Relive Sports Mole's minute-by-minute text commentary from the Bundesliga as Hertha Berlin took on Stuttgart and fell to a 1-0 defeat.
By Matt Domm, Reporter Filed: Friday, September 13, 2013 at 19:00 UK
Last Updated: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 00:10 UK
Stuttgart travelled to the capital on Friday evening looking to add to their 6-2 win over Hannover to continue their rise up the table.
It was the hosts Hertha Berlin who started the better side and had a number of chances in the first half to break the deadlock.
However, just after the break Christian Gentner headed in an Alexandru Maxim corner to give his side the lead and ultimately all three points.
Read how the action unfolded below.
7.01pmGood evening fussball fans! Tonight we have a very interesting looking clash between Hertha Berlin and Stuttgart in the German capital!
7.04pmHertha have been surprisingly strong so far this season following their return to the Bundesliga. Seven points from nine games got their season off to the perfect start, but defeat last time out against Wolfsburg reminded them of what a hard league this can be.
7.08pmStuttgart's season started miserably. With just one point from three Bruno Labbadia's time was up. In came Thomas Schneider and in went the goals - Stuttgart beat Hannover 6-2 in their last game, with Vedad Ibisevic hitting three.
7.11pmBefore we go any further, I'll get the team news right across. Hold on to your lederhosen...
7.13pmHERTHA XI: Kraft; Pekarik, Brooks, Lustenberger, Van der Bergh; Hosogai, Cigerci, Skjelbred, Ronny, Ben-Hatira; Ramos
7.19pmSo what can we make of those two teams? Well, for a start, Stuttgart are really a very strong outfit. From the defence with Gotoku Sakai and Daniel Schwaab, through on-loan Borussia Dortmund player Mortiz Leitner and Alexandru Maxim in the midfield to the hat-trick hero Ibisevic. There's a fine blend of youth an experience, but it appears that Labbadia was not the man to get them firing.
7.23pmThis will be an interesting test of Schneider's team tonight. Hertha are not one of the strongest teams in the league, but have been very good at home so far while Stuttgart have not. They will expect Europa League qualification, and to achieve that this is the sort of game that needs to be won.
7.27pmA look at the odds tells us that Hertha are in fact slight favourites tonight. They can be backed at 11/8, with Stuttgart at around 2/1. If you ask me, though, I fancy the visitors to nick this 2-1.
7.29pmPlease don't blame me if I'm wrong and you lose money, however! We're just a minute away from kickoff now.
7.31pmThe crowd are up for it tonight in the Olympic Stadium. Lustenberger and Gentner shake hands and we are just about ready to go.
1 minKICKOFF: Hertha kick us off in their traditional blue and white stripes.
3 minEarly drive down the left from Ramos, with the ball eventually falling to Ronny on the right. He twists and turns but cannot get his cross away. Plenty of possession early on here for the hosts.
6 minStuttgart just edging themselves into the game now and are seeing a little bit more of the ball. They're passing it among themselves at the back, but Hertha's high pressing means that they are staying there.
8 minHertha back on the ball and it seems the early stance in this game is that Stuttgart will sit back and look to break. Ronny and Pekarik combine, but the former's ball through to Ramos was slightly overhit and cut out by Rudiger.
10 minBen-Hatira drives down the right before cutting in. He gets past Sakai but runs into trouble and a heap of red shirts on the edge of the box. They quickly get the ball back, though, the hosts. The possession is very much in the hosts' favour.
12 minFor all their passing, Hertha have not seen the whites of Sven Ulreich's eyes in the Stuttgart goal just yet. It's Ronny who is making a nuisance of himself most at the moment and is chasing everything down.
14 minUlreich is forced into his first action of the game, and it was a big claim from a Hosogai cross into the box. That's his strong point, his ability in the air, and he was not in threat from that cross.
16 minStuttgart are looking a little frustrated at the moment. They just can's seem to get the ball and Boka goes through the back of Pekarik.
19 minHertha have a corner here. It's Ben-Hatira down the left who has really come into the game in the last five minutes who has his cross cleared behind.
22 minHe again causes trouble down the left and claims that he is pulled back by Sakai as he gets into the box, but there's nothing given. It would have been a harsh penalty.
25 minCHANCE: Ramos this time gets to the left side of the box and sees has the goal in his sights. He probably should be hitting the target but blazes his effort way over instead.
28 minAside from the complete dominance Hertha have enjoyed with the ball, this really has not been a good game at the moment. For a start, Hertha are not turning their possession into chances, and secondly Stuttgart are barely playing!
