…Or how steal a game of football from a poor team…
I’ll be honest up front – if you didn’t like my previous match reports (such as this one from the last round of the cup), then stop reading now. But first click to ‘like’ this on Facebook, so I get a better range of criticism than usual…
Anyway, the earliest I could leave work was six, and the seven pm kick off (so they could televise the Stuttgart – Bayern game after) meant that it was always going to be a struggle to get to the ground. And I did not disappoint…
I actually arrived with five minutes to spare, but by the time I got through the large security queue (can no one arrive at games on time, eh?), went to the toilet, went to the bar and wandered almost half-way around the stadium to get to my place, I had missed the first twenty minutes.
Apparently I hadn’t missed much.
Gladbach, who are in fourth place in the league, three points behind leaders Dortmund, were always going to be favourites, with their solid defence, quick counter-attacks and the hugely impressive Marco Reus, but nothing of much importance or interest happened in the first half.
To be honest, I spent most of the first half (the whole twenty-five minutes that I was there) in shock that they had real beer in the stadium! I was so excited I bought a litre of it. Why not – it was cold and the bar was empty by the time I got in the stadium. And those who have read this before will know my thoughts on beer and football (for those new to the site, please see here).
The second half was slightly better. Hertha, who had spent most of the game not doing much, strung a few passes together and managed to boss the game for about five minutes, a spell in which ter Stegen made a good save and Hertha hit the woodwork. Gladbach’s impressive attack was busy, but without really threatening much.
I spent most of the second half (well, when not shivering, drinking beer or bouncing my feet on the ground to try and get the feeling back in my toes) watching players diving to the ground. As an Englishman, it is frustrating how easily, and with how much drama, players in Germany throw themselves to the ground. I know I have mentioned this before, but it bloody annoys me. And I know it happens in England also, but I honestly think it is a lot more cynical in Germany.
The beer was Carlsberg, by the way. Ironic in a country with a great brewing tradition, but, to my English readers, I promise it actually tastes like beer in Germany.
Back to the diving, sorry. I got distracted by beer. I spent the other part of the second half (when not doing the stuff I mentioned above – keep up!) laughing at my mate and his brother. My mate is a huge Hertha fan, and, no matter how logical the decisions the referee made (and they often weren’t logical, a prime example of which will be mentioned soon), he jumped to his feet to abuse either the referee or a Gladbach player. In the background, his brother was shouting at him, telling him that he was wrong. Like I said, it was a poor game, but that was genuinely funny…
Here’s a picture:
So, I think, with it being so cold, no one wanted extra time. But they would not get to have a say in the matter. I got another beer.
The first half half of extra time wasn’t really great either. Gladbach play best on the counter-attack, and Hertha weren’t really throwing anyone forward for Gladbach to punish.
Towards the end of the first half of extra time, de Camargo, who was brought on for Gladbach, was outmuscled for a through ball and went down. A free kick was given to Hertha for the challenge, and I turned away.
When I turned back, the referee was pointing at the spot and all hell was breaking loose near the centre circle.
As I was sat mainly among Hertha fans (there were actually a lot of Gladbach fans dotted throughout the stadium, including some Gladbach flags in areas which are nominally home areas), the opinion was nothing had happened and that the Gladbach player had dived after a confrontation.
As this site is nothing if not bastard interactive, I’ll let you decide what happened:
de Camargo headbutted Hubnik. Penalty for de Camargo, red card for Hubnik. You couldn’t make it up.
I asked a prominent Hertha fan on the way home what he thought of the decision: “We were robbed. Fucking referee… Yeah, we can piss over there… Tell your readers that we were robbed. He stole that from us.”
Naturally, Gladbach captain Filip Daems scored the penalty. Hertha threw a few more players forward, and the sub Ramos (who is very Shola-like) was played through, turned the last defender, and blazed over with a shot that genuinely threatened to dislodge the snow on the roof of the Olympiastadion. Gladbach then took advantage of Hertha’s desperate attacks to break, and Oscar Wendt finished smartly in the 120th minute, a minute after coming on as a substitute.
Not a deserved scoreline. Gladbach edged it on quality, but it was a poor game, and Hertha have now lost four on the bounce under their new manager.
But, at least they had real beer! Woohoo! Beer! Even if it was Carlsberg…
Hertha: Kraft; Morales, Hubnik, Mijatovic, Kobiashvili (Ronny); Ebert, Ottl (Ramos), Niemeyer, Lustenberger (Bastians); Raffael; Lasogga
Gladbach: ter Stegen; Daems, Brouwers, Dante, Nordveit; Hermann (de Camargo), Neustädter, Arango, Jantschke, Reus (Marx); Hanke (Wendt)