Germany: Bundesliga
4 - 1
(1 - 1)
Hertha BSC
J. Ngankam (30), M. Dárdai (52), D. Scherhant (90), D. Lukebakio (90)
N. Elvedi (17)
By Ultan Corcoran@UltanCorcoran

Three Berlin-born-boys to the fore as Hertha defeat Gladbach

Relegation threatened Hertha BSC managed a most stunning upset over visiting Gladbach this afternoon.

To the surprise of most everyone, the capital city's Charlottenburg side pulled out a 4-1 victory over Daniel Farke's Fohlenelf.
Borussia Monchengladbach made their Bundesliga Matchday 20 trip to the German capital today. The hosts, Hertha Berlin, still looking for their first win of 2023 as pressure has continued to mount on Sandro Schwarz. In fact, Schwarz tinkered heavily with his tactics ahead of today’s game – A switch of formation to a 3-5-2 from his preferred 4-3-3 the biggest point of interest ahead of kick-off. Meanwhile the Foals came to Berlin with the noticeable absence of Algerian international Ramy Bensebaini. Luca Netz, a former Hertha player himself, replaced the full-back in a like-for-like change.

Thuram had the first real shot of note in the 8th minute. Jonas Hofmann’s corner unfortunately headed over the crossbar by the Frenchman. However, Gladbach would make no mistake from the next corner on 17 minutes – This time Luca Netz picking out the unmarked Nico Elvedi who finished with ease. Just the start Daniel Farke’s side would’ve been craving after a recent run of mixed results. Although Hertha grew into the game marginally after conceding, they failed to really threaten offensively with Marco Richter’s speculative effort the only real attempt.

Just as the clock hit the half hour mark Hertha made it 1-1. Some excellent work down the right flank by Richter afforded space to cross into the six-yard box. Jessic Ngankam was in the right place at the right time to turn home and send the Olympiastadion crowd into raptures. As if someone had flicked a switch, Schwarz’s side were suddenly the dominant force. A handful of dangerous corners rained in, one of which saw Tousart’s effort cleared off the line. Niederlechner also ought to have hit the net just before the interval. Ngankam flicked Plattenhardt’s throw-in to the back post, but the man who recently arrived from Augsburg couldn’t convert.

Hertha came out of the blocks on the front foot once more. In the 52nd minute ‘Die Alte Dame’ took a 2-1 lead and a first senior goal for Márton Dárdai. Ciğerci teed up the young centre-half who smashed the ball beyond Omlin from all of 20 metres. A stunning strike by yet another Berlin born man emulating exactly what Ngankam had done before him. It took Gladbach 15 minutes of second half action to threaten Christensen in the BSC goal. Hannes Wolf raced through on the angle, but the young Dane did brilliantly to close the angle. It wasn’t long before Ngankam was called ashore alongside Serdar, as Lukebakio and Boëtius replaced the pair. Farke made an alteration of his own too – Pléa and Neuhaus introduced for Stindl and Wolf.

Farke made a final throw of the dice with just over ten minutes to play as Ngoumou came on for Kramer. Yet it was Hertha who looked more likely to score again. An 82nd minute counterattack allowed Lukebakio to shoot but the Belgian should have passed to Boëtius who was in a better position. At the other end Joe Scally came within inches of picking out the bottom left corner from range. So too did Marcus Thuram when Hofmann squared the ball on 87 minutes. BSC fans held their breath as Christensen magnificently tapped the ball over the bar. Hertha finally put the bed to bed in injury time when Derry Scherhant made it 3-1. A wonderful pirouette freed up space for the third Berlin born youngster of the night to score as he shot through Itakura’s legs. That wasn’t the end of the misery for Gladbach tonight – Koné fouled Tousart which resulted in a late penalty and Lukebakio converted for a resounding 4-1 victory.

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