Haraguchi helps Hertha Berlin blank Cologne

Kyodo

Genki Haraguchi had a hand in Hertha Berlin’s 1-0 away win at Cologne on Friday as his side secured its first win of the year to retain the Bundesliga’s third spot.

Starting as the left attacking midfielder, Haraguchi’s layoff outside the box found Salomon Kalou and led to Vedad Ibisevic’s only goal of the game in the 43rd minute. He also had a 32-meter effort saved in the first half and another cleared from close range in the second.

“It was easy to play there,” Haraguchi said. “I was personally aiming to come up with the end product in order to nail that regular spot on the left. If only I’d scored.”

The 24-year-old has been a fixture in attacking midfield on one side or the other this term under manager Pal Dardai, starting in 21 of 23 league games with a goal and an assist each to his name, and is oozing a sense of accomplishment.

“I really feel the trust from the manager,” Haraguchi said. “I’d like to rise a step above the play the manager imagines — the kind of play that wins games.”