DOUBLE CELEBRATION: Mathew Leckie had good reason to smile in his Berlin debut.
DOUBLE CELEBRATION: Mathew Leckie had good reason to smile in his Berlin debut.

Mathew Leckie's double celebration

SOCCEROO Mathew Leckie celebrated the birth of his daughter by breaking his year-long Bundesliga goal-drought with a double on his Hertha Berlin debut.

The 27-year-old welcomed daughter Olivia Valentina a week ago and Leckie acknowledged how much his life had changed.

"I'll be going straight home to the baby," the Australia striker said when asked how he would celebrate his double against Stuttgart at Berlin's Olympic Stadium.

Leckie was on the end of Vedad Ibisevic's header 30 seconds after the break, then netted from close range from a corner on 62 minutes to cap a dream debut in front of 44,751 fans in Berlin.

He told Hertha TV: "It's a special moment for me, not just outside of football with my baby just being born.

"Two goals at the start of my career in Berlin. I've never scored two goals in a game in the Bundesliga.

"This week has been one of the best of my life. I'm definitely going to enjoy the next couple of days celebrating the performance."

Having set up two goals in Rostock in Hertha's German Cup first-round match last weekend, Leckie is enjoying his time in the capital: "I'm having the time of my life".

Having gone 2178 minutes without a goal in Germany's top flight for former club Ingolstadt, which was relegated at the end of last season, Leckie was delighted to have already open his Hertha account.

"Football is a crazy, funny game. I think the fresh start in Berlin was exactly what I needed," said Leckie, whose previous Bundesliga goal was in May 2016.

"I was frustrated at the end (in Ingolstadt), because I knew I had chances to score.

"At the end, it didn't matter what I did, because luck wasn't on my side."

Leckie insisted he did not "want to say anything bad about Ingolstadt", but Berlin's style of play under head coach Pal Dardai clearly suited his game.

"We'd rather have the ball, which makes things easier for the forwards," he said. "Hopefully I have broken the curse."

Dardai praised "wonderful" Leckie for how quickly he had settled into the team, but was otherwise unhappy with Hertha's second-half performance and was grateful for the two-goal cushion.

Leckie's Socceroos teammate Mitch Langerak was left on the bench on Saturday as Stuttgart's back-up goalkeeper.

News Corp Australia


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