Bayern Munich return to the top of the Bundesliga table while all but confirming Hertha Berlin’s relegation to the 2. Bundesliga with a 2-0 win at the Allianz Arena. Bayern had not dropped points to a side bottom of the league since 2014, when they were held to a draw against Hamburg, and until the 69th minute this statistic seemed to have been nothing but history.
However, two Joshua Kimmich assists saved the Rekordmeister from missing out on the opportunity to leapfrog Borussia Dortmund at the summit of the Bundesliga table. Goals from Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman may be significant in the title race and at the foot of the table.
The last time Hertha beat Bayern in Munich in the Bundesliga was in 1977, and with them unable to end their humiliating record away at the record champions, relegation is feeling inevitable for the capital club.
Hertha Berlin’s race is run
After defeat to Bayern Munich Hertha Berlin now find themselves six points away from safety with just four league games left. Die Alte Dame have symbolised everything that is wrong with modern football in recent years. Despite the takeover and influx of investment from Lars Windhorst, the Old Lady have failed to establish themselves as a competitive side in the Bundesliga. Instead, they have had to endure watching their city rivals surpass them as the best side in Berlin, while they fight for the privilege of being a Bundesliga side.
While Hertha will take the positives of being able to frustrate Bayern for 70 minutes of this game, in truth, they looked like a second division side for 90 minutes. Die Alte Dame were able to hold firm until midway through the second half, but they could only muster up two attempts on goal compared to Bayern’s 26. Their xG of 0.09 was dwarfed by the 2.84 put up by Bayern. The record champions also made 692 passes compared to Hertha’s 105 and while this may be expected, only 58% of the 105 passess were successful. These are numbers that one would expect to see from a second or third division side, hoping to find some luck in the early rounds of the DFB-Pokal. Instead, they are numbers from a Bundesliga side, who ultimately do not deserve to be in the same league as Bayern.
The investment from 777 may still be available to the capital club in Germany’s second tier. However, there is a lot of work to be done to resolve the issues at the club and in the squad. They have proved already that money does not solve problems and this summer may prove to be the most significant in the club’s history.
The Bayern DNA is nowhere to be seen
Prior to kick off Bayern knew that three points at home to bottom of the table Hertha Berlin would send them back to the top of the Bundesliga with just four games left of the season. However, in a fashion that has become all too familiar this season, they struggled to break down their opponent. While Hertha arrived at the Allianz Arena with a game plan to frustrate Bayern, the three points should never have been as strenuous as it was to earn. Once again this season, Thomas Tuchel’s side looked uninspiring and in ineffective in the final third.
This was reflected in the atmosphere around the Allianz Arena, with the Bayern faithful letting their feelings be known at half time. As the second half played out, Hertha’s resistance would fall. The engulfing Bayern pressure on Oliver Christensen’s goal would see Serge Gnabry settle the nerves, before Kingsley Coman wrapped the game up.
However, it was far from straightforward for Bayern. A characteristic that is renowned with Bayern is that of an unstoppable striker leading the line. Whether that be Robert Lewandowski, Mario Gómez or Gerd Müller, Bayern are not Bayern without a number nine. A failure to replace Lewandowski this campaign has led to Bayern losing a sense of identity and they have looked lost without a main man up top.
As well as this, when the side are struggling the only player that can often lift this side is is Joshua Kimmich, with Thomas Müller inseparable with the bench in recent weeks. While Kimmich’s assists rescued Bayern today, without players around him to lift the side, the professionalism of the Bayern DNA is nowhere else to be seen. Another Meisterschale may return, but is the dominance of Bayern in the Bundesliga coming to an end?
Dodi Lukebakio has put himself in the shop window
With Hertha Berlin’s departure from Germany’s top flight imminent, one player may not have to face life in the 2. Bundesliga. Dodi Lukebakio has been instrumental in everything positive Hertha Berlin produce. The Belgian international has collected 11 goals and one assist so far this campaign in which only six players have scored more goals than Hertha’s talisman.
This record is made significantly more remarkable considering how hapless Hertha have been in front of goal this campaign. Lukebakio has contributed to 31% of goals Die Alte Dame have scored this season; only Niclas Füllkrug has contributed more to their side this season with 33%. Lukebakio’s importance to this side was highlighted even more against Bayern, with the record champion’s defence struggling to deal with his pace and power on the counter attack. With four successful dibbles, only Musiala and Coman could better Lukebakio, whose performance was bound to impress those watching.
If Hertha do go down, he should be at the top of many Bundesliga clubs transfer lists as his ability and goalscoring prowess in Germany’s top flight is far too impressive to be overlooked by those in need of attacking reinforcement. He has been a guiding light in the darkest of times for the Hertha faithful this season, and he deserves another shot at Bundesliga football.
GGFN | Will Shopland