Hertha Berlin captain Vedad Ibisevic scored a brace as his side won a barnstorming encounter with Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday afternoon to preserve their unbeaten start to 2018/19.
Hertha Berlin 4-2 Borussia Mönchengladbach
Goals: 0-1 Hazard (pen. 29'), 1-1 Ibisevic (31'), 2-1 Lazaro (34'), 3-1 Ibisevic (63'), 3-2 Plea (67'), 4-2 Duda (73')
The two sides traded early blows at the Olympiastadion, with Thorgan Hazard pulling an effort just wide of the post before Ondrej Duda somehow missed the target from point-blank range after a brilliant Javairo Dilrosun cross. Salomon Kalou also fluffed his lines from inside the six-yard box, and a dominant Hertha were made to pay when Niklas Stark brought down Fabian Johnson in the area, and Hazard confidently slammed home the resulting penalty against his favourite Bundesliga victims. The hosts needed barely 90 seconds to get back on level terms, as Marvin Plattenhardt curled in a perfect delivery for Ibisevic to head home, and the turnaround was complete three minutes later, as Valentino Lazaro instigated and finished off a lovely sweeping move. Gladbach had to weather a storm as Hertha produced some scintillating attacking football in the run-up to half-time, but Yann Sommer denied Marko Grujic to keep the score at 2-1 heading into the break.
Clearly unimpressed with his side's first-half showing, Gladbach boss Dieter Hecking made two changes at the interval, with Patrick Herrmann and Florian Neuhaus replacing Tony Jantschke and Johnson. The visitors had a couple of half-chances through Alassane Plea and Neuhaus, but Hertha made it 3-1 just after the hour mark following a well-worked counter. Lazaro picked out Kalou with a long ball up the right flank, and he stayed on his feet brilliantly before sending an inch-perfect ball across for Ibisevic to sweep home. Plea pulled one back for the Foals with a fine header from Herrmann's delivery – his second Bundesliga goal since arriving from Nice this summer – but Duda restored Hertha's two-goal advantage a few minutes later after more good work from Dilrosun. Kalou and Plea had further chances to score in a thoroughly entertaining encounter but it finished 4-2, with Hertha even going temporarily top of the table before Bayern Munich's late game at Schalke.
- With 10 points from a possible 12 after four games, Hertha have made their best ever start to a Bundesliga season.Ibisevic's last five Bundesliga goals have come on home soil, including his effort in the Matchday 1 win over Nuremberg. He scored his last brace in a 2-0 win over Cologne in November 2017.Lazaro scored his first goal of the Bundesliga season and his third overall. It was his first header and his first at the Olympiastadion, after he netted in Leverkusen and Hamburg last term.Hazard has more goals against Hertha than any other Bundesliga club, and improved his record to seven in nine meetings with his first-half penalty.Rune Jarstein celebrated his 100th Bundesliga appearance for Hertha against Gladbach. The Norwegian goalkeeper joined the Old Lady from Viking FK in January 2014.Hertha have now conceded a penalty in four successive games, a new Bundesliga record.
Hertha: Jarstein – Lazaro, Stark, Lustenberger, Plattenhardt – Grujic (Skjelbred 72'), Maier – Kalou, Duda (Luckassen 87'), Dilrosun – Ibisevic (c) (Selke 76')
Unused subs: Kraft, Mittelstädt, Jastrzembski, Dardai
Absentees: Pekarik (knee), Rekik (adductor), Darida (knee), Friede (ankle), Torunarigha (Achilles)
Coach: Pal Dardai
Gladbach: Sommer (c) – Elvedi (Cuisance 77'), Ginter, Jantschke (Herrmann 46'), Wendt – Strobl – Hofmann, Zakaria – Johnson (Neuhaus 46'), Plea, Hazard
Unused subs: Sippel, Beyer, Kramer, Traore
Absentees: Bennetts (thigh), Drmic (back), Lang (knee), Stindl (ankle), Villalba (muscular)
Coach: Dieter Hecking