Header Image Source: Hertha BSC
Vedad Ibisevic scored his second goal in as many games to inspire Hertha BSC to a famous 4-0 win in the Berlin derby on Friday.
Hertha BSC have won back-to-back games against Hoffenheim and Union Berlin respectively since the arrival of Bruno Labbadia in April.
The Old Lady climbed into 10th place and moved eleven points clear of the relegation play-off.
Labbadia made a bold decision by dropping £21.6m signing Krzysztof Piatek against Hoffenheim on Saturday, May 16.
Ibisevic, who had played just 714 minutes in the Bundesliga prior to the trip to the PreZero Arena, marked his return to the side with his first league goal since October.
An own goal from Hoffenheim defender Kevin Akpoguma and a phenomenal solo goal from Matheus Cunha sealed a comprehensive 3-0 win.
It was perhaps the most surprising result of Match Day 26 but they produced another outstanding performance against Union Berlin on Friday.
Union Berlin defended resolutely during the first half and reduced Hertha BSC to limited opportunities. Ralf Gikiewicz made a string of important saves and the Iron Ones played with a compact defence and midfield to stifle the attacking threat of Dodi Lukebakio, Cunha and Ibisevic.
Hertha BSC emerged from the interval with an electrifying attacking intent and Ibisevic found the breakthrough on 51 minutes with an unerring header. The timing of his run was perfect and Marvin Plattenhardt found him with a beautifully weighted cross to the near post.
They immediately regained possession from the kick-off and Ibisevic sent Lukebakio one-on-one with Gikiewicz with a sweeping through ball from inside his own half. The former Watford winger simply rounded the goalkeeper and tucked a textbook finish into the net.
Ibisevic was cruelly denied an assist after the ball was deemed to be diverted into the path of Lukebakio via a deflection off Florian Hubner. However, he registered his first assist of the evening when he set-up Matheus Cunha for the third.
The 35-year-old had just 25 touches in the Berlin derby, which highlighted his impact on the game. He is an expert at preserving his energy for the decisive moments, which is crucial for a player of his age.
If Ibisevic continues his rich vein of form then Piatek may struggle to regain his place in the starting line-up. Piatek has regressed since his incredible 2018/19 campaign, which finished with 30 goals in 41 appearances for Genoa and AC Milan respectively.
Piatek has failed to score a single goal from open play in the Bundesliga since making his €27 million move from AC Milan. His only goal came from the spot in a 3-3 draw at Fortuna Dusseldorf to complete a remarkable comeback on Friday, February 28.
Ibisevic is yet to sign a new contract with his current deal set to expire at the end of the season.
“Nothing has been decided yet,” general manager Michael Preetz revealed.
Preetz added: “Every player is invited to show himself off, particularly now that we have a new coaching team.
The former Bosnia & Herzegovina international joined Hertha BSC from VfB Stuttgart on a free transfer in July 2016.
He’s scored 54 goals in 152 appearances for the Old Lady and a further 107 goals for Hoffenheim (54), VfB Stuttgart (47) and Alemannia Aachen (6).