Two goals from Veded Ibisevic at the tail end of each half were enough for Hertha BSC to see off 1. FC Köln.
Even first half but Hertha have the lead
Chances were limited in the early part of the game, mainly due to the strong midfield battle that was beginning to take shape. It wasn't until a foul earned the Billy Goats a set-piece opportunity that an effort of note was registered. A pin-point delivery from Mathias Lehmann found Kevin Vogt unmarked in the area, though his glancing header was palmed away by the alert Rune Jarstein.
The resulting corner brought another opportunity and this time Leonardo Bittencourt managed to wriggle free and strike at goal, although the 'keeper was able to make the save. Hertha's first real opening seen them find the back of the net, only for it to be chalked off moments later. Mitchell Weiser managed to pick out a great cross and find Vladimir Darida, who finished with aplomb, but for the ball to have crossed the by-line beforehand.
It wasn't long before Bittencourt came knocking again and went closer still to breaking the deadlock. The diminutive midfielder created space with a menacing run before eventually letting fly from 25 yards. The ball arrowed towards the bottom corner but skipped off the turf and clipped the outside of the post, much to the relief of the home faithful.
They were almost cheering soon after as Vedad Ibisevic came agonisingly close to opening his account for the capital club. The Bosnian international rose highest from a corner to head powerfully towards goal but Timo Horn made a miraculous recovery to claw the ball off the line.
Ibisevic didn't lose heart and soon had another chance to score his first goal for Hertha. This time, he did just that. Marvin Plattenhardt whipped a wicked ball into the near post area and the veteran forward beat Fredrik Sörensen to the ball and flicked it goalward. Horn was helpless this time as his effort kissed the inside of the upright to creep in and give his side the lead on the stroke of half-time.
Second half sees Hertha leave it late
The troublesome Ibisevic could have doubled his and his side's tally in the minutes that followed the restart but was denied by a good save from Horn's feet. Salomon Kalou also flashed a drive past the post and Bittencourt had a very valid penalty appeal turned down by Florian Meyer, in what was a manic start to the second period.
Köln didn't lose hope and continued to plug away in search of an equaliser. Yannick Gerhardt, who had only just came on for the injured Kevin Vogt, had his header brilliantly cleared off the line by Weiser. The former Billy Goat couldn't hide his joy at making such a vital interception, as he ran away with a smile on his face.
Hertha held on, despite a late siege on their goal, for three important points. There was even time for a late second goal with Ibisevic being played clean through on goal and slotting past Horn all on his lonesome to seal the game. The visitors would feel slightly hard done by having not taken a single point from the game, though clinical finishing at the end of each half proved the difference.