Eintracht Frankfurt extended their run of away wins to three on Saturday as a classy 1-4 victory comfortably saw off Europa League-chasing Hertha Berlin at the Olympiastadion.
A beautiful brace from Andre Silva, coupled with sublime strikes from Bas Dost and Obite N’Dicka were enough to cancel out Krzysztof Piatek’s first-half go-ahead goal as ten-man Hertha whimpered into submission.
The visitors came out of the blocks flying as they sought a bounce-back from their midweek DFB Pokal semi-final loss at the hands of Bayern Munich. Frankfurt moved the ball confidently and were not lacking in pace as they stretched the often-resolute Hertha defence.
It was Hertha, however, who broke the deadlock in the 24th minute as Piatek fired Bruno Labbadia’s men into the lead following some crafty footwork to evade a wall of three defenders.
Then, as the halftime break loomed, controversy struck as Belgian centre-back Dedryck Boyata was judged to have taken down Dost in the penalty area and awarded a second yellow card, despite the miniscule contact.
Referee Robert Hartmann watched the incident back on the VAR system and changed his decision to a free-kick and a straight red was shown to Boyata.
Frankfurt ruthless, Hertha rueful
The second half kicked off in a fast fashion as Dost found the net within six minutes of the restart, pulling Die Adler level – a goal which was inevitable.
Ten-man Hertha attempted to sit back and fend for the sole point, but Frankfurt notched themselves into top gear as they unleashed a devastating string of attacks.
The injury-ridden hosts could do nothing but watch as their opponents played rapid, one-or-two-touch football, which reaped its rewards just ten minutes later when divine footwork from Daichi Kamada exposed a gap in Hertha’s defence; one which Portuguese substitute Andre Silva found the net from.
Five minutes later, the visitors doubled their lead through the unlikely source of French defender N’Dicka as he leathered a loose ball into the bottom-left corner, beyond the sprawling arms of a hapless Rune Jarstein.
Silva completed the damage limitation on the brink of fulltime when he ran onto a pass from Stefan Ilsanker and calmly slotted it past the goalkeeper. Again, Hertha’s defence looked all-at-sea as the rout reached its 1-4 zenith.
What this means
Frankfurt take all three points and leapfrog Die Alte Dame in the Bundesliga standings as they move into ninth place. The challenge for the Europa League qualifying spot now seems insurmountable as Die Adler sit eight points behind VfL Wolfsburg, with just nine points on offer from the final three matches of the season.
Hertha suffer their first loss at home since February, and their second loss in a row under Labbadia. They share the 38-point accolade with Frankfurt, but the side from the capital will be looking nervously to the future as they prepare for a difficult run-in against SC Freiburg, Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Borussia Monchengladbach.