Hertha BSC Berlin maintained their phenomenal defensive record by recording a 0-0 draw against Servette FC in the Charmilles stadium as the two sides met in the first leg of their UEFA Cup third round tie.
Yet to concede
The German side are still to concede a goal in this year’s tournament and although their Swiss opponents had the better of this frustrating yet well-contested fixture, Hertha goalkeeper Christian Fiedler was rarely troubled.
In fact, Servette only truly tested Fiedler inside the first five minutes of the game. First Alexander Frei’s powerfully driven free-kick was tipped around the post and seconds later the Hertha keeper was in action again, parrying Claiton’s vicious, angled shot on the turn with both hands.
Hertha’s Rob Maas rose highest in the Servette penalty area to find himself with the visitors’ best chance of the game but Eric Pédat reacted well to block his downward header. It was the only real save that the Swiss goalkeeper had to make, and he later admitted: “It was very important to keep a clean sheet. But doing so in Berlin will be a different proposition altogether.”
Oruma on song
Servette were comfortably the better side before the break and Wilson Oruma, whose last-minute goal gave Servette their surprise second-round victory over Real Zaragoza, seemed to be at the heart of every move they put together. But the second half was a scrappier affair, with both sides resorting to hopeful long-range efforts.
This said, Hilton almost broke the deadlock ten minutes from time when he stooped to head towards goal in a crowded Hertha penalty area, but Fiedler scampered across his goalline to stop the ball creeping into the net. And the best chance of all came a minute later when Frei raced clear but slipped when he attempted to wrong-foot a covering defender and the ball squirmed to safety.
Favre: 'very solid'
Servette coach Lucien Favre said: “It was a very disciplined performance. We played a good match. We were very solid and after a 0-0 draw, anything is possible in Berlin.”
His full-back Sébastien Fournier was more upbeat. He grinned: “They are a stronger side than us so we’ve done really well. 0-0 represents a super performance, but the return match will, of course, be much more difficult.”