A late Joker goal by Niels Petersen (78th) saved SC Freiburg from sin. Before the sin of leaving the Olympic Stadium in Berlin with less than three points in your luggage. For a long time they danced around the Berliners like a musical troupe, according to well-choreographed movement patterns, but based more on the Tanztheater Wuppertal by Pina Bausch and less on the bloodthirsty Sharks from West Side Story. After the equalization by Krzysztof Piatek (70th), who equalized the lead by Philipp Lienhart (17th), the substitute Jurgen Ekkelenkamp almost scored the 2-1 for the Berliners. However, he only hit the crossbar.
Freiburg has not lost seven games in a row, making the best start to the season in the club’s Bundesliga history. Hertha has only had six points so far. That is enough to keep the personnel debates from boiling away. “It’s not like we have to panic now,” said Hertha’s manager Fredi Bobic.
The Berlin coach Pal Dardai was able to fall back on more personnel than last time. This meant, among other things, that the recently injured Dedryck Boyata, Kevin-Prince Boateng and above all Stevan Jovetic could play from the start. Jovetic, an aging but fascinatingly talented player, also had two auspicious scenes, in the 7th and 15th minute, which perhaps only didn’t result in goals because he lacks match practice.
But then “many positive approaches” that Bobic wanted to see afterwards turned out to be a soufflé that silently collapsed. After a corner of Freiburg that sailed to the first post more than flew, Philipp Lienhart jumped more resolutely than Davie Selke – and headed the ball into the goal to lead. “That was too easy”, it was said afterwards in unison from the camp of the Berliners, who have already conceded 20 goals – eight of them according to standards.
Hertha exudes almost no danger
What followed after that seemed like the return of the demons of the previous week, when Hertha went down 6-0 in Leipzig. Little by little, player after player disappeared from the map; Suat Serdar and Maxi Mittelstädt should complain after the game that they acted too defensively. If Marco Richter took a long-range shot, which passed the goal very close (27th), Hertha no longer exuded any danger. Serdar was one of the few players who visibly braced themselves against the impending defeat. The others? Seemed to be increasingly preoccupied with oneself.
The longer the game lasted, the more the pervasive uncertainty turned into a general state of affairs. Hertha failed in the essential things of the game. Judging by this, the performance of the Freiburg team seemed almost staid. They didn’t seem to smell that their opponent was bleeding. Not even when the displeasure swelled into a choir in the stands: “We want to see you fight …!” Shouted the stadium, which was filled with around 18,000 spectators.
Only after the break did another train come in at Hertha. Davie Selke, who had only been noticed because of a gash on his head, and the newly indisposed Marton Dardai (suspected hamstring) stayed in the cabin at half time; Krzysztof Piatek and Peter Pekarik came in for this. By the 64th minute, Dardai had already fulfilled his transfer contingent because Dennis Jastrzembski, Jurgen Ekkelenkamp and Maximilian Mittelstädt came for Richter (horse kiss), Boateng (not ready for 90 minutes) and Jovetic, who had not yet fully recovered after his calf injury. And see: Ten minutes followed in which Hertha pushed – and seemed to escape the abyss.
Nils Petersen hits an overhead kick for Freiburg
After a resolute effort by Serdar in midfield, Mittelstädt played a precise pass from the left flank to unguarded Piatek, who shot in from seven meters. But when Hertha had everything in hand to punish the leniency of the Freiburgers, they again let themselves be duped in a standard situation. Höfler extended a corner from Günter with his head; The ball jumped to Boyata’s six-pack in the six-yard area, and the rebound was hit by Nils Petersen, who had just been substituted, into the net with an overhead kick. The 30th Joker goal in Petersen’s career was synonymous with the final score. “We can’t get two standard goals at home. That’s not how we win a game,” said Serdar. Dardai was also annoyed: “I can’t play along and head the ball away,” said the coach after Hertha’s worst start to the season since the 2009/2010 relegation season.
According to the laws of the industry, such a yield inevitably draws attention to the trainer. Manager Bobic immediately took the edge off the debate. Dardai will remain coach even after the international break, which is now beginning, and prepare the team for the game against Eintracht Frankfurt. “Because the performance – I also told Pal – is okay overall,” explained Bobic, “even if the result is not right.” Freiburg coach Christian Streich, on the other hand, renounced any euphoria after a game that he rightly called “average”. “It’s going well now. I’ll prepare for it if it doesn’t go so well.”