Hertha BSC 0-1 Bayer Leverkusen: Kießling strikes to send Schmidt's side fifth
Image credit: kicker

A solitary second-half goal from Stefan Kießling was enough to seperate the sides in a largely dull encounter at the Olympiastadion. Sebastian Langkamp was sent off late on, with Hertha's problems continuing to grow.

Hertha were looking to bounce back from a 2-0 defeat at the weekend, as Werder Bremen won comfortably at the Weserstadion. Jos Luhukay was coming under increasing pressure and he made five changes from the loss to try and stem the tide. Johannes van den Bergh, Hajime Hosogai, Marcel Ndjeng, Genki Haraguchi and Roy Beerens came into the side, with John Anthony Brooks, Peter Niemeyer, Ronny, Nico Schulz and Valentin Stocker dropped from the starting eleven.

Leverkusen had no such worries, Roger Schmidt's side were showing many positive signs since the former Red Bull Salzburg boss took the reigns. After drawing 0-0 in an incredibly tense game to start the Rückrunde against Borussia Dortmund, Schmidt made a couple of alterations. Kyriakos Papadopoulos replaced Emir Spahic, while youngster Julian Brandt took Josip Drmic's starting spot.

It looked like the form book had gone out the window early on; Hertha broke free with a three-on-one advantage over Roberto Hilbert, though the Leverkusen defender somehow managed to cut out the ball that would have almost certainly created an opening goal. The resulting corner also proved dangerous as Hosogai turned his header onto the post from just a yard out, when it looked harder to miss than to score.

The game was going the way of the hosts, as they created a few chances and were more than holding their own. It wasn't until Hakan Calhanoglu's powerful drive from outside the box that Thomas Kraft was called into action, but Hertha's number one batted the ball away before his defence tidied up the scraps. In truth Bernd Leno wasn't tested either, with the Turkish midfielder producing the half's only shot on target.

Despite the home side making all the running in the first half, it would take Leverkusen just five minutes to strike at the beginning of the second. Karim Bellarabi, who had been remarkably quiet, burst into life down the right hand side and beat two of the Hertha defenders with some great skill. His pace took him to the box, when he produced a great delivery to find Stefan Kießling. The striker managed to bundle the ball up-and-over Kraft and into the back of the net; a goal that befitted the game so far, not that Leverkusen were bothered.

Leverkusen's opener seemed to take the sting out of the game, as they had no need to go forward with such pace and drive to find a second goal. They almost found it when Bellarabi and Kießling combined again, though this time Kraft was out quickly to block the latter's toe-poke. It was evident that die Werkself were happy with a point, when Simon Rolfes replaced Calhanoglu.

The rest of the game was reasonably comfortable; Schmidt's side played down the clock in the professional manner you would expect, while Hertha couldn't force a way to goal. The win brings Leverkusen above Schalke and into fifth and the capital club drop into the relegation places. The hosts will travel to Mainz on Saturday and Werder Bremen will host Bayer.

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