In what was a lightning fast start to the game for die Alte Dame, Hertha, the Japanese Haraguchi gave the capital club the lead inside a minute, after Solomon Kalou had seized upon Roger's mistake. It was a largely uneventful remainder of the game, but in the end it would be the Olympiastadion faithful who would return home the happier as Pal Dárdái's side held on for a crucial result, that has implications at both ends of the table.
Perfect start for die Alte Dame
Ingolstadt enjoyed the perfect start in their relegation clash against HSV last weekend, as Pascal Groß put the Bavarian's into the lead inside a quarter of an hour. However on Saturday afternoon in the German capital, in what was a complete juxtapose to the match against die Rothosen, it was their opponents, Hertha BSC, who broke the deadlock early on. Roger's error allowed Solomon Kalou to race away along the left hand flank, before the Ivorian squared for an unmarked Genki Haraguchi to slot past a stranded Martin Hansen. All of this within a minute of referee, Frank Willenborg's, opening whistle at the Olympiastadion.
Aside from Haraguchi's opener however, the vast majority of the opening forty-five minutes was a largely even affair. Despite seeing vast swathes of the ball, Pal Dárdái's side were unable to forge any real chances and test Hansen even further. Meanwhile Ingolstadt, the Bundesliga's fourth lowest scorers, were as ineffective in attack as ever. Fabian Lustenberger's crunching challenge on Max Christiansen perhaps the most note worthy event during the remainder of the first half.
19-year-old, Maximillian Mittelstädt, was making just his fourth start for die Alte Dame, Hertha, yet had put in an accomplished performance throughout against Ingolstadt. Matched with Florent Hadergjonaj and Groß, the left back was firm in the tackle and assured when on the ball. Mittelstädt's performance will certainly provide Dárdái with food for thought, when usual first choice left back, Marvin Plattenhardt, returns.
Walpurgis' side did come close to an equaliser on the cusp of half time, but John Anthony Brooks was able to hack away Alfredo Morales' cut back after a neat pass from Romain Brégerie. The Berlin native, Morales, was up against his former side having spent some thirteen years in the Hertha ranks, but on this occasion was unable to pick out Darío Lezcano.
Ingolstadt huff and puff
The second half was largely like this first, with neither side imposing themselves on the game. Walpurgis' die Schanzer had much more of the ball, but were unable to create anything with it - instead huffing and puffing as the resolute Hertha defence held firm. Lezcano's looping header was the closest they came but the Norwegian international, Rune Jarstein, saw it drift wide all the way. Hamburg's surprise victory against Bayer Leverkusen on Friday night adding even more importance to the match at the Olympiastadion from an Ingolstadt perspective, in the quest for Bundesliga survival.
Maik Walpurgis brought on both Lukas Hinterseer and Robert Leipertz late on, in an attempt to rescue something from the Matchday 19 clash. It was almost an instant impact from the former 1. FC Heidenheim man, Leipertz, as it required a smart Jarstein save to keep the 24-year-old's effort out.
Alexander Esswein could have ended the contest on two occasions, but the former FC Augsburg man firstly hesitated and allowed Brégerie to block his effort whilst on the second he fluffed his lines with Hansen's goal at his mercy. However, it wouldn't matter and despite Jarstein being forced to make an assured save from a Marvin Matip header, Hertha would hold on for what would prove a well fought for three points.
Die Alte Dame, Hertha BSC, have famously struggled during the Rückrunde, or second half of the Bundesliga season. Last season, it saw them miss out on a Champions League place, whilst this campaign it has already seen them slump to defeats at Leverkusen and SC Freiburg. Putting a stop to that superstition will be at the fore for Pal Dárdái, with Saturday afternoon's showing against die Schanzer suggesting he may be somewhere near resolving it.