The Set: Arminia 1-1 Hertha Berlin
Arminia Bielefeld gained a point and a little breathing room in their fight to stay up this year. Things didn’t start brightly when their defenders fell asleep and allowed Andriy Voronin to ghost onto a ball delivered by keeper Jaroslav Drobny and slot home a 13′ lead. They leveled in the 40′ when right back Radim Kucera delivered a pinpoint cross which Artur Wichniarek headed home.
Hertha definitely missed leading scorer Marko Pantelic as Raffael and Voronin didn’t click as a front two; however, they probably missed Gojko Kacar even more, as their midfield lacked bite and was beaten up by Bielefeld’s pairing of Kauf and Marx. The point will keep them in the race for the title, but injuries may have lost them an additional two points, as at full strength they are a much better squad than Arminia.
Seven Things You May Not Have Known About Arminia-Hertha
- I got my first look at starlet Amine Chermiti, who played for the third time for the Old Lady. He had good movement and almost scored late on a Nicu feed. He does seem to have the makings of a kid that will live up to the billing in the years to come.
- Bielefeld trainer Michael Frontzeck looks like a kid dressed by his mother with that scarf wrapped so tightly around his neck.
- People are surprised by Hertha’s high position in the table, but they shouldn’t be. Favre has built a highly organized defense that is very difficult to break down. For a team that is currently second, they have few goals (30) which tells you all you need to know about their defense. Unfortunately, it was said defensive organization that worked against them on the goal. Wichiarek spent the first half trying to pull the defenders out of position to create seams in their back line. It didn’t work, but when he scored, he had run in from the left and was marked by right back Cufre rather than one of their taller center halves.
- And speaking of…Is their any more valuable player to a squad than Wichniarek is to Bielefeld? He has 12 of their 19 goals this season and has a 4-5-1 built around his skill and graft. If they survive he definitely deserves a nod for player of the year.
- Looks like Favre’s dip into the transfer market was one win and one loss. Cufre was poor. He was out-jumped by Wichniarek, nutmegged for another shot on goal and picked on by Bielefeld so much that Favre subbed him at the half. Maco Babic, on the other hand, was an energetic introduction in the 65′ that changed the shape of the midfield and energized a listless midfield late in the game.
- Raffael and Cicero were non-existent in the game. Neither helped to create any chances as Cicero was marked out of the game by Kauf and Marx. Meanwhile Raffael found a dead man’s land between Voronin and the midfield where the ball was afraid to venture into. Voronin was forced to do most of his own work.
- Around the 77 minute mark, Drobny caught a ball that any other keeper would have parried over the bar as it was blasted by Oliver Kirch. It’s rare that we see keepers catch rather than punch, but his save was as good as any catch by Arizona Cardinal Larry Fitzgerald.