Hertha BSC kept their European hopes alive as they beat Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0 at home. Both goals came after the hour mark when Mitchell Weiser and Salomon Kalou found the back of the net.
The win also makes sure that Pal Dardai's men will remain in a Champions League spot for another week. For Frankfurt, this loss hurt more as they dipped into the relegation playoff spot.
Frankfurt misses early chances
Despite being second best most of the match, it was Eintracht Frankfurt who had the first chance. Marco Fabián stood over the ball to line up a free kick in the sixth minute. His effort though was poor and the Mexican international sent his shot sailing over the goal.
Then, in the 15th minute, it was Hertha's turn to have a look at goal. Vedad Ibisevic had a right footed blast get stopped with ease at it fell into the arms of Luckas Hradecky. The visitors spurned another chance five minutes later through Marco Russ. He attempted a shot from 35 yards out that missed wide and to the right of goal.
More chances came; one in the 34th minute and another 60 seconds later. That first attempt came from Fabián as he forced Rune Jarstein to tip the ball over the crossbar. Off of the ensuing corner, Bastian Oczipka's try came nowhere close to troubling Jarstein.
Right before the halftime interval, the hosts started to advance further up the pitch. Vladimir Darida came within mere inches of scoring, but Hradecky kept things level.
As the second half progressed, Hertha began to take control over the proceedings. In the build up towards the goal, they had three chances to go in front within the span of four minutes. These attempts came from Vedad Ibisevic, Niklas Stark and Mitchell Weiser. Ibisevic's shot got blocked; Stark's header was saved; Weiser missed the target.
Kalou's presence is felt
But there was finally a breakthrough for Hertha and that came three minutes after the hour mark. Salomon Kalou gathered possession on the left side of the pitch and worked his way into the penalty area. He opened up a bit of space and slid a square pass to Mitchell Weiser. The former Bayern man swung his left foot out and the ball bounced underneath the cross bar and into the net.
Between the goals came a chance for Frankfurt in the 71st minute. Makato Hasebe whipped in a dangerous cross towards the middle of the box and Stefan Aigner rose to meet it. Unfortunately, the header skimmed just wide of the far post.
The second goal came with 12 minutes remaining in the match. John Anthony Brooks won a header at the back and Tolga Cigerci flicked it onwards. The second header fell to Salomon Kalou and he started up the left side of the pitch. He continued his run, blowing by Hasebe inside the penalty box. As a result of that, Kalou had tons of space before slotting home a shot just above the left leg of Hradecky.
Kalou has been on fire this season and is showing no signs of slowing down. He contributed on both goals tonight and is key figure in Pal Dardai's starting XI.