60'), Fabian, Blum - Meier (c)
Coach: Niko Kovac
Hertha: Jarstein - Pekarik (Esswein 46'), Langkamp, Stark, Plattenhardt - Lustenberger, Skjelbred - Weiser, Stocker (Hegeler 86'), Haraguchi - Ibisevic (c) (Schieber 78')
Coach: Pal Dardai