Hertha Berlin disappoints again with 1-0 loss in Bielefeld

BERLIN (AP) — Hertha Berlin coach Bruno Labbadia endured an unhappy return to Arminia Bielefeld as his team’s latest bid for back-to-back Bundesliga wins ended in another defeat.

Reinhold Yabo’s strike midway through the second half was enough for lowly Bielefeld to win 1-0 and leave the relegation zone on Sunday.

Hertha has struggled with inconsistency all season as is yet to follow any one of its four league wins with another – a poor return for a club expected to challenge for European qualification places following Lars Windhorst’s investment of 374 million euros ($450 million) since June 2019.

Labbadia, who scored 52 goals for Bielefeld between 1998-2001, was hoping his players could capitalize on last weekend’s 3-0 win over then-bottom side Schalke but watched as they produced an uninspired display leaving Hertha just five points above the relegation zone after 15 games played.

“We didn’t really take on the fight. In fact, Arminia took it on better than we did and wanted the victory more,” Hertha left back Maximilian Mittelstädt said. “With our quality we need to do better overall. There are no excuses for such a performance — it’s hard to explain.”

There was little incident in the first half until referee Guido Winkmann awarded a penalty when Bielefeld captain Fabian Klos went down after contact from Hertha counterpart Niklas Stark. Winkmann withdrew the decision and Stark’s yellow card after a long period of video consultation.

Former Hertha striker Jhon Cordoba struck the post for Bielefeld early in the second half when the home side appeared with more intent.

Yabo duly scored in the 64th minute, when he nudged Peter Pekarik out of the way, then turned and fired the ball in under the crossbar.

It was almost 2-0 when Ritsu Dōan struck the post in the 70th, prompting Labbadia to make his third and fourth substitutions of the game, bringing on 17-year-old defender Luca Netz for his second Bundesliga appearance.

Another Hertha substitute, Krzysztof Piatek, thought he equalized late but the goal was ruled out through VAR for handball.

“We urgently need to learn from this,” Stark said after Hertha’s seventh league loss.

Stuttgart defeated Augsburg 4-1 away in the early game.


More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports


Ciarán Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP

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