Hertha BSC continued their push for the Champions League as they defeated Schalke 04 2-0 at the Olympiastadion. The two goals from Vedad Ibisevic and Niklas Stark came on either side of the halftime interval.
The hosts got the match's first shot away in the 9th minute. But it got saved as Ralf Fährmann reacted well to Vladimir Darida's weak shot. It took 21 minutes for Schalke to find the target but when they did, they made Rune Jarstein work. A cross was sent a ball back towards the top of the six yard box from the byline as Klaas-Jan Huntelaar rose to meet it. His header, with a Hertha defender in his way, forced Jarstein to make a good reaction save with his left hand.
An opportunity went close to testing the Schalke shot stopper in the 27th minute. Genki Haraguchi drew a foul in a dangerous area and Tolga Cigerci lined up a free kick. His shot though curled a bit too much as it hit the side netting at the right post.
Salomon Kalou danced his way into the area in the 33rd minute but lost possession at the vital moment. Cigerci hit a volley after Schalke failed to clear their lines but missed the target by mere inches.
Hosts strike first
Hertha found an opening goal with five minutes to go in the first half. Kalou started the move as he found Haraguchi inside the penalty box. The Japanese international laid a simple pass off to Vedad Ibisevic. Ibisevic made no mistake with his finish, slotting it into the bottom right hand corner.
The opening minutes of the second half was all Schalke, but they could not get a good decent shot away. Dennis Aogo came close to hitting the target nine minutes into the second half. His shot though, was not hit well enough as it missed the frame of the goal. In the 57th minute, Kalou went on an impressive individual run. He made his way inside Schalke's box before Roman Neustadter stopped him at the last second.
Stark doubles Hertha's lead
There was a second goal by the capital club four minutes after the hour mark. Darida sent a perfect ball into the box from a corner and Niklas Stark jumped to meet the delivery. Stark was unmarked in the box and redirected the ball into the far corner of the goal.
A ball fell to Cigerci while he was in the middle of the area, with 18 minutes remaining in the match. Cigerci did not take enough time to read the situation and where he was on the pitch. As a result, the 23-year-old missed the target with a poor attempt on goal. Seven minutes later, though, he did better. The Turkish international looked up before firing a rocket of a shot from outside of the box. It went past Fahrmann but came back off the post. Then, Vedad Ibisevic got his head on the rebound but the AR had flagged him for being offside.
In the end, Hertha got the result they were hoping for. These three points also gave them a bit of a cushion for that final automatic Champions League spot. They looked dominate too, dominating possession and gave Schalke next to no time on the ball. Hertha also got the better chances in the final third of the pitch and could have won by more.