At the bottom, right behind the ditch, a crowd of people had gathered. Fists and arms flew through the air. It didn’t look particularly friendly and inviting, and so the Hertha BSC players preferred to keep a safe distance from their own fans in the east curve. Most stayed beyond the blue tartan track when they said goodbye to their followers late Saturday afternoon.
The Berlin Bundesliga club had already let the next disappointment follow the debacle in Leipzig. Fredi Bobic, Hertha’s sports director, said: “I’ve seen a lot of positive things. You don’t have to lose the game. ”But Hertha did. It was 1: 2 (0: 1) in the end. For the Berliners it was the fifth defeat in the seventh game of this season.
The followers are no longer as lenient as Bobic. Your fuse is getting shorter. After half an hour, for a rather trivial reason – a back pass to the own goalkeeper – the first whistles were heard. The displeasure increases, but to the growing discussion with coaches Bobic said: “It’s not that we panic. We will try to work in peace. “
With coach Pal Dardai, who changed his team to four positions after the 6-0 draw in Leipzig. Dedryck Boyata, Marco Richter, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Stevan Jovetic were new to the starting line-up. It hadn’t been enough for Deyovaisio Zeefuik. The right-back wasn’t even in the squad.
At the break there were whistles from the stands
Dardai stuck to the 5-3-2 system anyway, offering Richter as a track player on the right side. Before the break, however, he switched to a 4-5-1. At this point in time, there was little convergence among the Berliners. At times they seemed pretty disoriented. Combined with a lot of impurities in their own game and a thoroughly harmless offensive, the result was a mixture that did not delight the audience. During the break there were violent whistles from the stands.
“You can’t offer hooray football,” said Dardai of the rather cautious approach. Significant for Hertha’s threat potential was the chance, which arose rather by chance shortly before the half-time whistle. When trying to clear in his own penalty area, the Freiburg Manuel Gulde shot at Davie Selke, from whose body the ball jumped uncontrollably into the goal. Hertha generally lacked control. “We look very insecure,” said Hertha’s sports director Arne Friedrich during the break at Sky. “We have far too little from the game.”
As the home team, the Berlin team had just 36 percent possession of the ball in the first half. Chances played out? Well Once, right at the start, it got dangerous after Suat Serdar, Hertha’s best by far, intercepted the ball in midfield. But Jovetic missed the ball when it was accepted in the Freiburg penalty area, so that Gulde could clarify. Hertha’s other opportunities resulted from free kicks or long range shots.
Hertha even dreamed of victory for a short time
Fortunately for Hertha, the Freiburg team were content with maintaining control of the action, especially after their opening goal. Freiburg defender Philipp Lienhart prevailed after a corner from Christian Günter in a header duel at the first post against Davie Selke and scored 1-0 for the guests.
Dardai made two changes during the break, bringing in Krzysztof Piatek and Peter Pekarik for Selke and Marton Dardai, who has torn a hamstring in his thigh. But it didn’t get any better at first. Immediately after the restart, Lucas Tousart had to save from Wooyeong Jeong in dire straits. Dardai didn’t even wait a quarter of an hour for the next double change, brought in Jurgen Ekkelenkamp and Dennis Jastrzembski for Boateng and Richter, and shortly afterwards Maximilian Mittelstädt for Jovetic.
In fact, it was the newcomers who gave the game an unexpected twist. 20 minutes before the end, the Berliners actually managed a proper attack. He was introduced by Serdar, who asserted himself energetically in midfield. After being moved to the left, Mittelstädt served the substitute Piatek in the middle. The Pole had no trouble scoring his first goal after a long injury break. The last one before that, in May, he also succeeded against SC Freiburg. “He is a bearer of hope for the future,” said coach Pal Dardai.
Thanks to Piatek’s goal, the previously harmless Berliners were suddenly in the game. Ekkelenkamp hit the crossbar shortly after the 1-1 draw. And the Hertha fans, who had been very cautious until then, among the 18,376 spectators in the Olympic Stadium, now drove their team on. “I had the feeling that it was our turn,” said Mittelstädt, “that we could even win the game.”
But the hope was deceptive. Not even ten minutes after the equalizer, Hertha was already behind again. Again, the goal of Freiburg resulted from a corner kick from Günter, this time from the other side. After Hertha hadn’t been able to clarify resolutely enough, Nils Petersen, who had been substituted two minutes earlier, made it 2-1 for the guests with an overhead kick. “If you have a negative run, you lose games like this,” said Fredi Bobic.