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Plea’s penalty enough for three points against Hertha

Borussia continued their strong start to the Bundesliga campaign, edging out Hertha Berlin 1-0 in matchday 3’s opening fixture to go top of the table on Friday night.

Just shy of 50,000 fans were at BORUSSIA-PARK and saw an entertaining first half, with Alassane Plea hitting the post in the early stages. Both teams had good chances to open the scoring, but it was a penalty that ultimately broke the deadlock for the Foals following a handball, tucked away by Plea after 34 minutes. The game lost its tempo after the change of ends and didn’t pick up pace until the final 20 minutes or so. Another spot-kick was awarded to Gladbach, which also saw the visitors reduced to ten men when Filip Uremovic was shown a second yellow for his handball. However, Jonas Hofmann was unable to beat Oliver Christensen from twelve yards leading to a tense ending, but Borussia were able to see out the one-goal lead to build their points tally after three games to seven, and sit top of the Bundesliga for one night at least.

TEAM NEWS

Head coach Daniel Farke named an unchanged side for the third consecutive matchday. Joe Scally, Ko Itakura, Nico Elvedi and Ramy Bensebaini started in defence ahead of Yann Sommer. Christoph Kramer partnered Manu Koné in the centre of midfield and Jonas Hofmann, Florian Neuhaus and Alassane Plea played in front of them. Marcus Thuram was selected as the lone striker.

Captain Lars Stindl returned to the matchday squad after recovering from his thigh problem, meaning Farke had everyone possible available to him.

FIRST-HALF HIGHLIGHTS

3’: Hertha with the first chance of the game. Lukebakio uses his pace to get in behind and fires a wayward shot wide of the target.

7’: Almost! A long ball from Itakura towards Thuram is played through to Plea. His shot is bound for the bottom corner, before a crucial deflection off the boot of Kempf sends the ball onto the post and away to safety.

17’: A huge chance for Borussia. Hofmann’s corner is directed goalwards by Elvedi and Christensen reacts well to parry on the line. The loose ball falls to Thuram and he tries to poke it home, but the ball is luckily blocked by the prone Hertha keeper.

21’: Here come Hertha again. Ejuke is away after a slip from Scally and shoots from 25 yards. Sommer watches it all the way and gets two strong hands behind it.

25’: Another good save from Sommer as he pushes away Lukebakio’s curling effort at full stretch.

34’: The opener for Borussia! Mittelstädt blocks Hofmann’s cross with his arm inside the box and a penalty is awarded straightaway. Plea steps up and has enough power in his spot-kick to beat Christensen to his right. 1-0 to Gladbach.

43’: Kanga produces an acrobatic overhead kick inside the box. It’s more or less straight at Sommer though and he is able to hold onto the ball.

45+1’: Elvedi bravely meets Hofmann’s free-kick with his head, but the ball flies a yard wide of the goal.

SECOND-HALF HIGHLIGHTS

56’: The first chance of the half is a dangerous one from Hertha. Lukebakio is running at goal from an angle and looks for Kanga in the six-yard box, but Itakura comes across and makes a crucial interception.

63’: Hofmann runs onto a long ball and brilliantly chips Christensen. The goal won’t stand though – the flag correctly goes up for offside.

70’: Uremovic blocks a corner with his hand and this time VAR is required before the penalty is given. The Hertha defender is shown a second yellow card, reducing the visitors to ten men. The resulting spot-kick is taken by Hofmann, but Christensen guesses the right way and keeps it out.

82’: Bensebaini slips Thuram in behind. The angle is against him though and Christensen is able to come out and block the Frenchman’s shot.

88’: A close call late on as Jovetic’s shot across goal is only just missed at the back post by Boateng.

MATCH FACTS

Borussia: Sommer – Scally, Itakura, Elvedi, Bensebaini – Kramer, Koné – Hofmann (90+1’ Wolf), Neuhaus (90+6’ Friedrich), Plea (90+4’ Herrmann) – Thuram // Unused: Sippel, Jantschke, Lainer, Netz, Borges Sanches, Stindl

Hertha: Christensen – Kenny, Uremovic, Kempf, Mittelstädt – Sunjic (57. Boetius), Tousart (83. Selke), Serdar (83. Boateng) – Lukebakio, Kanga (72. Jovetic), Ejuke (72. Dardai) // Bank: Ernst, Pekarik, Darida, Richter

Goals: 1-0 Plea (34’, pen.)

Attendance: 48,411

Yellow cards: Herrmann – Uremovic

Red cards: Uremovic (69’)

Referee: Dr. Matthias Jöllenbeck

Alassane Plea's deflected shot his the post early on
Plea converted a penalty for his first goal of the season
Jonas Hofmann was unable to score from a second-half spot-kick

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Farke: “We’re very much on the right path”

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