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Hertha Berlin 2-3 Bayern Munich: initial reactions and observations

Serge Gnabry blazed the way with a brace, and Kingsley Coman put the game away with a header.

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Photo by Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty Images

Initial observations

  • Serge Gnabry might have just played his best game in a Bayern shirt. He was phenomenal on the right wing and fully deserved to come away with a brace.
  • Kingsley Coman stuck at it and was rewarded in an unexpected way. Despite constantly outrunning and outgunning Hertha’s defense on the left, Coman just could not get a decent pass inside for his teammates to work with. He at least managed to head in the winner.
  • Mats, what on earth is wrong with you? Today it was Mr. Hyde rather than Dr. Jekyll who showed up to play. Hummels’s baffling header gave Selke all he needed to erase Bayern’s 2-1 lead. It wasn’t the last risky move he made.
  • Dat midfield. Hertha was MIA for most of the match largely because they were utterly unable to move the ball through Bayern’s midfield. Left to boot it into the final third, they just could not connect.

Full time! Bayern win it, 3-2, in a dominant game marred only by a baffling defensive lapse by Hummels.

120 +2 — Lewandowski provides a little late drama by blocking Jarstein’s punt. The goalkeeper is able to recover the ball though, before any harm is done.

120’ — Yellow card for Bayern: Lewandowski is booked for a foul on Rekik.

Substitution for Bayern: Thomas Müller replaces Coman.

119’ — Substitution for Bayern: Javi Martinez replaces James.

117’ — Goretzka finds James unmarked just inside the penalty area. James tries to chip Jarstein, but too low — he catches the ball.

114’ — Lewandowski’s free kick bounces off the top of the wall.

113’ — Ribery finds Lewandowski in a dangerous position, but his shot is blocked. Hertha counter with a rare attack, winning their second corner. Bayern respond with a counter in turn, that ends in a foul on Ribery by Klünter just outside the box.

110’ — Substitution for Hertha: Torunarigha replaces Duda.

109’ — Ribery outduels Hertha’s defense and wins another corner for Bayern.

106’ — James sends a delicious forward pass between two Hertha defenders for Alaba to collect. The Austrian sends it in to Lewandowski, but Hertha’s defense block him out.

Kickoff of the second half of extra time — The Hertha faithful have not given up yet.

105+ — Just before the end of the first half of extra time, Ribery passes inside to Lewandowski, but he just can’t get a shot off. The ball is kicked out to Hummels, who launches it over the goal.

103’ Substitution for Hertha: Fabian Lustenberger relieves Skjelbred.

99’ — GOAL for Bayern! What a wild scene! Alaba — uncharacteristically on the right flank — cross the ball to Kimmich on the left. Kimmich lobs the ball inside to Goretzka, but he heads it back toward the left flank rather than on target. Lewandowski rushes out and manages to toe the ball back in an arc toward the goal, where Coman somehow connects with it to head it in over a crowd of blue shirts.

96’ — Hummels concedes Hertha’s first corner kick on another strange header that Ulreich cannot collect.

94’ — Bayern put Hertha under ever more pressure, circulating the ball around their penalty area looking for a chink in their armor. Goretzka passes outside to Ribery, but the Frenchman fires the ball right at Jarstein. Reset.

Kickoff of extra time! — And we’re right back at it. At least Bayern gets a proper kick off this time around.

End of regular time! — That’s it for the first 90 minutes. Thanks to Hummels and Selke, we’ll be treated to another half hour of fun.

89’ — Substitution for Bayern: Franck Ribery makes his comeback, replacing Gnabry. Coman shifts to the right wing.

84’ — Coman goes to ground without any contact — the Hertha players nearby rush over to help. It looks like it’s only a cramp though. Phew.

83’ — The new man on the pitch, Klünter, takes a shot at Ulreich on the right flank, but Sven is ready.

81’ — Another golden opportunity. Alaba sends a perfect cross in for James. The Colombian, however, has to hit the ball with his thigh, sending it outside rather than in the net.

