It was a weekend of mixed results for Liverpool’s loanees in Germany, with Marko Grujic falling to defeat at the hands of a familiar face.
Grujic, who had featured in all 360 minutes of Hertha Berlin’s games since football resumed, was left to taste defeat for the first time since February thanks to Emre Can’s Borussia Dortmund.
The 24-year-old has experienced a topsy-turvy campaign with the Bundesliga outfit but has been an ever-present in central midfield in Berlin alongside Per Ciljan Skjelbred under manager Bruno Labbadia.
Hertha had dropped points on only one occasion prior to Saturday’s meeting at Dortmund in their preceding four games, with a 2-2 draw at Leipzig their only setback – a game which saw Grujic open the scoring.
But for Hertha, who currently sit ninth in the table, their unbeaten streak came to a halt thanks to a second-half strike from ex-Red Emre Can.
The outing was largely dominated by Dortmund, with Grujic acting as an important part of the chain linking Hertha’s defence to their attack but it was an outing which left few chances to shine beyond his clean disposal rate (92 percent).
He was substituted with two minutes left of regulation time as Hertha rolled the dice in a bid to snatch a point at the death, but they were not to reap any rewards to ensure Dortmund remain seven points adrift of Bayern at the top of the table.
But the most poignant and significant moment of the evening came before the first whistle had even arrived, with all 22 players taking a knee in the centre circle in addition to all those on the sidelines in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Elsewhere, Taiwo Awoniyi played the full 90 minutes as Mainz recorded a 2-0 win at Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday afternoon.
It was the third successive game where the 22-year-old was given a starting berth, only this time he was on the pitch when the final whistle blew having helped his side move three points above the relegation playoff spot.
It comes as a welcome chance to both shine and develop for Awoniyi, who only featured for 147 minutes in the first 25 fixtures of the Bundesliga season.
Awoniyi’s confidence will no doubt have received a timely boost as his side battle to stay out of the relegation scrap, where the four games remaining see them face off against top five members in Dortmund and Leverkusen.
And Nat Phillips was an unused substitute as Stuttgart failed to make ground up on 2. Bundesliga leaders Arminia Bielefeld having been held to a scoreless draw against Osnabruck on Sunday.