Bundesliga: Hertha blow away Union to claim Berlin derby revenge | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 22.05.2020
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Bundesliga: Hertha blow away Union to claim Berlin derby revenge

A rampant second half display saw Hertha Berlin put city rivals Union to the sword and continue their strong restart. Hertha's front three ⁠— Vedad Ibisevic, Cunha and Dodi Lukebakio ⁠— all scored in a 4-0 win.

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Hertha - Union: The Derby of Unity

Hertha Berlin 4 - 0 Union Berlin, Olympiastadion, Berlin
(Ibisevic 51', Lukebakio 52', Cunha 61', Boyata 77')

Three goals from three forwards in 10 devastating second half minutes helped Hertha to take derby revenge over neighbors Union Berlin.

The home side’s attacking trident of Cunha, Vedad Ibisevic and Dodi Lukebakio showed most of the few glimmers of quality in a forgettable first half, before applying the killer blows early in the second.  

It was veteran Bosnian striker Ibisevic who broke the deadlock with a powerful header from Marvin Plattenhardt’s pinpoint left wing cross. Seconds later, he was involved again, controlling a clearance with his chest before playing in Lukebakio to round the keeper and roll home.

Cunha didn’t have to wait long to get in the act. He danced through the Union defense on the hour mark before lashing home a low drive when the ball was returned to him on the edge of the box by Ibisevic. Dedryck Boyata boomed home a header from Plattenhardt’s corner late on as Union unravelled.

The visitors threatened sporadically from set pieces but looked bereft of ideas in open play. They fall four points behind their rivals having lost lost both their matches since the restart in direct contrast to Hertha. Labaddia can now start looking up the table while his counterpart Urs Fischer still has work to do.

+++ As it happened +++

FULL TIME: Two wins, seven goals, none conceded since the Bundesliga return from Hertha, who kicked on after a slow start. Their front three were the real difference tonight. Our match report will be along here any minute.

90' - A late corner for the home side but Unio deal with Plattenhardt's delivery this time round.

88' - Hetha just knocking it around now, no sense of urgency from either side really.

85' - Labaddia still urging his men on but Fischer just wants this to end.

82' - Hertha have made their final change and you still sense there's another here if they want it.

77' - GOAL! Hertha Berlin 4 - 0 Union Berlin (Boyata)

Put a fork in Union, they're done. Plattenhardt whips in a corner, Boyata powers a header home. Simple as that. That's two in two weeks conceded from corners for Union. Not like them, and potentially a worrying sign.

75' - Changes for Hertha now. Piatek and Dilrosun on for Ibisevic and Lukeabkio. Their work is done and bringing those two on illustrates Hertha's abundance of resources when compared to their opponents. 

72' - Polter, who scored the winner in the reverse fixture replaces Andersson and Kroos is on for Andrich.

68' - Andrich takes aim from 30 yards but it flies well over the bar.

66' - Union are really struggling here. Cunha jinks his way through the area again and pulls back for Plattenhardt, whose shot is blocked behind for a corner, which come to nothing. Mittelstädt now replaces Cunha, which is a shame. He's been the standout player tonight.

63' - Malli on for Bülter and Ryerson on too, for Reichel. Five subs allowed at the moment remember. Union have a corner but it's easily cleared.

61' - GOAL! Hertha Berlin 2 - 0 Union Berlin (Cunha)

Game, set and match. Cunha teases Union's defense before lifting in a cross. It's half cleared before being laid back to the Brazilian who drives a low shot to the keeper's left. They've all got one now.

60' - A break in play as Grujic receives some treatment. A chance for Union to regroup perhaps?

57' - Urs Fischer knows his side need to show more ambition and throws on Ujah for Ingvartsen.

55' - Hertha's forwards have threatened all game and have put their side in a commanding position. Union have barely touched the ball since the first went in.

52' - GOAL! Hertha Berlin 2 - 0 Union Berlin (Lukebakio)
Gone in 70 seconds? Ibisevic involved again. The big Bosnian takes it down on the chest, is allowed to turn and pokes through to Lukebakio via a flick off the defender. This time he rounds the keeperon his left side and rolls home. 

51' - GOAL! Hertha Berlin 1 - 0 Union Berlin (Ibisevic)
Textbook target man goal, lovely. Plattenhardt skips down the left and curls a beautiful cross on to the head on Ibisevic, who powers home from five yards.

50' - Union have another corner. Trimmel's ball is tempting but somehow missed by everyone and rolls out of play on the other side of the pitch.

48' - Chances!
Cunha and Lukebakio combine once again. The Brazilian slips it through to Lukeabkio who fires at Gikiewicz but was offside. At the other end, Boyata makes a vital block to deny Bülter a shot from eight yards out. A better start to this half.

46' - Union get us underway in the second half.

HALF TIME: A decent end to the half from Union but it's been pretty thin gruel for those watching around the world. Lukebakio and Cunha have shown flashes for Hertha but the visitors look comfortable enough and have that set piece threat.

