The Old Lady took an early lead through Andriy Voronin (38), to which the visitors responded with a Miroslav Klose effort (61). The final 20 minutes were fought hard, but Voronin completed his brace in the 77th minute to give Hertha a well-deserved win. Their loss means that Bayern remain third in the table, but just two points off first place.
Following Hoffenheim’s 4-1 defeat to Leverkusen on Friday, both Hertha and Bayern entered today’s match with the chance to take first place with a win.
The afternoon started well for hosts Hertha as Pal Dardai, and Arne Friedrich passed late fitness tests and featured in Lucien Favre’s starting eleven. Consequently, Lucien Favre made four changes to the side that drew 1-1 against Arminia Bielefeld last week, as Cicero, Kaka, Leandro Cufre and Steven von Bergen made way for their fit-again teammates, as well as Marko Babic and Rodnei. Marko Pantelic, however, was kept
on the bench.
On the other side, Juergen Klinsmann kept faith in the eleven that earned a 3-1 win against Dortmund a week ago.
Early on, Bayern won the majority of possession but were thwarted by a well-organised Hertha defence. There was almost never the opportunity to break, and whenever Bayern set up an attack, the home team clogged the passing lanes in front of goal.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â
Hertha, for their little time on possession, did manage to reveal weaknesses in the Bayern defence, but were unable to capitalise. The Bayern back-line made a number of risky moves and the midfield was perhaps too lax in its defending half. Hertha’s offence was uninspired, however, and lacked the precision to earn a good effort on goal.
Bayern were hardly better off. Their best opportunity of the half came in the 27th minute, when a low Franck Ribery free-kick was blocked and Martin Demichelis’ 10-metre follow-up was similarly stopped by a grid-like assortment of Hertha defenders.
Three minutes later, a stroke of brilliance in an otherwise dull half saw Hertha come within inches of taking the lead. Following a corner, Dardai reached a loose ball at the edge of the box and volleyed to the lower left corner of goal. Ze Roberto was aptly placed on the goal-line, however, and made a terrific save with his legs.
With Hertha smelling blood, the match began to gather some pace. At the other end, Bastian Schweinsteiger curled a tantalising ball into the penalty area, where Luca Toni almost completely missed the header, leaving the ball to deflect wide. The Italian striker has been in horrendous form as of late, and Klinsmann hooked him moments later, opting to bring on Landon Donovan.
Donovan’s substitution had no immediate effect, however, as Bayern remained slow and without creativity, and their defence continued to show its flaws, particularly through its risky behaviour in front of goal.
Seven minutes before the half, the omens turned into shocking reality. In transition, Hertha right-winger Patrick Ebert lofted a long cross from the right side. Bayern defender Christian Lell followed the ball, but seemed to forget the presence of Andriy Voronin, who quickly cut inside the Bayern defender and nodded home from close range.
One would expect such a stunning opener to inject more life into the match, but today it had little effect. The first half ended with the score 1-0 in favour of the home side, leaving Bayern in the all-too-familiar position of having to mount a comeback in the second half.
Neither side elected to make changes at the break, and the opening minutes of the second period bore great resemblance to much of the play in the first half.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â
Ten minutes into the second period, however, Bayern had their own chance for a sudden shocker. Following a cross from the right side, Donovan headed firmly on goal, but Jaroslav Drobny made a great save to deny the American striker. Miroslav Klose was first to the rebound, but was called offside.
Their close call seemed to embolden Bayern, and three minutes later Tim Borowski came on for Lell. Philipp Lahm shifted to right-back, and Ze Roberto moved back to the left side of defence as Borowski took his position in left-central midfield.
Moments after Borowski’s substitution, Bayern finally equalised.Ã‚Â Following a corner kick, Lucio hammered a long-ranged effort towards Drobny’s goal. The Czech goalkeeper blocked the ball, but Bastian Schweinsteiger sent the rebound goalward, only to be denied by a fine reflex-save. The ball bounced off Schweinsteiger and Drobny once more before Miroslav Klose headed home the equaliser.
Following Bayern’s goal, Hertha remained poised to fight for the full three points. Maximilian Nicu led a fast break in the 65th minute, but his shot was blocked. The loose ball was recovered by Raffael at the edge of the box, but the Brazilian playmaker’s effort was over the bar.
Bayern, too, set out to score on the break, and came very close in the 71st minute. Franck Ribery dribbled well towards the Hertha penalty area, and slipped the ball through to Donovan, whose shot was once again saved by Drobny.
Bayern and Hertha entered the final quarter hour sensing victory. Both sides have been particularly dangerous in the closing minutes and, with first place the prize for winning, pressed on for the all-important final goal.
As it turned out, that goal belonged to Hertha. In the 77th minute, Raffael led the break and poked the ball through to Voronin, who fired past oncoming goalkeeper Michael Rensing.
Now with the lead, Hertha went into containment mode. Bayern set up camp in front of the home side’s goal, but were repeatedly denied, either by the outstanding Drobny or the referee’s whistle for a foul or offside. In the end, Hertha did what they do best: they scored a late winner, and closed to great effect.
1-0 Voronin (38)
1-1 Klose (61)
2-1 Voronin (77)
Raffael (85), Dardai (90)
Hertha Berlin: Drobny – Friedrich, Rodnei (Cufre, 87), Simunic, Stein – Ebert (Chermiti, 90), Dardai, Nicu, Babic – Raffael, Voronin (Domovchiyski, 90)
Bayern Munich: Rensing – Lell (Borowski, 58), Lucio, Demichelis, Lahm – Schweinsteiger, van Bommel, Ze Roberto, Ribery – Klose, Toni (Donovan, 35)