Marko Grujic helped Hertha Berlin continue their strong run of form with a goal in their 2-2 draw at RB Leipzig on Wednesday, with Timo Werner not making an impact.
It has been a tough season for Grujic in Berlin, with a number of managerial changes and a struggle for consistency on the pitch contrasting starkly with his first campaign with Hertha.
But the appointment of Bruno Labbadia prior to the Bundesliga’s pause has prompted an upturn of fortunes, with Hertha unbeaten in their three games under the former Wolfsburg coach.
Though they were unable to add to their pair of wins, a hard-fought draw away to Leipzig in midweek was another big step for the mid-table side.
And it was Grujic who got Hertha off the mark with a fine outside-of-the-boot finish from Marvin Plattenhardt’s corner, which was the Serbian’s first goal of 2020.
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Grujic has scored four throughout this season so far, having struck five times in 2018/19, but all three of his previous efforts came before the winter break.
Whether an impressive stretch under Labbadia could convince Hertha to sign him on a permanent deal remains to be seen, but it will not hurt his chances of staying in Berlin for the long term.
Hertha’s lead was short-lived, however, as Lukas Klostermann headed from Christopher Nkunku’s delivery just 15 minutes later, before Patrik Schick made it 2-1 to Leipzig in the second half.
Leipzig were down to 10 men at that point, with Marcel Halstenberg sent off just after the hour, and things got worse for the title challengers as ex-Everton winger Ademola Lookman brought down Matheus Cunha for a penalty late on.
Up stepped Krzysztof Piatek, and a share of the points was sealed; Hertha moved above Koln into 10th, while Leipzig failed to leapfrog Dortmund, staying in third.
It was a quiet night for Werner as he struggled to make his presence felt in attack, and he was substituted with 11 minutes to play.
Around the same time on Merseyside, the Mirror‘s David Maddock claimed Liverpool had pulled out of negotiations over a deal for the striker, believing his £50.5 million release clause is no longer good value.
Maddock suggested the Reds see him as being worth “significantly less than £30 million” due to the financial state of football.
However, the Liverpool Echo moved to swiftly refute Maddock’s claims, reporting that the club “have not held talks” with Leipzig at this stage—though it is commonly known that Jurgen Klopp has spoken with Werner recently.
Nothing to see here? Quite likely…