Pukki hat trick knocks Hertha out of the Europa League | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 04.08.2016
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Pukki hat trick knocks Hertha out of the Europa League

Hertha travelled to Brondby hoping to secure Europa League football for the first time since 2009, but the Berliners were on the wrong end of a Teemu Pukki hat-trick.

Brondby 3-1 Hertha Berlin
(Pukki 3', 34', 52' - Ibisevic 30')

Hertha Berlin slipped to a 3-1 defeat in Denmark as a hat trick from former Schalke forward Teemu Pukki ensured Brondby's path into the playoff round of the Europa League at the Berliners' expense.

While the first leg in Berlin a week ago was a cagey and very defensive affair, the return game in Denmark was anything but, with chances aplenty from the off. That wasn't the kind of game Pal Dardai's side were hoping for as they looked to reach the Europa League playoff round.

Hertha got off to a nightmare start, conceding three minutes after the opening whistle. Pukki scored his first of the night with a simple tap-in after a long ball bamboozled the Hertha defence.

Dardai's side responded well to going behind and steadied the ship through Ibisevic, who scored the winner at Freidrich Ludwig Jahn Sportpark last week. This time the Bosnian leapt well to head a cross beyond Frederik Ronnow to level on the night and keep Hertha's noses in front on aggregate.

UEFA Europa League Qualifikationsspiel Brondby IF vs Hertha BSC Berlin

Despite holding most of the possession, Hertha could not keep pace with Brondby

But no sooner had Hertha leveled, a lapse in concentration saw Brondby retake the lead. Pukki was the man again, scoring after Marvin Plattenhardt failed to deal with Kamil Wilczek's cross.

Hertha dominated possession for long periods of the second half but without creating many chances of note, and they were always susceptible to the Brondby counter-attack, with Kmil Wilczek flashing a low ball across the Hertha goal.

Hertha failed to heed the warning and moments later they found themselves 3-1 down after defender Per Ciljan Skjelbred gifted possession straight to Wilczek, who crossed to Pukki for a tap-in for his hat trick goal.

That was the goal deflated Hertha, who showed little as an attacking force in the second half. Ibisevic had a couple of half chances, but they were little more than that – and it was a disappointing end to a two-legged tie which had looked promising for Hertha after the first leg.

The result ends Hertha's hopes of a full European campaign for the first time since 2009, when they entered the same competition after beating Brondby in the third qualifying round. This time it was the Danes celebrating, with Hertha left with the German domestic competitions as they sole focus in the upcoming season.

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