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Hertha pick up crucial 2-1 win against VfB Stuttgart

Marc-Oliver Kempf celebrates his goal with the team.
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Pál Dárdai set his team up in a 4-2-3-1 formation and made four changes from the team that started against Bayern Munich. Marc Kempf returned after suspension, while Márton Dárdai, Marco Richter and Stevan Jovetić also came into the side. While Hertha’s number 20 took up his normal position at centre-back, Dárdai lined up alongside Lucas Tousart in defensive midfield. Jovetić played as a ten, with Richter to his left and Dodi Lukébakio on the right; Florian Niederlechner played upfront. Prince Boateng, who also missed out last weekend, was on the bench alongside Agustín Rogel, Maximilian Mittelstädt, Jean-Paul Boëtius, Tjark Ernst, Suat Serdar, Ibrahim Maza and Chidera Ejuke. For Sebastian Hoeneß’s side, Atakan Karazor was suspended due to a tenth yellow card, while Konstantinos Mavropanos missed out through injury. Former Hertha player Genki Haraguchi started for Stuttgart.

Hertha, buoyed on by a vocal Ostkurve, started the game brightly. The first chance went to the guests, however, with Serhou Guirassy’s effort parried away by Oliver Christensen (7’). At the other end, Richter could have turned home a cross floated to the back post by Jovetić (8’). Tousart (12‘) and Lukébakio (15‘) both had shots from the edge of the box, but both efforts went narrowly wide. Nevertheless, it was a solid opening period for the Blue-Whites.

Kempf and Niederlechner find the back of the net

Dárdai’s team stayed in the contest. After a nice run down the right from Lukébakio, the Belgium international picked his head up and pulled the ball back perfectly for Tousart in the middle, but the Frenchman didn’t connect properly with his shot (28’). This was irrelevant moments later, with Kempf powerfully heading a Richter cross in off the post to give Hertha a 1-0 lead (29’)! It was a deserved lead but unfortunately one that didn’t last long. Josha Vagnoman had too much time and space at the backpost and headed the ball past Christensen to Guirassy, who could hardly miss and made it 1-1 (38’). But, there was more to come just before half time. Lukébakio took a freekick quickly in first half additional time, with Niederlechner sliding in and just knocking the ball past a surprised Fabian Bredlow to give the ‘Old Lady’ a lead seconds before the break (45+2’).

Hertha were inches away from extending their lead after half time, but Lukébakio’s curling effort drifted just wide of the left-hand post (51’). In the period that followed, Stuttgart had more of the ball, but Hertha didn’t allow them to progress into dangerous areas. They also posed a threat at the other end, with Niederlechner forcing Bredlow into a save with his foot, although the flag then went up for offside (59’). Dárdai made a double change six minutes later, bringing on Mittelstädt and Jessic Ngankam in place of Lukébakio and Niederlechner to try to secure the three points (64’).

The team didn’t let up, and continued to fight for every inch in a crucial and nervy game. Kempf, Dárdai and Richter were all substituted off having put in real shifts, with Rogel, Serdar and Ejuke taking their place (76’). Christensen parried a shot from Vagnoman over the bar in the 82nd minute. Endo’s attempt moments later went wide (83’). This remained the last notable chance of matchday 31, with Hertha having fought their way to an important win!

This result gives the Blue-Whites new hope in the fight to avoid relegation, and has reduced the gap to the relegation play-off place to three points. On Friday (12.05.23, 20:30 CEST), the team have the next opportunity to pick up points away against 1. FC Köln.

Hertha BSC: Christensen – Kenny, Uremović, Kempf (76′ Serdar), Plattenhardt (C) – M. Dárdai (76′ Rogel), Tousart – Lukébakio (64′ Mittelstädt), Jovetić, Richter (76′ Ejuke) – Niederlechner (64′ Ngankam)

VfB Stuttgart: Bredlow – Anton (71′ Perea), Zagadou, Ito – Vagnoman, Endo (C), Haraguchi (56′ Führich), Sosa – Millot, Guirassy, Tiago Tomas (46′ Silas)

Goals: 1-0 Kempf (29′), 1-1 Guirassy (38′), 2-1 Niederlechner (45+2′)

Referee: Deniz Aytekin

Yellow cards: Uremović, Niederlechner, Richter, Christensen – Endo

Attendance: 63,443

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Hertha pick up crucial 2-1 win against VfB Stuttgart

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