On Wednesday evening the third round of the DFB Pokal came to an end and the quarter final places were set in stone. In the earlier matches there were two chances for there to be some cup upsets, Hertha BSC had to travel to Bavaria in order to face 2.Bundesliga side Nürnberg.
Both teams went into the game in impressive form, Hertha sat in third place in the Bundesliga after their victory against Darmstadt on the weekend. In the last five matches Hertha have won four and picked up the one loss, however that can be forgiven considering it was against Bayern Munich.
For Nürnberg they’ve charged up the 2.Bundesliga in the last few months and have proved to be tough to beat. They haven’t lost since the start of October when they lost to league leaders RB Leipzig, following that loss they’ve gone on to stay unbeaten for nine matches and have won their last four.
The two teams had very different second round victories, Hertha squeezed through as they needed extra time to defeat 2.Bundesliga side FSV Frankfurt. Nürnberg had the pleasure of playing Fortuna Düsseldorf when they were struggling so Nürnberg cruised through with a 5-1 victory.
The capital club showed their quality
The first chance of the game fell in the way of the visitors, a perfectly weighted ball over the top from Per Ciljan Skjelbred played through Hertha’s dangerman Salomon Kalou. Sadly for Hertha’s fans Kalou couldn’t get an early opener as Raphael Schäfer came out to save before recovering and leaping onto the rebound that was heading towards goal.
Nürnberg looked promising when going forward and the first bit of chaos in the Hertha area saw Rune Jarstein make a mess of a long ball into the area. Guido Burgstaller received the ball and played a high cross towards Hanno Behrens, fortunately for Hertha they had defenders back to head away before a follow up effort was sliced well wide.
The hosts threatened with a good cross into the area from Burgstaller before the half hour mark and Jarstein dealt with the delivery much better this time around as he punched clear before anyone could head in.
Moments after that slight scare the Bundesliga side went ahead with a lovely team goal. Genki Haraguchi cut back onto his right to fire a cross from the left into Vedad Ibišević and the Bosnian provided a great flick to Vladimír Darida, who excellently slotted the ball past Schäfer at his near post for his fourth of the season.
After the games opener the game was halted due to Hertha fans letting of flares behind Jarstein’s goal.
That was the last of the first half action as Hertha showed their quality and comfortably controlled the game. The hosts would need to find a way to unsettle their top division guests in the second half.
The hosts quickly alerted Hertha in the opening few minutes of the second half, Alessandro Schöpf found Burgstaller and the forward fired from range, sadly it went a couple of yards wide, but the warning was there.
Hertha responded and a cross from Johannes van den Bergh fell all the way to Haraguchi, unfortunately the Japanese midfielder snatched at the chance and fired wide.
Nürnberg showed more commitment in the second half, nevertheless they really struggled to make the most of their attacks as they consistently broke down just outside Hertha’s area.
Hertha pushed for a second to pinback Der Club
Just after the hour mark Hertha came close to scoring a second, a corner was only cleared to Mitchell Weiser just inside the area and his low drive was brilliantly saved by Schäfer.
The resulting corner however did create the second for Hertha, Darida delivered an excellent corner for Anthony Brooks to get the better of Dave Bulthuis and head the ball across goal and into the bottom corner.
The visitors were comfortable with their two goal lead and this allowed Nürnberg to come into the game more. With the game ticking away Mišo Brečko tried his luck from range, Jarstein parried the effort but quickly gathered the ball.
The hosts thought they managed to grab a goal back eight minutes from time, a deep freekick into the area saw Bulthuis march into the area unmarked and his header from close range saw Jarstein pull off an incredible reaction save. Despite the brilliant save it wasn’t needed in the end as offside was awarded.
Nürnberg had the last chance of the game and sadly although it was a decent freekick Jarstein easily caught Niclas Füllkrug’s effort.
The 2.Bundesliga team gave it a good effort but ultimately they couldn’t break through Hertha’s defence and couldn’t stop their visitors from showing their higher attacking quality.
With a place in the quarter finals guaranteed Hertha can now turn their attention their last home match of 2015 as they welcome Mainz to Berlin. As for Nürnberg they can now focus on trying to earn promotion back into the Bundesliga and up next for them is a trip to Heidenheim.