Substitution for Hertha: Kaloumakes way for Klünter.

80’ — James sends a chip pass to Gnabry on the right flank, but the winger’s one-touch cross bounces into Jarstein’s arms rather than into the path of Lewandowski.

75’ — James finds himself open in Hertha’s penalty area, but his shot goes outside the far post.

74’ — Alaba delivers a cross, but Goretzka’s header goes wide of the goal. Bayern’s bench is warming up: Ribery, Rafinha, Javi Martinez could be seen.

71’ — Coman delivers a cross right at Lewandowski, but the striker seems unprepared for the ball and it skips through his legs back to Hertha.

67’ — GOAL for Hertha! There is simply no explanation: Mats Hummels just threw away Bayern’s lead. The center-back inexplicably attempted to head what should have been an easy ball to Alaba, but instead served it on a plate for Selke, who was right behind him. Selke shot it into the far corner under Sven Ulreich’s arm.

64’ — Substitution for Hertha: Davie Selke replaces Hertha’s captain, Ibisevic. It’s a curious move for Pal Dardai.

60’ — An instant after a corner, Kimmich claims the ball far up the right flank. He delivers a cross in for Lewandowski, but Jarstein is able to collect it mere inches before Lewy can strike.

58’ — A replay during a pause shows that Grujic arguably dragged David Alaba to the ground in Hertha’s penalty area minutes before. No call was made at the time, though, as it looked as if the players were both pulling on each other.

55’ — And once more Coman outpaces Hertha’s defense only to send the ball into the penalty area about ten feet behind Goretzka, his only target in a red shirt.

52’ — Coman makes another dazzling run from outside into Hertha’s penalty area, but the end product just won’t come today. Hertha manages to put bodes between the ball and its target.

49’ — GOAL for Bayern! Just like that, the Reds break through! Dropping deep to receive the ball, Lewandowski picks out James ahead of him to his right. James makes a beautifully timed one-touch pass to send the ball ahead into Gnabry’s path as he charges the goal. Gnabry finishes it perfectly to earn a brace.

Second half kickoff! — The ball rolls again... There seems to be some confusion at kickoff. Leon Goretzka made as if to kick off for Bayern, but somehow Hertha ended up with a free kick. Anyway, the ball rolled out of bounds and Ulreich takes a goal kick. Strange.

Halftime observations

  • Bayern has dominated Hertha, logging 71% possession in the first half, but the score is what it is. Max Mittelstädt’s goal for Hertha has kept the hosts in the game.
  • Serge Gnabry has been outstanding on Bayern’s right flank. He has been a real x-factor, outmaneuvering Hertha’s defense and striking with speed.
  • Kingsley Coman has likewise fared well on the left. It’s unfortunate that none of his crosses have led to a goal.
  • With the exception of Mittelstädt’s surprise goal, Bayern’s defense has been pretty solid. The midfield has done most of the work, though: Hertha just hardly can get the ball forward at all.

45’ — Gnabry breaks away up the right side and delivers yet another killer cross. But it flies just out of Lewandowski’s reach right in front of the goal.

Niko Kovac and Hasan Salihamidzic give the fourth official a piece of their mind after the halftime whistle blows.

44’ — James takes a shot over the goal after Hertha wards off a dangerous cross by Coman.

42’ — Grujic bowls over Thiago, but sees no card for it.

41’ — Kimmich is furious with the referee who calls a foul on him just as he breaks past his man on the right flank. It isn’t obvious that Kimmich brought him down at all.

38’ — James appeals in vain for a handball after shooting the ball into Lazaro at point blank range. Moments later, Hummels goes down in a scrum in front of the net, but the referee doesn’t think twice about it. The game goes on.

36’ — Free kick for Bayern as Coman is fouled outside the penalty area on the left. James overhits the ball, sending it out of reach on the opposite side.

35’ — Ibisevic sniffs a rare opportunity inside Bayern’s penalty arc, but he is swarmed by red shirts and promptly dispossessed.

