All three professional German footballing clubs forced into an unfortunate late-pandemic quarantine have now returned to the pitch.
Pal Dardai's Hertha BSC began their three-match catch up in the Bundesliga's relegation race with a 1-1 draw against FSV Mainz 05 on Monday evening.
|Krzystof Piatek.||Photo: Hertha BSC/citypress|
On an official 2020/21 Bundesliga pitch for the first time since April 10th, Germany's "alte Dame" could only manage a draw against Bo Svensson's Nullfünfter. Head-coach Pal Dardai made two changes after a 23-day-enforced break. Lucas Tousart, Sami Khedira were preferred to Santiago Ascacibar and Dodi Lukebakio. Keeper Alexander Schwolow again started in place of the recently hospitalized Rune Jarstein, who is not expected to feature again this season.
Svensson's Mainzer appeared confident and fit after a run of 16 points in the last six games, punctuated by a 2-1 upset of German giants FC Bayern München last Saturday. An attack spearheaded by Karim Onisiwo generated many early chances. Short striker Jean-Paul Boetius missed two golden opportunities in the opening ten minutes. Szalai couldn't get his feet sorted out in front of Schwolow in the 20th.
Momentum shifted when FSV defender Stefan Bell saw yellow for a hard foul on Matheus Cunha in the 34th. Svensson took no chances with the linchpin of bis back three and brought on Alexander Hack in the 36th. The substitution did not prevent Hertha from scoring on the ensuing free-kick, however. Young Marton Dardai serviced Tousart for a headed goal and the lead. Cunha spurned a glorious chance to put the visitors 2-0 up three minutes later.
Unfortunately, Cunha's profligacy in front of goal would be punished. Philip Mwene scored his first-ever Bundesliga goal immediately after Cunha's missed and the match enter the half tied up 1-1. Mainz were far less compelling after the restart, though Onisiwo and Jeremiah St. Juste got their looks in. Apart from one Cunha chance, the Berliners weren't up to managing much either.
Subbed on striker Krzysztof Piatek had the best chance to snatch the victory in the 82nd, shooting wide left from close-range. Moussa Niakhaté also had a chance to secure all three points at 90+1, but couldn't direct his header properly.
Hertha return to action already on Thursday to make up their round 30 encounter with Freiburg. Dardai's West capital city club remain in the relegation zone on 27 points with two games in hand.