Liverpool loanee Marko Grujic brought his season’s goal tally to five as he scored Hertha Berlin’s second in a back-and-forth 4-3 win at Augsburg on Saturday.
Grujic has been in excellent form throughout the campaign in Berlin, taking up a key role under Pal Dardai and attracting widespread interest for next season.
It remains to be seen whether the Serbian will return to take a place in Jurgen Klopp‘s squad for the upcoming campaign, but despite their hopes of another loan deal it is unlikely he stays at Hertha.
This weekend’s clash with Augsburg saw 10th take on 14th in a game with little to play for but pride, ahead of the final day of the Bundesliga on May 18.
Regardless, it provided an opportunity to Grujic to enhance his reputation and ensure a positive end to the season for his loan club, as he returned to the starting lineup following suspension.
As it transpired, the midfielder played a focal role in a remarkable clash at the Augsburg Arena, joining Per Ciljan Skjelbred at the heart of Hertha’s 4-2-3-1.
Augsburg opened the scoring through Andre Hahn’s powerful long-range drive, before Marvin Plattenhardt levelled two minutes after the break with a volleyed effort.
But parity didn’t last long as Karim Rekik brought down Hahn to allow Michael Gregoritsch to step up and convert the penalty, before Ondrej Duda squandered a great opportunity for Hertha when bearing down on Gregor Kobel’s goal.
Fortunately, with Valentino Lazaro whipping in a corner, Grujic was on hand to power home a header to equalise once again.
Gregoritsch put paid to that within three minutes, though, needing Salomon Kalou to take charge and level, setting up a tense finale as both sides pushed for a winner.
It finally fell to Hertha, as Reece Oxford felled Pascal Kopke and Kalou scored the second penalty of the game in the last minute to give Grujic’s side victory in their penultimate game of the season.
Now they will host Bayer Leverkusen next Saturday with another win cementing a 10th-placed finish.
After that game, Grujic is set to embark on a summer break before returning to Merseyside to discuss his future with Klopp and the Liverpool hierarchy.
There will be no shortage of suitors if the Reds do decide either to sell or allow the 23-year-old to leave on loan for a third successive season.