Hertha Berlin

Photo by A. Hassenstein/Getty Images for FC Bayern

Lewandowski’s brace helps Bayern rescue opening-day draw (video)

Leave a comment

BERLIN (AP) Amid reports that Brazilian winger Philippe Coutinho was to join the club, Bayern Munich was held to 2-2 by Hertha Berlin in the opening game of the Bundesliga on Friday.

[ MORE: Barcelona, Bayern Munich agree deal to loan Philippe Coutinho ]

Robert Lewandowski scored twice for the seven-time defending champion, but Bayern failed to make the most of its chances and will rue the setback after Hertha capitalized on two mistakes to score twice in a three-minute period.

Bayern coach Niko Kovac congratulated counterpart Ante Covic after making his league debut in charge of the visitors.

Lewandowski did not have to wait long before opening his league account in the 24th minute, sliding in to convert Serge Gnabry‘s cross after Joshua Kimmich was given plenty of space to surge through the middle.

A rout looked possible as Hertha’s defense continued to look shaky, but Dodi Lukebakio struck against the run of play in the 36th for the visitors, the Belgian’s shot from distance taking a big deflection off Vedad Ibisevic’s back to give Manuel Neuer no chance.

Marko Grujic stunned the home fans when he made it 2-1 three minutes later, winning a duel against Benjamin Pavard before running onto a through ball from Ibisevic and rounding Neuer to score.

“A bit surprising,” Germany coach Joachim Low said of the halftime scoreline.

Bayern started the second half as it had the first, before VAR intervened after Grujic dragged Lewandowski’s shirt from behind and the striker fell.

Lewandowski dusted himself off to equalize from the spot on the hour-mark.

Hertha Berlin bidding farewell to Pal Dardai after 23 years

Soeren Stache/dpa via AP
Leave a comment

BERLIN (AP) Hertha Berlin’s long link with Pal Dardai will end on Saturday when he leads the team from the sidelines for the last time.

Hertha will also bid adieu to three players and two assistant coaches against Bayer Leverkusen, but Dardai — who is making way for under-23 coach Ante Covic — will receive the biggest send-off after 4+ years as coach and an association going back to 1996.

Dardai, who made a club-record 286 Bundesliga appearances for Hertha over 14 years, saved the club from relegation as coach and established a tough but unspectacular team capable of upsetting any of the rest.

[ MORE: Man City to lure Rodri? ]

Dardai has been enjoying the relative calm around the club since it was announced on April 16 that he would not continue. Hertha had lost its previous five Bundesliga matches.

“These four weeks were a dream. Even my wife said, `You don’t need a break. You look good again.’ That’s how it is without the media,” said Dardai, whose bid to qualify for European qualification was disrupted by a host of injuries.

Hertha is 10th with nothing but pride at stake on the final day of the season, in contrast to Leverkusen, which is fifth and fighting for Champions League qualification.

Dardai, who had complained that expectations had grown too high at the club, expressed his gratitude to Hertha for the chance to coach in the Bundesliga.

“I’m grateful for these experiences. I even got money for it,” Dardai said. “It’s a gift from life and I’ve shown that I can do the Bundesliga. Pal Dardai is now a whole other type of coach than four years ago.”

A defensive midfielder in his playing days, Dardai brought his uncompromising style to management, too, starting in the club’s youth setup. After taking over from Jos Luhukay in February 2015, Dardai saved the team from relegation and was given a permanent contract.

Dardai was also coaching the Hungarian national team, but he gave up that position to focus on the club. He brought tactical discipline to the side and convinced the underperforming players to up their game. Dardai led Hertha to a seventh-place finish in 2016, sixth in 2017 and a spot in the Europa League, and 10th last year.

A win over Leverkusen on Saturday would ensure Hertha’s best second half to the season since 2008-09.

“Then you couldn’t write anymore that Hertha played a bad second half to the season. Then you have something less to write about,” Dardai told journalists, a frequent target.

Instead of the usual 10 tickets for a game, Dardai ordered 30 for Leverkusen’s visit.

“This time I was cheeky,” Dardai joked. “The manager (Michael Preetz) was nice. I got everything I asked for and I didn’t have to pay for them this time.”

Hertha will also bid farewell to players Fabian Lustenberger, who is leaving after 12 years, Julius Kade, who is joining city rival Union Berlin on a free transfer, and American goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann, who did not have his contract extended.

Klinsmann, the son of former Germany coach Jurgen Klinsmann, will not be in the stadium on Saturday because of “personal reasons,” Preetz said.

Assistant coaches Rainer Widmayer and Admir Hamzagic are also leaving.

More AP German soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/Bundesliga and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Ciaran Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP

Hertha bans flags, banners after fan violence with police

AP Photo/Martin Meissner
Leave a comment

BERLIN (AP) Hertha Berlin announced on a ban on flags and banners for home games following fan trouble at its previous Bundesliga game in Dortmund.

The club says the measure “applies to both home and away fans” carrying banners into Berlin’s Olympiastadion and “this ban applies immediately and until further notice.”

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings ]

Hertha says there will be increased security measures to ensure the ban is enforced and it asks supporters attending the game against Leipzig on Saturday to arrive early.

The move comes after a number of Hertha fans fought police at the beginning of their team’s 2-2 draw against Borussia Dortmund on Oct. 27.

