Even though they wanted to end their run of four successive draws, Hertha Berlin would actually have been delighted to have continued that sequence as the clock ticked down at the Red Bull Arena on Saturday. 3-0 down at half time and seemingly dead and buried, Sandro Schwarz’s side produced a fantastic second half display and very nearly took a share of the spoils against all expectations.
Hertha have only won once this season but are playing better than their 15th place suggests. They are level on points with Bayer Leverkusen and VfB Stuttgart, but whereas you’d label those two as ‘crisis’ clubs, die Alte Dame are garnering respect if not the points they need.
Having drawn their last four games (Mainz, Leverkusen, Hoffenheim and Freiburg) Hertha looked set for big loss when Leipzig scored three first half goals in the late game on Saturday. Emil Forsberg, Abdou Diallo and Willi Orban made the most of the three chances the home side created in the first half and the fear was that more would follow in the second to embarrass BSC.
Hertha had other ideas and were determined to win the second half, if not the game. Two goals in a two-minute spell on the hour mark saw Hertha claw themselves back into the game, Dodi Lukebakio made a heroic goal-bound block and the visitors hit the post in the 94th minute. It was a terrific second half, that the visitors deserved to get something out of.
“The second half emphasises the progress we’re making together” Marc-Oliver Kempf explained after the match. “Everyone who saw the score would have been allowed to think at half time that we were out of the game, but we played well in the second half and unfortunately at the end we just didn’t get that bit of luck.
“The coach didn’t criticise us too much at half time but gave us confidence and pointed out the positives: our energy, our strength in duels. We set out not to lie down in the second half and we wanted to win the second half whatever happens – which we did.
“We are putting in a lot of effort, are on it and definitely want to win this coming Sunday with our fans behind us! The support was amazing; it felt like a home game playing here.”
They face Schalke at the Olympiastadion next weekend with every chance of securing that elusive Bundesliga win their performances have deserved.