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Hertha Berlin go second with victory over Schalke

Goals from Mitchell Weiser and substitute Valentin Stocker sent Hertha Berlin second after they overcame Schalke at the Olympiastadion.

The first half began with fouls aplenty from the away side, with captain Benedikt Höwedes particularly struggling at right-back. The left-hand side of the pitch was the more effective side for both teams, Genki Haraguchi forcing Ralf Fährmann into action from a cross for the hosts, whilst Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting looked dangerous when cutting in from the left, his first effort a tame one which was easily held by Rune Jarstein, the second deflected just wide by Peter Pekarík.

However, the half saw no clear cut chances, with Vladimir Darida, who later went off with an ankle injury, dragging wide after Schalke failed to clear a Marvin Plattenhardt free-kick, whilst Naldo glanced a header wide from a corner with Jarstein misjudging the flight of the ball.

The Norwegian however was alert for the first chance of the second half, managing to tip Benjamin Stambouli’s long-range effort, which took a slight yet vicious deflection off Fabian Lustenberger, over the bar.

Both sides rang the changes, the hosts forced to bring on Valentin Stocker for the injured Darida, whilst Schalke replaced Breel Embolo for Yevhen Konoplyanka at the start of the second half before bringing on Max Meyer, celebrating his 21st birthday, for Leon Goretzka.

Whether it was due to the change or not, it was the hosts who finally broke the deadlock. Pekarík beat his man on the right-hand side, before picking out Weiser with his cut-back, who swept the ball home in emphatic style.

Ten minutes later, the home side virtually confirmed their victory by doubling their lead. Weiser robbed Nabil Bentaleb of the ball before playing a delightful chip into the path of Stocker, who controlled with his left foot before firing low into the corner with the same foot, despite the best efforts of Fährmann.

Schalke had no response in the final fifteen minutes, which means that the Bundesliga’s top two will meet on Wednesday, with Hertha travelling to the Allianz Arena to take on leaders Bayern Munich.

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