Media reports suggested around 100 fans were involved. The violence broke out after police tried to remove a huge banner commemorating 15 years of a group of Hertha ultras. Masked fans set off flares behind the banner.

Police said 45 people were injured – 35 of them from the use of pepper spray and 10 from violence. Some people were taken to a hospital for treatment and “all injured police officers remained fit for duty.”

The German soccer federation said Monday it was launching a probe into the disturbances.

Hertha general manager Michael Preetz criticized the Dortmund police for their “excessive” intervention.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Bundesliga wrap: Bayern wins, pulls within two points of BVB

AP Photo/Michael Probst
Leave a comment

The table is getting tighter as the Bundesliga moves to within a fortnight of the season’s first Der Klassiker between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.

[ MORE: Almiron to West Ham for $33m? ]

Borussia Dortmund 2-2 Hertha Berlin

Salomon Kalou twice answered Jadon Sancho goals as Hertha rescued a point at the Westfalenstadion thanks to a stoppage time penalty.

Achraf Hakimi and Mario Gotze assisted for BVB, who remains atop the Bundesliga by two points over victorious Bayern. Christian Pulisic played the final 18 minutes plus stoppage after starting midweek in the Champions League.

Mainz 1-2 Bayern Munich

The hosts threatened to nab a point when Jean-Paul Boetius scored early in the second half to level the score line after Leon Goretzka put Bayern ahead from a Joshua Kimmich feed.

Robert Lewandowski helped cue up Thiago Alcantara for the winner as the champions moved to within two points of Dortmund.

Freiburg 3-1 Borussia Monchengladbach — Friday
Hannover 96 1-2 Augsburg
Fortuna Dusseldorf 0-3 Wolfsburg
Hoffenheim 4-0 Stuttgart
Nurnberg vs. Eintracht Frankfurt — 8:30 a.m. ET Sunday
RB Leipzig vs. Schalke — 10:30 a.m. ET Sunday
Werder Bremen vs. Bayer Leverkusen — 1 p.m. ET Sunday


Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Borussia Dortmund 9 6 3 0 29 10 19 4-1-0 2-2-0 21
 Bayern Munich 9 6 1 2 17 10 7 2-1-1 4-0-1 19
 Mönchengladbach 9 5 2 2 20 12 8 4-0-0 1-2-2 17
 Werder Bremen 8 5 2 1 15 8 7 2-2-0 3-0-1 17
 Hertha BSC Berlin 9 4 4 1 15 10 5 3-1-0 1-3-1 16
 RB Leipzig 8 4 3 1 16 9 7 3-1-0 1-2-1 15
 Eintracht Frankfurt 8 4 1 3 19 12 7 2-1-1 2-0-2 13
 1899 Hoffenheim 9 4 1 4 18 13 5 2-1-2 2-0-2 13
 FC Augsburg 9 3 3 3 16 14 2 1-2-1 2-1-2 12
 VfL Wolfsburg 9 3 3 3 14 14 0 1-2-2 2-1-1 12
 SC Freiburg 9 3 3 3 13 15 -2 2-2-1 1-1-2 12
 FSV Mainz 05 9 2 3 4 5 10 -5 2-2-1 0-1-3 9
 Bayer Leverkusen 8 2 2 4 9 15 -6 1-1-2 1-1-2 8
 1. FC Nürnberg 8 2 2 4 8 19 -11 2-1-1 0-1-3 8
 FC Schalke 04 8 2 0 6 5 11 -6 1-0-3 1-0-3 6
 Hannover 96 9 1 3 5 11 18 -7 1-1-2 0-2-3 6
 VfB Stuttgart 9 1 2 6 6 21 -15 1-1-2 0-1-4 5
 Fortuna Düsseldorf 9 1 2 6 6 21 -15 1-0-4 0-2-2 5

Bayern Munich stunned by Hertha Berlin

Associated Press
Leave a comment

Bayern Munich’s weekend has been ruined.

The German giants were caught napping, falling 2-0 to Hertha Berlin at Olympiastadion Berlin in the capital for the defending champions’ first Bundesliga loss of the season.

Hertha striker Vedad Ibisevic saw his header saved by Manuel Neuer in the 23rd minute, but the rebound fell to former Chelsea man Salomon Kalou who was tackled by Jerome Boateng, and the referee pointed to the spot. Ibisevic took the penalty, and his effort found the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.

With Bayern trailing, they maintained a significant possessional advantage and looked to pepper Thomas Kraft’s net, but continued to miss the target. Hertha would find another just before halftime on the counter as Kalou’s smart through-ball unlocked the defense and connected with Valentino Lazaro’s run, and the Austrian expertly pulled it back as he reached the end line. 23-year-old Ondrej Duda was waiting at point-blank range, and he roofed the effort to double Hertha’s lead.

Bayern pushed forward looking to get back in the game, but they couldn’t find a way through. Taking 25 efforts on the Hertha net throughout the match, they were able to put just five on target. The visitors held 70% possession through the full 90 minutes, but ultimately were unsuccessful.

The win for Hertha draws them level with Bayern at the top of the Bundesliga table on 13 points through six matches, with both Borussia Dortmund and Werder Bremen able to take over the lead spot with a victory this weekend.