Borussia Dortmund weren’t brilliant by any means against second place Hertha Berlin in the German Bundesliga and without the likes of Marco Reus, Sokratis, Lukasz Piszczek and Andre Schurrle they are seemingly starting to struggle again against tough opposition.
Valentin Stocker opened the scoring soon after the start of the second half after a sublime backheel pass from Vedad Ibisevic and then finally after missing a penalty, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang finally grabbed a goal back for Dortmund in the 80th minute thanks to a delightful cross field pass from Ousmane Dembele.
When Dortmund finally got going in the match and started to show signs of life, Hertha Berlin decided to respond with extreme uses of excessive force to get their way. At every moment they could, Berlin’s players would break up play by giving away needless fouls. The most blatant of which came when Sebastian Langkamp hung on to Emre Mor giving him a bear hug for a good ten seconds. Frustrated with the stupidity of Langkamp, Mor decided to take his frustration out and slightly nudge Langkamp back a peg, who then threw himself on the ground as if he had been hit by a train. The referee however decided to wrongly send Mor off for what he must have thought was violent conduct while Langkamp laughed off his yellow card as he returned to his feet. The correct decision in this instance would have been for Langkamp to get a yellow card for holding and then another yellow card for embellishment, with Mor escaping without a booking because all he did was touch Langkamp on the chest. Instead Mor was sent off and Langkamp was left to laugh about it. Shortly thereafter the constant fouling continued but grew uglier as Alexander Esswein tripped up Dortmund’s star man at the moment Ousmane Dembele and then purposefully stamped on his shoulder as he lay on the ground. Instead of receiving a red card as he would have deserved, Esswein was allowed to remain on the pitch without any retrospective action being taken. Not even a minute after that, Matthias Ginter made a brilliant interception to stop a 3 against 1 Berlin counter-attack and then surged forward like a man on a mission. Unfortunately, his run was quickly ended when Valentin Stocker, scorer of Hertha Berlin’s goal, decided to try and break Matthias Ginter’s leg with the most blatant red card tackle I have ever seen live and finally was rightly sent off.
In the end as Dortmund’s players hobbled around the field in the final few minutes to try and hold on to their point, the referee blew his final whistle and the match ended 1-1. The German FA will undoubtedly have to take a serious look at the Esswein stamp, Langkamp dive and Stocker leg-breaker and decide what to do with these horrific incidents but in the mean time, Hertha Berlin are now my new least favourite team (after Arsenal).
The acts of violence by Hertha Berlin were not enough to stop Borussia Dortmund from scoring nor are they what caused this match to end a draw so Thomas Tuchel will have to take a very serious look at his side in the upcoming days and figure out what to do with all of the injuries his team has. For now, Dortmund will sit in third place in the table one point behind Hertha Berlin as Bayern Munich continue to run riot over everyone else.