Dortmund claim hard fought victory against Hertha

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Borussia Dortmund took all three points on Saturday evening to end Hertha Berlin’s unbeaten record since the resumption of the Bundesliga season.

A 58th minute goal from stand-in centre back Emre Can gave Dortmund the victory after a stern performance from Hertha’s defence, particularly in the first half.

Hertha offered little going forward however, and never really looked like scoring.

Dortmund’s intricate possession play often struggled for end product, but managed to grind down Hertha sufficiently to manage a vital goal to give them the win.

The Jadon Sancho and Achraf Hakimi axis down the right hand side was back again for Dortmund, and showed early promise in the eighth minute as a one-two between the players put through Hakimi, who crashed a shot into the side netting.

And it was Dortmund who continued to command early proceedings, carving out another half chance in the 21st minute.

A Raphael Guerreiro cross found its way to Thorgan Hazard at the far post and while the Belgian controlled the ball with grace, he sliced his shot wildly into the stands.

And just a minute later, Julian Brandt was guilty of wasting another opening as he blasted high and wide from the edge of the area after turning past his marker.

Despite generally being in control of the game – with 61 per cent possession in the first 30 minutes – Dortmund struggled to properly break down a stubborn Hertha.

Both Dedryck Boyata and Jordan Torunarigha put in solid displays in the centre of defence, with Hertha looking very much the side that has kept three clean sheets in four games since the restart.

The second half started much the same way with Dortmund on top, and they finally managed to carve out a clear opportunity in the 51st minute.

A flowing move found Hakimi once again bursting towards the byline. The Moroccan wide-man slid the ball across the six yard box to Hazard who tapped it back for Sancho, but somehow the young Englishman managed to side-foot the ball wide with the goal at his mercy.

While Dortmund continued to keep up the pressure, they were fired a warning shot from Hertha as Alexander Esswein found a pocket of space behind the defence. His shot from just inside the box flew narrowly past the far post.

The pressure on Hertha finally told though, with Can getting the crucial breakthrough for Dortmund. A clipped ball forward from Sancho found the head of Brandt, whose knock down dropped perfectly for Can to slide the ball into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.

Despite going a goal behind, Hertha continued to focus on defence and restricted Dortmund to few openings.

Sancho finally managed to unpick the Hertha defence in the 88th minute with a dazzling run into the area. A one-two with Guerreiro set him up with the goal at his mercy once again, but he was denied by a sprawling block from goalkeeper Rune Jarstein.

The result gives Dortmund a seven point cushion over fifth, with their place in the top four looking ever more secure. Hertha, meanwhile, failed to close the gap on sixth placed Hoffenheim in the Europa League spot after they dropped points earlier in the day.

Borussia Dortmund: Burki, Pisczek, Can, Akanji, Hakimi, Witsel (Balerdi 80), Delaney, Guerreiro (Schmelzer 90), Brandt (Reyna 68), Hazard (Morey 79), Sancho

Hertha Berlin: Jarstein, Pekarik, Boyata, Torunarigha, Mittelstadt, Grujic (Maier 88), Skjelbred (Piatek 62), Lukebakio (Ngankam 46), Darida, Dilrosun (Esswein 30 (Samardzic 88), Ibisevic

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