Marvin Plattenhardt’s mastery of the dead ball was all the difference for Hertha BSC as he scored one and laid on another in a 2-0 win over SV Darmstadt 98.
Hertha BSC 2-0 SV Darmstadt 98
Goals: 1-0 Plattenhardt (53’), 2-0 Kalou (66’)
The capital club were in the driver’s seat from the outset, enjoying a wide advantage in possession and keeping the ball in Darmstadt’s half for most of the half. Still, Hertha had trouble making that dominance pay. Niklas Stark had a free close-range header in the 11th minute which he put wide, and Valentin Stocker and Salomon Kalou too had chances of their own that were left wanting. Jan Rosenthal had a good chance to put the Lilies on top on one of their rare forays forward, but a critical block from Marvin Plattenhardt sent his shot off target.
It was Plattenhardt who broke the deadlock with a gem of a free kick in the 53rd minute. The left back struck the ball masterfully from nearly 30 meters, bending it over the wall and inside the top corner. The goalscorer turned set-up man in the 66th minute when he put a free kick he’d won on the left wing on a platter for Salomon Kalou to nod home from close range.
Man of the match
Scoring a goal and setting up another is always hard to look past, but Plattenhardt’s contribution was worthy of particular praise. The hard-nosed Darmstadt did plenty to keep the game from taking off, and without the fullback’s dead-ball opener it may never have done so.
Hertha reversed a two-match losing run in this game, and picked a fine time to do it. Werder’s late equaliser at Hoffeheim meant the three points the capital club earned here were enough to spend the winter break alone in third.
- Hertha put a stop to their two-match scoreless streak; Darmstadt’s own such streak now stands at four games.
- Plattenhardt’s goal was his second of the season and sixth in his Bundesliga career. All have come from free kicks.
- Hertha outshot their visitors 15 to 5.
Hertha:Jarstein – Pekarik, Lustenberger, Stark, Plattenhardt – Hegeler, Skjelbred – Stocker (Allagui 79), Darida (Esswein 82’), Kalou (Haraguchi 90’) – Ibisevic (c)
Coach: Pal Dardai
Darmstadt: Esser – Fedetskiy, Niemeyer, Sulu (c), Holland – Gondorf, Vrancic (Jungwirth 77’) – Sirigu, Rosenthal (Bezjak 71’), Heller – Schipplock (Ben-Hatira 67’)
Coach: Ramon Berndroth