31 minFirst sight of the Hertha box that for Stuttgart. Maxim steps over a free kick from about 45 yards out and swings it into the box, but Kraft is out down low to gather easily.
33 minBOOKING: Ibisevic is the first player into the book, and it's a real frustration tackle. He's seen nothing of the ball and follows through in a tackle a bit strongly and catches Hosogai. Fair enough card for me.
36 minI would be surprised now if there was a goal before half time. Stuttgart have seen more of the ball in the last few minutes, with Maxim coming deep, but in truth he's fighting a losing battle on the attacking front.
39 minFree kick here to Stuttgart as the youngster Timo Werner is brought down on the right side of the box. He has not seen a lot of the ball, but he made the most of it there.
40 minSAVE! Big save there from Kraft. Maxim's ball comes in and Gentner is up highest to meet it, but Kraft is equal to the effort and tips it over the bar well.
43 minStuttgart are finishing the half strongly here and sense a goal. Hertha are sitting deeper and deeper, but they have only one more minute to hold on.
8.22pmWell, there's really not a lot to say about that half. Hertha started very brightly and passed magnificently to start with, but the best chance of the half went the other way right at the end.
8.26pmThat was Gentner who headed goalwards from a Maxim free kick and forced Kraft into an excellent save. At the other end both Ben-Hatira and Ramos have had decent sights of goal, but the finishing has been way off.
8.30pmI would imagine that both managers might be considering making changes at the half. Certainly there are few players who are impressing the watching Joachim Low.
8.34pmThe players are back out. The same 22 players - so no changes...
49 minThat's a fine header from the Stuttgart captain. They win an early corner and Maxim steps up to take it. It's right on the head of his skipper who makes no mistake thumping in a header.
51 minSAVE! It probably should be 1-1! Skjelbred bursts into the box and gets on the end of Ramos's cross but Ulreich is out quickly to block at close range.
54 minStuttgart are looking a lot more composed in possession now. It's amazing what a goal can do, isn't it? Leitner and Maxim in particular are looking tidy.
56 minNow it's Hertha's turn to play on the break. Boka and Rudiger combine well to edge out the dangerous Ben-Hatira who had looked to break down the right side of the box.
58 minSTUTTGART SUB: Ibrahima Traore comes on for Maxim to inject some pace down the left.
59 minCHANCE: That probably should be the equaliser. Ramos clips around the corner to the onrushing Hosogai, but he cannot beat Ulreich with the keeper off his line quickly.
62 minThis is purposeful from Hertha now, as they drive forward at pace, but Stuttgart's defence has been very strong and now they have a goal to cling on to as well.
65 minSAVE: Brooks rises highest from a Ronny corner to head goalwards, but he cannot get it on target. They come again as Ronny puts Van den Bergh through, but the angle was tight and Ulreich saved.
67 minSAVE! Ulreich this time tips the ball over as Brooks again meets a corner, but it was not enough either side of the keeper and it's out for another corner. Huge pressure now on the visitors' goal.
70 minThe pressure seems to have eased and Stuttgart, through Gentner and the new man Harnik are looking to get them back on top. Kraft is forced to deal with a Harnik cross and gathers well.
73 minI must admit I'm a little disappointed how this one has turned out. There has been a real lack of quality in the final third from both teams and it would not be a surprise if the score stays this way.
76 minHERTHA SUBS: Wagner and Nico Schulz are on for Skjelbred and Cigerci.
80 minThere have been a few niggly fouls in the last few minutes as Hertha begin to get back on top of the game. They have had 14 shots today, compared to Stuttgart's seven. Must do better in front of goal has been the moral of today's game.
82 minSHOT: The new man Wagner gets his first sight of goal with a header, but he was moving backwards and did not get any power on it at all. Easy for Ulreich.
84 minHERTHA SUB: Final change for the hosts as Sami Allagui replaces Ben-Hatira. He has worked really hard today the Tunisian, but has lacked the ability to make the right decision in the final third today.
87 minBOOKING: Ronny is again brought down in the middle of the park, but the free kick instead goes the other way! He bounces the ball in dissent and is booked for his troubles. That's a little harsh, it has to be said.
89 minIt now seems as though Stuttgart will be ending this game the stronger side. Ibisevic is just caught offside as he races clear, but the decision was the right one.
90+1 minSurely the last chance here for Hertha. Ramos crosses deep and Pekarik looks like he will meet it but he cannot make contact!