2014/15 German Bundesliga, 2014/2015 German Bundesliga
  • Valentin Stocker (68')
  • Nico Schulz (88')

Hertha win creates breathing room

Hertha Berlin took a potentially decisive step away from the Bundesliga's relegation zone with a 2-0 win over Paderborn, whose top-flight future now looks bleak.
Valentin Stocker put Hertha ahead midway through the second half when the game finally burst into life following a tense opening 45 minutes.
Hertha could have made things more comfortable before Nico Schulz added a second late on to secure the three points and take them eight clear of their opponents and seven above the relegation zone with seven games of the season remaining.
It was dubbed a relegation six-pointer with Paderborn aware they could narrow the gap significantly on their hosts with victory, but something appeared to be blocking both sides in a tense first half.
There was nothing in the way of goalmouth action and little to suggest either side was going to be capable of carving out chances in the second half either.
Suddenly, midway through the second half, Salomon Kalou tried to invent something, dribbling his way past one defender before being fouled by the second.
It proved to be a costly free-kick to give away as Marvin Plattenhardt's effort was touched onto the crossbar by Lukas Kruse, falling to Stocker who drilled the loose ball into the roof of the net from close range.
The goal spurred Paderborn into action and, within minutes, they had their first real chance of the game with Hertha keeper Thomas Kraft taking Mario Vrancic's shot right in his face, but importantly managing to keep the ball out.
Gaps opened up and Kalou was particularly keen to exploit them, skipping past another Paderborn defender before seeing his shot deflected wide by a last-ditch tackle.
Kalou then sent Genki Haraguchi through on goal, but the Japanese forward sent his shot wide with Schulz up in support and unmarked to his left.
The next time Schulz found some room, he was also found by his team-mate with Peter Pekarik's cross met by the Hertha substitute at the far post, and he headed in the Old Lady's second to ease the nerves and secure the points, even though Alban Meha hit the post for Paderborn at the death.

German Bundesliga Standings