Hertha down Freiburg to climb out of relegation places

Serbian midfielder Nemanja Radonjic celebrates scoring in Hertha Berlin's 3-0 home win over Freiburg on Thursday

Serbian midfielder Nemanja Radonjic celebrates scoring in Hertha Berlin's 3-0 home win over Freiburg on Thursday Creator: Michael SOHN

Hertha Berlin climbed out of the Bundesliga relegation places on Thursday with a 3-0 home win over Freiburg in their second match after coming out of a two-week quarantine.

An outbreak of Covid-19 cases saw the Hertha squad quarantined in mid-April from which they only emerged last Friday when training resumed.

After a 1-1 draw against Mainz on Monday, Hertha have now picked up four points from two of their three postponed games.

Polish striker Krzysztof Piatek, Peter Pekarik and Nemanja Radonjic scored the goals at Berlin's Olympic Stadium.

The result lifted Hertha from second-from-bottom up to 14th, but there is just one point between them and the three clubs below them with three weeks left this season.

With his team now halfway through playing four games in nine days, Hertha coach Pal Dardai made nine changes from the side which drew with Mainz.

"It didn't matter," Dardai told Sky when asked about his heavily-rotated line-up. "We were fit, played very well and were very compact.

"The spaces were there in the second half, we really wanted the third goal."

Dardai said the quarantine has brought the squad together in the relegation battle.

"Something is growing together here now. Egos have been pushed to the side, everyone from the Hertha family is joining in," he added.

Hertha have four games left, one more than their rivals, with their last postponed match against relegated Schalke next Wednesday.

All four remaining games are against sides in the bottom half of the table.

Sunday's opponents Arminia Bielefeld replaced them in the bottom three on Thursday.

Piatek opened the scoring by holding off a defender and firing home on 13 minutes.

It was 2-0 at half-time after Slovakia defender Pekarik scored with a header.

Freiburg had their chances and forced Berlin goalkeeper Alexander Schwolow to pull off several good saves.

Substitute Matheus Cunha then smacked the post from 25 yards out before Serbia midfielder Radonjic scored his first goal for the club with a lofted shot five minutes from the whistle.

The win caps a turbulent few days for Hertha, who dismissed former Arsenal and Germany goalkeeper Jens Lehmann on Wednesday from their supervisory board for making a jibe deemed to be racist.

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