33’ — Hertha has seen a little bit of the ball, but each of their possessions ended with wild passes forward into no-man’s-land. Joshua Kimmich takes umbrage to a hard challenge by Skjelbred that knocks him down. Once the play is over he confronts the defender and gives him a piece of his mind.

28’ — The game briefly looks like an MLS match, as Hertha and Bayern take turns heading the ball back and forth across the midfield. Bayern doesn’t seem particularly concerned about Hertha retaining possession.

26’ — Gnabry takes a long-range shot from center-right, forcing Jarstein to make yet another save.

24’ — Ouch: James inadvertently hits Per Skjelbred full in the face with the ball. After a moment on the grass, he finally is dragged to his feet and back into the game.

23’ — David Alaba and Coman create a magnificent one-two, bypassing Hertha’s defense completely. Alaba delivers a perfect cross right across the face of the goal, but nobody’s home to collect the call. What a shame.

20’ — Gnabry goes for seconds: the forward outmaneuvers Marvin Plattenhardt on the right and shoots, forcing Jarstein to make a fast save, conceding a corner.

17’ — Mats Hummels takes an unlikely shot. Finding himself in possession outside the penalty area, he shifts the ball onto his left foot and shoots. It takes a deflection off of a Hertha player and rolls tantalizingly close to the right post while Jarstein dives left. But it rolls wide.

16’ — Grujic hammers Thiago, knocking him down on a needlessly hard challenge. No card though!

14’ — The game is getting feisty, as the teams trade tackles in a frantic midfield battle.

11’ — Another dangerous ball floats right by an unmarked Coman off a set piece.

10’ — Kingsley Coman makes a run into the penalty area on the left, winning a corner for Bayern. The corner kick creates a scramble in front of th enet, but Hertha eventually clears the danger. Bayern has them on their heels.

8’ — GOAL for Bayern! Bayern strikes back! Serge Gnabry starts an attack on the right. Kimmich delivers a cross in for Lewandowski. The Pole cannot collect the ball, but Gnabry steams unmarked into the area and fires the rebound into the net. Game on!

3’ — GOAL for Hertha! Just incredible. Rune Jarstein punts the ball up the field. Mittelstädt intecepts the ball and runs a fast one-two with Solomon Kalou before shooting it past Hummels and Ulreich into the net.

2’ — Yellow card: Leon Goretzka. Goretzka is brought down in the penalty area and promptly booked for diving. On the replay, however, Rekik can clearly be seen striking Goretzka’s foot just before it touches the ground, causing him to fall. The referee got it wrong.

kickoff! — The ball is rolling. Hertha begin in possession, as captain Vedad Ibisevic kicks off.

One hour before kickoff: We have lineups! James Rodriguez starts once again, and Serge Gnabry is finally back on the starting lineup. Let’s see how this team performs.

Whenever Bayern Munich face Hertha Berlin, I am reminded of this meme video by OnlyAfro from 2013, which you’ve probably ever heard of unless you’re a fan of Dark Souls. Check it out, it’s peak 2013 memeage and also describes Berlin to a T.

Now that Borussia Dortmund has crashed out of the Pokal against Werder Bremen of all teams, it would be a huge boost if Niko Kovac’s men could get past Berlin, but that’s easier said than done. Bayern will be missing Arjen Robben, Corentin Tolisso, and Renato Sanches for this game, and potentially Manuel Neuer as well depending on the severity of his hand injury.

That being said, Thiago Alcantara and Franck Ribery have both returned from injury, and should be available for selection. That, along with a lineup consisting of Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller, and Leon Goretzka should at least put a dent in the Berlin wall. It’s going to be a battle to win the game, because Berlin will be looking to take it to penalties and win it there.

It’s Bayern time.

Match Info

Location: Olympiastadion, Berlin, Germany

Time: 8:45 pm local time, 2:45 am EST

TV/streaming:, Find Your Country

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