BERLIN: Schalke 04, last season’s runners-up, crashed to a 2-0 home loss to Hertha Berlin courtesy of Ondrej Duda’s double on Sunday, their second Bundesliga defeat in two matches.
The Champions League club, seen as possible title contenders, also lost their season opener to VfL Wolfsburg last week and coach Domenico Tedesco said his players only had themselves to blame.
“Last season is history, we can’t rest on our laurels,” Tedesco told Sky. “We kept losing the ball too easily today, it was our fault that we struggled in the second half.”
Tedesco’s men should have gone ahead on 13 minutes when Hertha’s Marko Grujic conceded a penalty with a clear handball, but Daniel Caligiuri dragged his spot-kick wide of the post.
Within minutes, Schalke had paid dearly for their missed opportunity, as Hertha surged forward with a long ball, and Duda’s deflected shot put the Berliners in front.
Schalke’s miserable evening was crowned seconds from time, when Yevhen Konoplyanka was sent off for bringing down Dennis Jastrzembski in front of goal, and Duda converted the resulting free-kick to give Hertha their first away win over Schalke in 14 years.
RB Leipzig, who lost their season opener last week, will also have to wait longer for their first win of the season after drawing 1-1 against promoted Fortuna Dusseldorf earlier on Sunday.
After a heavy defeat in Dortmund last week, Leipzig were facing a nightmare start to the season when Matthias Zimmermann fired Duesseldorf in front, before Jean-Kevin Augustin spared his side’s blushes with a 68th-minute equaliser.
“I think they underestimated us today,” Zimmermann told Sky. “We played brilliantly going forward, and created a lot of chances. Sadly, we lost two points in the end.”
Published in Dawn, September 4th, 2018