43' - Chance! 

Great ball in from Trimmel, whippy and quick. But Grujic leaps to make an excellent clearing header. Lukebakio is then booked for a foul as Union tried to recycle the ball and Andrich's freekick lands on the roof of the net. 

43' -  A rare foray forward for Union brings a throw in deep on the left. Andersson is the target but it's nodded out for a corner. Late chance for Union? 

41' - Our social media manager tonight is enjoying this one as much as me it seems.

38' - Chance!

Cunha and Lukebakio still look the men most likely and exchange passes neatly on the edge of the final third. But then the former hits the deck under minimal challenge and the latter slices a crossfield ball out of play. Second later, Cunha's up and ollecting a ball on the right. He stands up his man and gets off a decent snapshot, but it's easy enough for the keeper.

36' - Trimmel, the Bundesliga's biggest set piece threat, clips a straight freekick in to the box and straight out of play. Sums it up a bit at the moment.

34' - It's a decent, whipped ball in by Plattenhardt but Friedrich's up with a big, booming header to avert any danger. 

3' - Ingvartsen is off the pitch being treated for a blooy lip after a clash with Darida and Hertha win a freekick in a decent position on the left.

31' - Hertha's three forwards look dangerous but their midfield is struggling to provide them any real service. Labaddia may need to consider the balance of his side, they're struggling to move between the phases with any fluency.

27' - Chance!

Great stuff from Hertha. Lukebakio wins it in midfield and feeds Ibisiveic after a one-two. His low cross is arrowed at Cunha who tries a backheeled flick. Gikiewicz does well to scramble it round the post. The best moment of the half so far.

25' - Union, as always, very disciplined and happy to soak up the pressure but Andersson is looking very isolated up top in open play. Still, they'll be happy enough with this.

21' - Hertha pop it about nicely enough but again they're impatient and Grujic has a pop from 30 yards. It's miles over.

20' - Jarstein releases Lukebakio down the right again, this time with a throw. But the forward runs it straight out of play. Still, he looks the biggest threat.

18' - Then, suddenly, we have the best chance of the game and it's proper route one stuff. Jarstein's goal kick is flicked on by Ibisevic to Lukebakio who drives in towards goal from the right but hits the onrushing Gikiewicz with his shot from 15 yards. Has to lift that, surely?

17' - Trimmel's cross from the right is deflected and almost worries Jarstein but goes out for a corner. Trimmel whips in a dangerous ball, as he so often does but the home side scramble clear.  

15' - Grujic lumps up an aimless ball to Cunha, who has no chance of making anything of it. The hosts struggling a bit for inspiration.

12' - Pretty slow start here. Hertha dominating the ball but struggling to penetrate just yet.

9' - Hertha try to counter but Parensen brings down Darida with a pretty agricultural challenge. He's the first man in the book.

8' - The home side starting to dictate the tempo now. Each shout, and each strike of the ball is echoing around the enormous bowl that Hertha call home.

5'- Cunha finds a pocket of space in the inside left channel and decides to chance his arm from 30 yards. It dribbles in to Gikiewicz's arms.

4'- Lukebakio bursts down the right side of the box and looks to pull back to Ibisevic, but it's just behind the veteran striker. 

3' - A physical start from Hertha, with two fouls in the first two minutes. But Union, so strong from set pieces, can't make much of the free kicks.

1' - The players' masks have been removed, the ball has been disinfected and we've had a minute's silence for those who have fallen to coronavirus. It's time.

Bruno's new broom

A huge pre-season investment, the chaotic 76-day reign of Jürgen Klinsmann and a string of kamikazee displays sent Hertha running in to the arms of Bundesliga firefighter Bruno Labaddia just before the league's hiatus. 

The 54-year-old has already saved Stuttgart, Hamburg and Wolfsburg from the drop and the organisational discipline he's renowned for was evident in Hertha's impressive win over Hoffenheim last Saturday. Back it up with another victory tonight and Labaddia can probably add another to his late season saviour list.

A football capital?

Considering its size, location and status, Berlin's footballing history is fairly unremarkable. This video provides some explanation as to why that is.

A derby with a difference

It's relatively rare there's a full house in Hertha's cavernous Olympiastadion, but tonight would normally have been one of those occasions. With no fans allowed in any stadiums for the rest of this Bundesliga season, at least, our man on the scene doesn't have much to look at.

The teams are in

Just one change for Hertha, with the returning Darida replacing Mittelstädt in midfield. The home side's skipper Ibisevic, a wily old fox with a rash streak, will lead the line supported by exciting young talents Cunha and Lukebakio. Cunha and Ibisevic both scored in the 3-0 win over Hoffenheim last Saturday.

The visitors recall top scorer Andersson after he was benched for their drab loss to Bayern, while former Dortmund center back Subotic drops to the bench after a poor showing.

