Borussia Dortmund had to win Saturday at home against Hertha Berlin. Bayern Munich had won, while Leverkusen, RB Leipzig and Monchengladbach had all dropped points in this weekend’s fixtures. Lucien Favre’s men had an ideal chance to create separation from the rest of the pack at second place with a win against an up-and-coming Hertha side.
Dortmund didn’t disappoint. Their overall performance could be qualified as subpar, but they still clinched the three points with a tightly contested 1-0 win. The lone goal of the match came via Emre Can in the 57th minute following an assist from Julian Brandt.
The first half lacked intensity and neither side was able to create many chances. In fact, the biggest highlight during the first 45 minutes was the injury sustained by Javairo Dilrosun, who got replaced by Alexander Esswein in the 30th minute. As for chances? Very few, if any, for either side. The absence of players such as Erling Haaland (Dortmund) and Matheus Cunha (Hertha) was noticeable.
Dortmund, however, had the best chances. Achraf Hakimi, Thorgan Hazard and Julian Brandt all came close to score, but lacked accuracy in the final touch to do so. Vladimir Darida had two decent chances for Hertha, but he couldn’t capitalize neither. As a result, the first 45 minutes ended with a scoreless draw.
Emre Can decides the game for Dortmund
Things sparked up a bit after the break, and Dortmund needed less than 10 minutes to score what would end up being the winning strike thanks to Emre Can. The Juventus loanee fired the ball from outside the box and unleashed a perfect shot into the bottom right corner. Out of nowhere, Dortmund grabbed the opener.
Hertha couldn’t react after the goal and, as it was the trend all game long, failed to produce much in the final meters. Dortmund could have had a chance in the 83rd minute when Dedryck Boyata was called for a handball, but the referee didn’t call the penalty after checking with the VAR. Dortmund players were visibly unhappy with the decision.
Time expired with three late substitutions and Dortmund came away with the three points. The lone positive thing for them after this game is the result but, considering how the other teams near them fared this weekend, that’s perfectly fine. They edged closer towards securing the second place of the standings once it’s all said and done.
Dortmund: Burki (7); Piszczek (6), Emre Can (8), Akanji (7); Hakimi (7), Witsel (6) (Balerdi (-), 80’), Delaney (6), Guerreiro (7) (Schmelzer (-), 90’); Sancho (7), Hazard (6) (Morey (-), 79’); Brandt (6) (Reyna (5), 68’)
Hertha Berlin: Jarstein (5); Pekarik (4), Boyata (6), Torunarigha (6), Mittelstadt (6); Grujic (6) (Meier (-), 88’), Skjelbred (5) (Piatek (5), 62’); Lukebakio (4) (Ngankam (5), 46’), Darida (7), Dilrosun (5) (Esswein (6), 30’); Ibisevic (5)
Goals: Emre Can (1-0, 57’)
Referee: Harm Osmers
Yellow Cards: Esswein, Piatek (HB)
Red Cards: None