Sandro Schwarz watched the final minutes of the game almost without emotion. Arms crossed in front of his chest, the coach looked at the field with a rigid expression and saw how Hertha BSC surrendered to his fate away from home.
"Today was a used day," said Schwarz after the 4-1 (0-2) loss at Bayer Leverkusen: "It wasn't a good performance over the 90 minutes. We totally deserved the loss."
Once again - because Hertha remains a welcome guest away from home. The defeat in Leverkusen was the seventh defeat in a row on foreign pitches. 14th place after 23 match days is deceptive for coach Sandro Schwarz's team, as Hertha is only one point ahead of bottom-placed VfL Bochum. And the two teams directly behind her also have a better goal difference.
Schwarz: "We missed everything today"
The two interim home wins did not turn out to be the hoped-for turning points. "Today we missed everything that we showed in the last games," complained Schwarz. He began to list the shortcomings and almost never stopped. "We didn't have enough access, too little intensity, too little courage to defend consistently. We left gaps, had large gaps, made a few positional mistakes, and the behavior in the chain wasn't compact." With all this, Leverkusen "played in the cards".
Captain Marvin Plattenhardt was also frustrated and wasn't suspected of trying to sugarcoat anything. "Overall, we didn't create enough game shares and had almost no chances to score. That's not enough from the whole team, we have to improve on that next week," said Plattenhardt: "Today we lost clearly, that wasn't a good game by us, it has to be said clearly."
Leverkusen strong from the start
Leverkusen, on the other hand, showed impressively that they have not yet put an end to the fight for Europe despite the completely screwed up first third of the season. With one of the best performances under coach Xabi Alonso, the Werkself put in a successful dress rehearsal for the first leg of the Europa League round of 16 against Ferencvaros Budapest on Thursday. "It was one of our better games, if not the best game of the season," said goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky, who was largely unemployed. "It was a complete performance from us," said Alonso: "I hope we can confirm that."
Striker Sardar Azmoun (12th minute), who scored his first goal of the season in the 1-1 draw in Freiburg last week, gave Bayer the lead. The initially outstanding Jeremie Frimpong, who had prepared the 1-0, quickly followed up (21st). His substitution after almost half an hour due to a muscle injury in his right thigh initially seemed to be the downer. As he hasn't suffered a serious injury, he should be able to play against Budapest. Moussa Diaby (60') and Amine Adli (73'), who had just come on as a substitute, went on in the second half. Hertha's goal through Dodi Lukebakio's tenth goal of the season (67', penalty kick) was no longer the turning point.
Bayer was present from the start, active - and was rewarded early on. Once again, it was the high-speed duo on the right that initiated the win. After that there was little resistance from Hertha.