Hertha Berlin 2 Bayern Munich 0: Champion stunned as Kovac suffers first defeat

Vedad Ibisevic and Ondrej Duda both struck in the opening 45 minutes as Hertha Berlin shocked Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga.

Published : Sep 29, 2018 07:48 IST

Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara.
Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara.

Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara.

Niko Kovac suffered his first loss in charge of Bayern Munich as the Bundesliga champion slipped to a concerning 2-0 loss away at Hertha Berlin on Friday.

Held to a 1-1 home draw by Augsburg in midweek, the return of Robert Lewandowski, James Rodriguez and a raft of regulars failed to prevent Bayern from dropping points for a second successive outing.

It was disjointed in defence and uncharacteristically wasteful in attack as Vedad Ibisevic's 23rd-minute penalty and a shot from Ondrej Duda on the stroke of half-time gave the home side its first victory against the Bavarian giant in 15 league meetings.

It added up to a forgettable homecoming for former Hertha player Kovac, who will expect a response to this mini slump when Bayern hosts Ajax in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Recalled as one of seven changes, Jerome Boateng's first major act was to nod a James corner agonisingly wide of the top corner.

His next, however, was a panicked challenge on Salomon Kalou that allowed Ibisevic to convert the opener, leaving Bayern rattled on the road.

Arjen Robben inexplicably turned David Alaba's low cross over the bar at point-blank range and the miss was punished a minute before the break, Duda emphatically meeting Valentino Lazaro's clever cut-back.

Boateng went close to reducing the deficit with another fine header beyond the hour but Thomas Kraft, deputising for the injured Rune Jarstein, reacted well to deny the Germany international.

Kovac threw on Thomas Muller, Serge Gnabry and Sandro Wagner in an ultimately fruitless search for a way back into his most alarming match in charge.

What it means: Rotate with caution

Bayern had won four straight and scored 11 in the Bundesliga prior to Kovac's decision to field a vastly altered side against Augsburg.

Held to a point on that occasion, it was defensively disorganised at Olympiastadion despite the return of its leading names, with the regular rotation at the back between Boateng, Mats Hummels and Niklas Sule doing no favours for any of the trio and potentially requiring a rethink, at least in the early part of the campaign.

Duda does the job

Slovakia international Duda, in tandem with the tireless Lazaro, was a persistent threat to Bayern, which usually does a better job in stifling its opponents.

It was Duda's lovely turn and lofted pass that created Hertha's opener, while the attacking midfielder exerted further match-winning influence with a well-timed run for his goal.

Robben off the pace

On target in midweek, Robben, now 34, perhaps should have been the one to sit out this encounter.

The decorated Netherlands international made a meal of his team's best opportunity and was immediately punished at the other end. Unable to get on the same wavelength as Joshua Kimmich down Bayern's right, the veteran was hooked seven minutes into the second half.

Key Opta stats:
- Bayern Munich's previous defeat against Hertha Berlin in the league was on February 14, 2009.
- For the first time in eight years (0-2 v Borussia Dortmund) Bayern has lost a Bundesliga game during Oktoberfest.
- Hertha has scored in each of its last 12 Bundesliga games – its longest streak since 1978.
- Bayern has now failed to win its last two league games. The last time it went three outings without victory was in May 2015.
- Hertha has never had more than 13 points after six fixtures (it achieved the same number in 2016-17 and 1970-71).

What's next?

Bayern's first task after Champions League duty is a home meeting with Borussia Monchengladbach next Saturday, as Hertha heads to Mainz.

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