Vedad Ibisevic helped to heap further misery on 1. FC Köln as he scored both goals in Hertha BSC’s 2-0 win.
Köln started both halves promisingly but on both occasions their momentum was ruined by Ibisevic, who scrambled in the opener before scoring his second from the penalty spot.
Köln remaining rock bottom of the Bundesliga, and without almost a dozen first team players handed out three debuts over the course of the match.
Ibisevic scores as Hertha take control
Köln’s problems have worsened despite their midweek win against Arsenal, with Dominic Maroh, Jannes Horn and Jhon Córdoba all picking up injuries in that game. With Frederick Sörensen also suspended, 16-year-old defender Yann Aurel Bisseck was made their youngest ever debutant (and the second-youngster player ever in the Bundesliga), Claudio Pizarro made a first start for the club whilst Matthias Lehmann and Konstantin Rausch also came in. Rune Jarstein, Per Ciljan Skjelbred and Ibisevic came back in for Hertha from their defeat at Athletic Club on Thursday.
Despite still only having two Bundesliga points on the board, Köln didn’t look too short on confidence going forward. Before Sehrou Guirassy and Rausch had early attempts on goal but neither could find their range. They were mostly attacking on the counter, allowing Hertha to dominate possession.
That strategy didn’t pay off though as they fell behind yet again. Lukas Klünter needlessly gave away a corner, which was headed towards goal by David Selke. Timo Horn couldn’t hold the save and Ibisevic, who might have had a touch as Selke’s effort passed by, was able to bury the ball. Köln’s players wanted him given offside, but he had been played on by Klünter.
Köln might have been level if Guirassy had managed to get his curled effort soon after they had fallen behind on goal, but otherwise Hertha dominated the rest of the half. Horn made two big saves from Ibisevic shots, whilst making a more simple collection from an effort from Maximilian Mittelstädt.
Handwerker inspires fightback until Ibisevic settles things from the spot
The half-time introduction of Tim Handwerker and a tactical shift from Peter Stöger reinvigorated the Billy Goats in the second half. Hertha had to weather some heavy pressure as they survived an early scramble in their box and a penalty appeal after a grounded Karim Rekik unintentionally handled a Guirassy shot. After initially playing on, a good two minutes were lost as VAR and Bibiana Steinhaus double-checked the decision before ratifying it.
Köln remained pretty dominate as they tried to pull level. Handwerker seemed involved in most things for them still and the 19-year-old managed to force Jarstein into a great save to tip over his shot on the hour mark.
Hertha were to soon deliver another hammer blow though. After a Handwerker free-kick was cleared, they countered with Selke running into the box from the right of the pitch. He was brought down by Lehmann with Steinhaus pointing to the spot. Ibisevic made no mistake with his penalty, and again all of Köln hard work was for nothing.
The illustrate the depth of Köln’s injury crisis, Stöger handed debuts to both Anas Ouahim and Nikolas Nartey from the bench in the later stages, with the former looking particularly promising. However their attempts to get back into the contest were limited to long-range efforts from Lehmann and Salih Özcan, and knowing the game was up, the home fans drifted away before the final whistle finally sounded.