Sandro Schwarz made two changes from the game against Leipzig. The team remained in a 5-3-2 formation, with Marco Richter replacing Jonjoe Kenny at right wing-back and Stevan Jovetić starting upfront for the first time since the end of October. Wilfried Kanga, who scored the winner in the reverse fixture, dropped to the bench. For the hosts, Marcin Kamiński started for the first time since the first day of the season, replacing Maya Yoshida at centre-back, while Simon Terodde came in upfront.
Fast start for Schalke – Jovetić pulls one back
Hertha got off to almost as bad a start as possible in Gelsenkirchen. S04 won the ball in midfield and it was worked forwardto Tim Skarke, who fired a shot home from the edge of the box with assistance from the underside of the crossbar (3’). It was an early setback that Hertha, playing in red, sought an immediate reply to. Efforts from Jovetić and Uremović from a corner were both blocked (9‘). Four minutes later, and Thomas Reis‘ men had doubled their lead. A cross from Tim Skarke was headed home by Marius Bülter (13’). A start to the game to forget from a Hertha perspective.
Just after the 20 minute mark, Dodi Lukébakio got away down the left and crossed for his strike partner in the middle, however Jovetić’s flick at the near post was blocked (21’). Not a minute later and Jovetić had another shot, this time hitting the post with a backpost header (22‘). Moments later, Oliver Christensen was called into action to save a Bülter shot from distance (23’). Schwarz reacted to the run of play with an early sub, bringing on Suat Serdar for Tolga Ciğerci (26’). Schalke also made a substitution in the first half, with Alexander Schwolow replacing the injured Ralf Fährmann (36’). There was then a lull in the game until the fourth minute of additional time, when Jovetić cut onto his right foot on the edge of the box and fired the ball into the far corner (45+3’).
The second half began remarkably similarly to the first. Simon Terodde tapped home a ball squared across the box from Kenan Karaman to make it 3-1 (48’). Schwolow saved a Lucas Tousart shot from distance to maintain this two goal lead (51’). Jessic Ngankam replaced Márton Dárdai to try to help Hertha mount a comeback (55‘). Schwolow made another save from Tousart, this time from a header that he didn’t connect with properly (59’). Schwarz made another attacking changing moments later, bringing on Kanga for Prince Boateng, who was also on a booking (62’).
Too vulnerable and too much space in behind
At the other end, the scoreline got even worse. Bülter anticipated that the ball would fall in behind, and clipped the ball over Christensen to make it 4-1 (78’). Shortly afterwards, Richter brought the deficit back down to two following a well-executed counterattack involving Lukébakio and Ngankam (84’). Richter collided unluckily with Henning Matriciani in the process of scoring and suffered a cut to just above his eye. However, this did not prevent Hertha’s number 23 from tracking back and clearing off the line just moments later (87’). The score was 5-2 not long after though, with Kaminski scoring a direct freekick (90+2‘). A bitter defeat for the ‘Old Lady’ on an important evening.
FC Schalke 04: Fährmann – Brunner (Uronen), Kaminski, Jenz, Matriciani – Kral, Latza (C) – Skarke (46′ Karaman), Drexler (65′ Krauß), Bülter – Terodde
Hertha BSC: Christensen – Uremović, Kempf, Dárdai (55′ Ngankam) – Richter, Ciğerci (26′ Serdar), Tousart, Prince (62′ Kanga), Plattenhardt (C) – Lukébakio, Jovetić
Goals: 1-0 Skarke (3′), 2-0 Bülter (13′), 2-1 Jovetić (45+3′), 3-1 Terodde (48′), 4-1 Bülter (78′), 4-2 Richter (84′), 5-2 Kaminski (90+2′)
Referee: Dr. Felix Brych
Yellow cards: Krauß, Jenz – Prince, Ngankam