Second East-West Berlin derby 

The first-ever Bundesliga derby between Union, the newly promoted team from the former East Berlin, and Hertha, the team from the former West Berlin, came on Matchday 10 last November, and is remembered more for what happened off the pitch than for the football.  

There were pyrotechnics aplenty from both sets of fans and at one point referee Deniz Aytekin suspended play for several minutes after rockets were fired onto the pitch and one fired from the Hertha end landed near the Union bench.  

The football was largely forgettable but, for the record, Sebastian Polter converted a last-minute penalty to secure Union all three points in their home ground, the Stadion an der Alten Försterei 

There's no chance of any problems with rockets being fired onto the pitch in the return fixture, though. Like all Bundesliga matches these days, it will be played behind closed doors under the DFL's (German Football League) hygiene plan for resuming league play despite the coronavirus outbreak. 

Despite strong criticism from the organized fans about resuming play without them, almost all of the 75,000 grey seats in Berlin's Olympic Stadium will remain empty. "This whole spectacle has nothing to do with the football which we love and support," tweeted the Hertha fan group Förderkreis Ostkurve, noting that football had "moved away from its roots."   

Lower-key build-up 

So while the first East-West Berlin derby had been eagerly anticipated in the capital for weeks, even months after Union won promotion to the Bundesliga for the first time, with the fans excluded from the stadium, the build-up for this one has been understandably more low-key. 

"The conditions are different, so it's a different derby," said new Hertha coach Bruno Labbadia, who will be looking to make it a perfect six points from his first two matches in charge after having won in his debut for the club in Hoffenheim last weekend.  

"Of course, it's not the derby we'd all wished for. What counts now is focusing on what we can influence and rise to the occasion," he added.   

Neighbors in terms of proximity, standings 

It hasn't been an easy season for Hertha, as evidenced by the fact that Labbadia is the fourth coach to take the reins this season and their position in 11th place in the standings. With Union in 12th, one point behind, this match will be about more than bragging rights. 

While neither looks to be in danger of relegation at the moment, as Labbadia put it, the three points could be "very useful" in ensuring that Hertha, who will have to do without the injured Karim Rekik and Marius Wolf, will have nothing to do with the drop.  

Despite being at home, and the much more established side in the top flight, Labbadia is refusing to regard his team as the favorites for Friday night's clash.  

"Union are doing very well, playing a strong season," said the 54-year-old, who also praised his counterpart at Union, Urs Fischer.  

"He has done a great job. They are very well organized. It will be an intense game; you don't get many chances."  

Fischer also found words of praise for the work of his counterpart 

"I believe that Bruno has a distinct style. His teams are very compact and aggressive, but they also try to play football," said Fischer, who wasn't on the bench for his side's 2-0 loss to Bayern Munich last Sunday due to a death in the family 

Like Labbadia, Fischer's focus is on putting more space between his team and the relegation zone. 

"Picking up six points from the derby will help enormously with our plans to stay in the league. It’s about staying in the league, not being city champions. Both would be nice, but our priority is to move three points closer to the target." 

-- In the spotlight: Matheus Cunha

Since joining Hertha in January the Brazilian has been afforded the game time he was starved of at Leipzig. Cunha has scored in his last three games with his effort on Matchday 26 going down as Goal of the Week. 

 

-- Last time out: Hertha Berlin 

A 3-0 scoreline wasn't the fairest reflection of Hertha's gritty win over Hoffenheim last weekend. The capital city side proved more effective in front of goal to ensure Bruno Labbadia made a winning startto life at the Hertha helm.

-- Last time out: Union Berlin

Having previously beaten Dortmund and Gladbach while they sat top of the Bundesliga, Union were unable to repeat the trick against Bayern. The newly-promoted side are without a win in three (1D 2L) heading into the Berlin derby.

-- Flashback: Pre-Matchday 10

-- Fun fact!

Union's 1-0 win thanks to a late Sebastian Polter penalty on Matchday 10 was the first Berlin derby in the Bundesliga since the 1976/77 campaign. It was perhaps more significantly the first-ever game in Germany's top flight between sides from the former East and West of the capital. 

-- From the coach's mouth: Bruno Labbadia 

"Of course it's not the derby we all wished for. What counts now is focussing on what we can influence and rise to the occasion. We did that well in Hoffenheim and we want to build on that." 

-- From the coach's mouth: Urs Fischer

"Picking up six points from the derby will help enormously with our plans to stay in the league. It’s about staying in the league, not being city champions. Both would be nice, but our priority is to move three points closer to the target."

-- Probable line-up: Hertha Berlin

Hertha: Jarstein - Pekarik, Torunarigha, Boyata, Plattenhardt - Grujic, Skjelbred - Lukebakio, Mittelstädt - Cunha, Ibisevic

-- Probable line-up: Union Berlin

Union: Gikiewicz - Hübner, Schlotterbeck, Subotic - Trimmel, Gentner, Andrich, Lenz - Ingvartsen, Bülter - Andersson

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