Salomon Kalou scored twice as Hertha BSC came from behind to beat visiting VfB Stuttgart 3-2 in the Bundesliga on Friday in Berlin.
Kalou canceled out Moritz Leitner’s fifth-minute opener with a coolly taken penalty in the 22nd, before the former Chelsea and LOSC Lille Metropole striker displayed a good piece of skill before claiming his second in the 64th at the Olympiastadion in the German capital.
The penalty decision was contentious. It was given when Valentin Stocker tried reaching the rebound after Stuttgart goalkeeper Thorsten Kirschbaum saved his shot, but then fell when challenging Carlos Gruezo from behind for the ball.
The home side dominated most of the first half, but Stuttgart emerged invigorated after the break, when Hertha goalkeeper Thomas Kraft did well to deny Timo Werner’s header.
“I think the first half was our best half [of the season] so far,” Hertha coach Jos Luhukay said after game.
“Stuttgart came back very strongly in the second half, but sometimes you just need that last bit of luck,” he added.
Kalou scored his second for die Alte Dame against the run of play, surging forward onto Stocker’s pass, eluding Daniel Schwaab with a change of feet and then prodding the ball past Kirschbaum.
Another new signing, Roy Beerens, sealed the result 10 minutes later, when Anis Ben-Hatira’s trick on the left wing preceded a great cross for the in-flying Dutchman to volley past the Stuttgart goalkeeper.
Hertha substitute Sandro Wagner ensured a nervy final seven minutes when he inadvertently headed Leitner’s free-kick into his own goal.
However, die Roten were unable to force an equalizer as they slumped to their fourth loss from seven games.
“Maybe we felt too confident after the first goal. We made it too easy for them. We’ve only ourselves to blame,” Leitner said.
With their victory, Hertha have eight points from seven games, while Stuttgart are fourth from bottom on five points.
Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich were to take on Hannover 96 yesterday, when last season’s runners-up Borussia Dortmund were set to seek a desperately needed victory against Hamburg SV.