BERLIN (AP)Hertha Berlin defender Marton Dardai scored on his 21st birthday in a morale-boosting 4-1 win over Borussia Monchengladbach to help the team’s bid for Bundesliga survival on Sunday.

”That was the best birthday yet,” Dardai said after making his first appearance for Hertha this year.

Hertha had only scored one goal in its previous four games this year – all defeats – but the team came back from Nico Elvedi’s early score for Gladbach with goals from Jessic Ngankam, Dardai, Derry Scherhant and Dodi Lukebakio to climb one place above Stuttgart and into the league’s relegation playoff place. The bottom two are relegated automatically.

Hertha coach Sandro Schwarz said before the game he was switching to three at the back with five in midfield instead of the usual 4-3-3 formation, but he can’t have been happy with his team’s defense when former Hertha defender Luca Netz sent in a corner for Elvedi to open the scoring with a header in the 17th.

The visitors dominated possession and looked to be in total control until Ngankam equalized in the 30th. Tolga Cigerci sent Marco Richter through with a clever drag-back and Richter crossed for Ngankam to score from close range.

Dardai scored early in the second half, rewarding Hertha’s pressure with a fierce shot from outside the penalty area that went in off the underside of the crossbar near the right post.

”It was a bit surreal the way it went perfectly into the corner,” Dardai said. ”Simply a nice day today.”

It was Dardai’s first Bundesliga goal, scored with his father – former Hertha player and coach Pal Dardai – watching with other family members among the fans.

Hertha substitutes Scherhant and Lukebakio both scored in injury time – the latter with a penalty – to seal Hertha’s first win of 2023, dropping Gladbach down to 10th.

Hertha next visits Borussia Dortmund, which has won all six games across all competitions this year.


Ellyes Skhiri scored twice for Cologne to beat Eintracht Frankfurt 3-0 and dent the visitors’ Champions League qualification hopes.

Frankfurt had been hoping to go fourth – the last qualification spot for Europe’s top club competition – but slumped to its first defeat of the year.

The visitors might have had a penalty when Eric Martel struck the ball with his upper arm, before Randal Kolo Muani failed to make the most of a good chance in the 25th. The French forward had scored in each of his previous four games for Frankfurt.

Cologne improved drastically after the break. Timo Hubers scored with a glancing header in the 49th and Skhiri grabbed two more.

More AP soccer: and