December 19, 2021 8:24:08 am
Second-placed Borussia Dortmund slumped to a year-ending 3-2 defeat at Hertha Berlin on Saturday to go into the winter break nine points behind leaders Bayern Munich.
Hertha’s Marco Richter struck twice in the second half as Hertha came from a goal down to score three times against a makeshift Dortmund defence.
— Bundesliga English (@Bundesliga_EN) December 18, 2021
Dortmund, who failed to make it past the Champions League group stage, have now won just one of their last four league games.
“We did not get the three points. We take the lead under difficult conditions and then just gift away goals,” said Dortmund coach Marco Rose.
“We tried to manage the game too much. We have aims and expectations, and the result and our position in the standings is clear. We are missing this unconditional football.”
“We are talking about attitude. It is clear the lads wanted it, but Hertha were more passionate and with their comeback they deserved it and we leave with empty hands,” he said.
“Now we will have to carry a defeat through our holidays, and I hope that will lead to a change in attitude when we meet in the new year.”
The visitors, looking to close the gap with Bayern following their 4-0 win over VfL Wolfsburg on Friday, enjoyed a strong start even though in-form Jude Bellingham was missing due to suspension, and central defender Mats Hummels and keeper Gregor Kobel because of illness.
They could have scored with a string of good chances before Julian Brandt cleverly dinked the ball over keeper Alexander Schwolow to put the visitors in front in the 31st minute.
But when Hertha’s Myziane Maolida put the ball in the net against the run of play in the 15th only to be ruled offside, the Dortmund defence should have heeded a warning.
The hosts equalised six minutes after halftime when Ishak Belfoldil slotted the ball under reserve keeper Marwin Hitz.
Richter put Hertha 2-1 up in the 57th with an outstanding finish, placing the ball into the top far corner.
Dortmund showed only brief signs of life with a Thorgan Hazard effort ruled offside and Mo Dahoud firing over the bar from close range.
The 24-year-old Richter then thundered home on the rebound in the 69th with the Dortmund defence in chaos after an error by Brandt on the edge of the box.
Substitute Steffen Tiggen rose high to drill in a header and cut the deficit seven minutes from time, but they could not find another goal to rescue at least a point.
Dortmund are second on 34 points, with Bayern top on 43. Bayer Leverkusen, third on 28, are in action on Saturday against Freiburg. Hertha’s win moved them away from the relegation zone and into 11th place on 21 points.
The league will resume on January 7.