Salomon Kalou scored a first-half brace on his return to the Hertha Berlin starting XI as the Old Lady swept aside Hannover.
Hertha Berlin 3-1 Hannover
Goals: 1-0 Kalou (18'), 2-0 Kalou (45'+1), 2-1 Bebou (65'), 3-1 Torunarigha (83')
Hertha started on the front foot, and their early running paid off when Kalou tapped in a Peter Pekarik cross in the 18th minute. The rainy and muddy conditions in Berlin made it difficult to play precision passing football, but Hertha adjusted their game accordingly and extended their lead when a free-kick from deep caused panic in the Hannover defence, allowing Kalou to turn in his second of the night.
Hannover gave the hosts a taste of their own medicine in the 65th minute when Martin Harnik headed a free-kick from Iver Fossum goalwards. Rune Jarstein could only parry, and Ihlas Bebou took full advantage to make it 2-1. Another set-piece at the other end proved the visitors' undoing, however, as Jonathan Torunarigha scrambled in from close range used to secure a 3-1 victory that leaves Hertha only one point behind Hannover in mid-table.
Man of the Match
Kalou made the most of his return to the side with an early brace. He is now on a two-match scoring streak and will look to make it three in a row against RB Leipzig this Sunday.
- Hertha defender Torunarigha scored his second Bundesliga goal; the first came last season against Darmstadt.Pal Dardai’s side have only won five games so far this term. In both his first two seasons at the club, the Hungarian guided Hertha to eight wins from their opening 15 games.Hannover have collected 22 points from their first 16 matches. Only one team has ever been relegated after registering as many points at this stage of a season (Eintracht Frankfurt in 2010/11).Hertha have lost their last two home games in the Bundesliga. They have never suffered three straight defeats at the Olympiastadion under Dardai and made sure it stayed that way.The last time the home team picked up all three points in this fixture was over eight years ago, when Hertha beat Hannover 1-0 on the opening day of the 2009/10 season.Kalou scored four of Hertha’s five goals against Hannover in 2015/16. The Ivorian bagged a hat-trick in a 3-1 win at the Olympiastadion before getting on the scoresheet in a 2-2 draw at the HDI Arena. He seems to fancy Hannover as a rival.
Hertha Berlin: Jarstein – Pekarik (c), Lustenberger, Rekik (Torunarigha 56'), Plattenhardt - Stark, Maier (Langkamp 86') - Weiser (Leckie 46'), Lazaro - Selke, Kalou
Unused subs: Kraft, Skjelbred, Esswein, Ibisevic
Absentees: Kraft (flu), Darida (knee), Stocker (knee)
Coach: Pal Dardai
Hannover: Tschauner (c) - Korb, Sane, Anton, Ostrzolek - Sorg (Fossum 47'), Bakalorz (Karaman 88') – Klaus (Sarenren 46'), Bebou – Füllkrug, Harnik
Unused subs: Esser, Albornoz, Hübner, Benschop
Absentees: Felipe (groin), Bech (knee), Prib (knee ligaments), Jonathas (thigh), Schwegler (suspended)
Coach: Andre Breitenreiter
Watch: Kalou: "I answer on the pitch!"