Groclin Grodzisk Wielkopolski secured a dramatic 1-0 second-leg victory against Hertha BSC Berlin thanks to a late goal from Grzegorz Rasiak to advance to the second round of the UEFA Cup. After holding Hertha to a 0-0 draw in the first leg, the tie seemed to be drifting towards extra-time before the striker's late intervention.
The Polish side dominated the first-half. Despite the early loss of Mariusz Pawlak through injury, Groclin soon found their rhythm and did an excellent job of stifling Hertha when they lost the ball.
Hertha's German international defender Arne Friedrich was twice called into action in the opening minutes to deny the lively Andrzej Niedzielan, before Groclin swept forward in the move of the game.
Initiated by playmaker Radoslaw Sobolewski, the ball was flicked out to Marcin Zajac in space on the right. He sprinted forward and delivered a cross to the near post. Hertha's goalkeeper Gábor Kiraly spilled the ball under pressure from Rasiak and Niedzielan, but scrambled to claim at the second attempt.
Both Sebastian Mila and Rasiak had sight of goal, but the former could not stretch to make contact and the latter slipped when about to strike. Hertha were restricted to a Michael Hartmann drive that went well over as half-time approached.
After the break, Hertha improved and, on 69 minutes, came close to breaking the deadlock. Marko Rehmer whipped in a great cross from the right that Artur Wichniarek met with a diving header. The ball thumped against the near post before falling straight to the prone Mariusz Libarda.
Six minutes later, it was Hertha who were indebted to their goalkeeper. Substitute Piotr Piechniak cut inside then released a venomous right-footed shot that was only kept out by a magnificent full-stretch save from Kiraly.
With six minutes to go, Groclin finally went ahead. Piechniak was again involved, cutting in and shooting low at the near post. Kiraly parried, but the ball fell to Niedzielan who drove it across the face of goal where Rasiak was on hand to bundle it in.
Neuendorf then had a glorious late chance to equalise, after being set up by a clever Wichniarek header, but Libarda was swiftly off his line to make a great block. Hertha continued to apply pressure into stoppage time, but Groclin held firm.