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Hertha BSC
G. Paciência (78)
M. Richter (7), J. Ekkelenkamp (63)

15.30 kickoffs:
Hertha upset Frankfurt, Union down Wolfsburg

By Peter Vice   @ViceytheSS

Both Berlin clubs scored surprising victories in the 2021/22 German Bundesliga's 8th round of 15:30 kickoffs.

Pal Dardai and Hertha BSC were able to win 2-1 away at Frankfurt while Urs Fischer and the Köpenickers literally snatched fifth place out of the hands of visiting VfL Wolfsburg. 
Krzystof Piatek.
Krzystof Piatek.Photo: Hertha BSC/citypress
In a "crisis summit" of sorts between two teams struggling to get their season going, Hertha BSC denied Eintracht Frankfurt their second win of the 2021/22 league campaign. Hertha BSC sporting CEO's first trip to Hessen since leaving the SGE this summer ended with his current club snatching a most unexpected three points.

SGE trainer Oliver Glasner made four changes to the side that upset Bayern München before the Bundesliga broke off for the October international break. Stefan Ilsanker, Lucas Silva "Tuta" Melo, and Almamy Touré took a seat in favor of Makoto Hasebe, Evan N'dicka, and Jens Petter Hague. Rafael Santos Borré--returning from international duty with Colombia--was rested. Sam Lammers got the start.

Glasner lined his Eagles up in what looked to be a 3-5-2. Lammers worked together up top alongside Jesper Lindstrøm. Timothy Chandler moved up to take over the right-wing. Hauge kept an axial pairing with Chandler and Filip Kostic as the ten. Pal Dardai's latest constellation resembled a very narrow 4-3-3. Kryzystof Piatek--finally being deemed healthy enough to start--spearheaded the attack. Maximilian Mittelstädt and Marco Richter fell in closely behind the Polish striker.

The 35,000 Frankfurt supporters at Deutsche Bank Park sang themselves warm in the lead up to the proceedings. Unfortunately, some lax defending on behalf of veteran captain Hasebe saw their side fall behind already in the 7th minute. Vladimir Darida, working on the right third axis opposite Suat Serdar, had a bit too much space to whip a cross into the box. Richter charged in completely unmarked and headed in with the help of the post to put Hertha up 1-0.

Eintracht managed very little going forward for the duration of the half. The biggest test faced by Hertha keeper Alexander Schwolow came off a deflected effort sent his way by teammate Dedryck Boyata in the 28th. The capital city guests engineered no fewer than four opportunities to extend their lead. Piatek missed the best one in the 42nd, failing to find the accuracy after his long layoff directly before an empty net.

Glasner employed two changes at the break, replacing Chandler with Toure and Lindstrøm with Daichi Kamada. Initially, the 4-4-2 reformat did generate some good pressure. Genuine opportunities were still lacking. Touré and Djibril Sow sent a couple of tight-angle efforts wide. Glasner introduced Borré for Lammers at the hour mark, but it was one of Dardai's 61st minute substitutes who scored. Ishak Belfodil, who also came on in the 61st, whiffed. Fellow sub Jurgen Ekkelenkamp was nevertheless there to clean up.

Down 0-2 with thirty minutes to play, the Hessen hosts attacked furiously. Ekkelenkamp and Belfodil accordingly got more chances on the counter. Dennis Jastrzembski--Dardai's third sub--came close to scoring himself one minute after his introduction in the 73rd. Frankfurt were nevertheless able to pull one back after match official Deniz Aytekin awarded a penalty in the 77th. Gonçalo Paciencia converted from the spot, just as he did in the squad's recent crucial Europa League win.

Glasner's men were regrettably unable to parlay the strike into the game-tying goal. There were several scuffles towards the end and even appeals for a penalty when Niklas Stark pushed Martin Hinteregger down at 90+3. The scoreline stood unchanged at the final whistle. Hertha were able to secure their third victory of the season.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga's 15:30 kickoffs, the other "crisis summit" between the two teams at the bottom of the table ended up swinging VfL Bochum's way. Stefan Reis' team topped hosting SpVgg Greuther Fürth 1-0 courtesy of a late Anthony Losilla finish of a Eduard Löwen free-kick. Fürth still seek their first win of the campaign.

Erling Haaland returned to Dortmund's starting XI and scored a brace in the BVB's 3-1 home win over Mainz. Freiburg were able to fight back to a 1-1 draw against visiting Leipzig in the first competitive match in their new stadium. These results put Dortmund at the top of the table for the night while Freiburg are guaranteed to emerge from the weekend in 4th place.

In perhaps the biggest surprise of the 15:30s, Union Berlin rode a dominant second-half to a 2-0 defeat of VfL Wolfsburg at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei. After their undefeated start, Mark van Bommel's Wolves have lost three straight league matches. The rookie trainer carried through with his benching of Wout Weghorst in favor of Lukas Nmecha, but it made no difference.

Union actually now leapfrog Wolfsburg to take over fifth place in the table.

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