At the start of the 32nd matchday of the Bundesliga, 1. FC Köln won 5-2 against Hertha BSC in a game that was thrilling for long stretches and brought the bottom of the table a huge step closer to relegation.
After the bitter defeat, the Berliners are still on 25 points – if things go really badly, the gap to the relegation place could increase to six points with two games left.
The goal difference (minus 28) also looks bleak after the pack in Cologne, although Hertha was still well served with the 2: 5 against Cologne who did not let up.
Dardai self-critical: “Could have lost even more”
“We may have talked too much about offense before the game, maybe that was my mistake,” said a self-critical Hertha coach Pal Dardai on the Sportschau microphone. “We were too careless, we felt like we got 30 crosses into the penalty area in the first half. So we don’t have a chance, we were lucky that we lost even more in the end.”
One is now dependent on the results of the competition, said Dardai, but was combative. “I won’t give up and neither will the team.”
Selke hits again – and has to get out injured
Davie Selke, who was celebrated from Cologne last week with both goals in the Derbyieg in Leverkusen, also opened the high-scoring first half in Müngersdorf with a powerful header for an early lead (8th minute). Central defender Filip Uremovic was injured in the aerial duel before the goal, and Selke also had to leave the field a little later.
Shot light Hertha initially held back well, Lucas Tousart (18th) quickly equalized. Stefan Jovetic put the Berliners (33rd) in the lead after another good counterattack.
Hübers double pack – Hertha goes under
But Cologne remained unimpressed and turned the game around again before the break: Timo Hübers headed in a free kick from Florian Kainz that was perfectly circled into the six-yard box to equalize (39′). After one of Linton Maina’s many tempo runs, who put the ball back in the middle, Ellyes Skhiri pocketed the ball to take the lead again (43′).
After the restart, the game remained fast-paced, with chances almost every minute, especially for FC: Hübers provided the next highlight with his second goal (69th) and converted Maina’s cross with the heel to make it 4:2. Substitute Denis Huseinbasic made everything clear nine minutes before the end with Cologne’s fifth goal.
Hertha always vulnerable on the defensive
Berlin revealed blatant defensive weaknesses, was particularly vulnerable to headers – and thus caused a lot of uncertainty itself. Cologne controlled the game for long stretches, repeatedly attacked on the wings, but missed many chances – or failed because of Hertha’s keeper Oliver Christensen, who made a sensational save against Kingsley Schindler (26th), among others.
Even after the change, Christensen was still the focus, the Dane prevented further goals with strong saves against Steffen Tigges (51st), Jan Thielmann (58th) and Dejan Ljubicic (59th). Double goalscorer Hübers also headed the crossbar (59th).
Final for Hertha against Bochum
On Matchday 33, Hertha BSC has an anticipated final to stay up in the league at home against VfL Bochum (Saturday, May 20th, 2023 at 3:30 p.m.). At the same time, Cologne take on Werder Bremen.