West Ham 5-3 Hertha BSC: Fornals and Haller off the mark for five-star Hammers
(PHOTO: Getty Images / West Ham United FC)

The Bundesliga outfit led three times during the game, however the Hammers eventually ran out winners in Austria following an entertaining friendly fixture.

Story of the match

It was Hertha BSC who went ahead early on when Alexander Esswein’s cross found Pascal Kopke, the forward taking advantage of a slip from Fabian Balbuena to fire home.

West Ham responded quickly to draw level, their two marquee summer signings linking up to end an eventful opening ten minutes.

Pablo Fornals notched his first goal for the club with a great strike from 18 yards thanks to a Sebastien Haller assist.  

Just ten minutes later striker Davie Selke restored the Bundesliga outfit’s lead, his tidy finish beating Roberto following poor defending from the West Ham defence.

Haller and Fornals were involved once more as West Ham equalised for a second time with 28 minutes gone.

The strong Frenchman held the ball up well before the former Villareal midfielder played through Manuel Lanzini who finished with aplomb.

After a frantic first-half Manuel Pellegrini would have been happy with the creativity going forward, however his side’s sloppy defending would have been a concern.

The high intensity of the first 45 minutes looked to have taken its toll with the game played at a much lower tempo at the start of the second period.

The Premier League side made a number of changes on the hour mark, however conceded just minutes later when Kopke completed his brace after following up Roberto’s save.

With Wilshere and Fornals both substituted, it was clear that West Ham had lost some midfield creativity.

Sebastien Haller eventually got his goal to make it 3-3, steering second-half substitute Robert Snodgrass' free-kick into the far corner with an expertly-guided header on 70 minutes.

Grady Diangana, another of those introduced during the second period, finished a well-worked team move to put the Hammers ahead for the first time just seven minutes later.

Michail Antonio confirmed victory with a clever finish from inside the Hertha box late in the game.

Takeaways

New signings off the mark

Pablo Fornals scored his first goal for the club during another impressive performance. The young Spaniard looked assured in possession, aiming to start attacks by playing forward at every opportunity.

He was replaced after playing the first hour, but another 60 minutes under his belt will only improve his match fitness as he continues preparing for his first season in English football.

Sebastien Haller also got his first goal in claret and blue, and it was well-deserved for his constant link-up play and intelligent attacking runs.

Both of the summer acquisitions are expected to feature in the final pre-season game against Athletic Bilbao.

Hammers’ Fantastic Four

West Ham’s attack showed once again why they will cause problems for Premier League defences this season.

Manuel Lanzini, Pablo Fornals, Felipe Anderson and Sebastien Haller showed fluidity and creativity when going forward and will excite supporters whenever they play together.

New centre-forward Haller will be hoping to get on the end of the chances created by the players behind him, however the Frenchman showed that he possesses the technical ability to create opportunities for others too.

Defensive vulnerability

At times, West Ham’s defence looked exposed as a result of inadequate protection. Declan Rice worked hard to shield the back four, however wasn’t helped much by the other midfielders alongside him.

The Hammers will be entertaining to watch if Pellegrini sticks with the 4-1-4-1 formation, however they will have to outscore teams as they showed they will concede goals due to the lack of defensive-minded players in the side.

West Ham end pre-season with the Betway Cup next Saturday at the London Stadium. The Hammers will compete against La Liga's Athletic Bilbao ahead of their first Premier League fixture, which will be at home to Manchester City on August 10th. 

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