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Saturday, April 1, 2023

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Happy 2-0 victory at Hertha BSC: 1. FC Union wins the fifth derby in a row

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When the Hertha BSC team stepped onto the pitch 37 minutes before the derby kicked off, the stadium announcer greeted them with a sentence that has often been used in a similar form over the past few days to exude some optimism amidst the blue and white drabness. “It doesn’t matter what happened,” said Udo Knierim. “It can only get better!”

After the 0:5 against Wolfsburg on Tuesday, that wasn’t too daring thesis and Hertha’s stadium announcer was right. The table penultimate made a decent game on Saturday afternoon in front of 74,667 spectators in the sold-out Olympic Stadium and was the more dangerous of two harmless teams against 1. FC Union for long stretches.

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The fact that it was still 2-0 (1-0) for the Köpenickers after goals from Danilho Doekhi and Paul Seguin was somehow indicative of the state of the two Berlin Bundesliga teams.

Union is currently doing everything and with the third win in a row, the team remains Bayern’s first pursuer, at least in the table. Hertha’s team didn’t fall apart like they did against Wolfsburg, but they remain pointless this calendar year and are in acute danger of relegation. “Union scores two goals from two chances, we also have two chances but don’t score,” said goalkeeper Oliver Christensen. “Because of that effectiveness, they’re second and we’re second-last.”

Both coaches made several changes after the weekday games, Sandro Schwarz not only due to performance. Two defenders, Agustin Rogel and Jonjoe Kenny, were out and were replaced by Filip Uremovic and Peter Pekarik. Since Hertha’s coach captain Marvin Plattenhardt ordered Maximilian Mittelstädt into the starting XI, only Marc Kempf remained from the back four from the Wolfsburg debacle. Jean-Paul Boetius also played in midfield instead of the much more defensive Ivan Sunjic.

Union coach Urs Fischer, on the other hand, was able to draw on plenty and opted for three fresh players. Jerome Roussillon made his starting debut as a left rail player, Christopher Trimmel returned at the other end and Andras Schäfer started in central midfield for the first time after his foot injury.

Hertha’s fans greeted their team with a choreography worth seeing.
© Imago/Michael Taeger

Hertha’s fans got their team onto the pitch with a choreography worth seeing and covered half of the Olympic Stadium in blue and white. The players had obviously made something and started well. The hosts were grippy in the duels, stood securely and were the more dangerous team in a first half with few chances.

Hertha’s high pressure put Union’s back team under pressure a few times, but after winning the ball, there was a lack of directness in the penalty area. Marco Richter missed the right moment to score, Dodi Lukebakio’s crosses went unnoticed and Suat Serdar’s shot went over the goal. Nevertheless, Schwarz could be largely satisfied with the performance of his team. There was no way to tell that a top team was playing against a relegation candidate.

Union coach Urs Fischer was not satisfied for a long time

Such categorizations are foreign to Fischer and yet the Union coach shook his head several times on the sidelines. His team had more possession, but didn’t know what to do with it. “We were nervous, gave away a lot of balls and didn’t start the game well,” said Rani Khedira.

Ideas and precision were lacking in the opposing half, and the game went completely past top scorer Sheraldo Becker. Union didn’t get a shot at Hertha’s goal in the first 43 minutes – and still went into the break with a lead.

The emergence of the 1:0 must have driven Black to despair. Because the coach had warned his team extensively during the week about Union’s strength according to standards. Exactly a week ago, Doekhi Union headed a brace from a Trimmel corner to win against Hoffenheim, now the Dutch central defender followed up after the captain’s free-kick. Kempf came a little too late in the aerial duel and goalkeeper Christensen was powerless. “The ball was kicked perfectly, the run optimal. That’s how you take the lead against the flow of the game,” said Fischer.

After Union made it 2-0, Hertha protested collectively

The fact that the lead was extremely flattering didn’t bother Union fans in the least. At the beginning of the second half, they shrouded the stadium in dense fog with countless Pyros. Fischer brought on Paul Seguin for the slightly injured Schäfer and the guests seemed to get the game under control a little better. Hertha needed some time to process the deficit, but then gradually increased the pressure.

This inevitably created spaces that Union used in the 67th minute to make it 2-0 – it was an extremely bitter goal for Hertha. After a duel between Rani Khedira and Marco Richter in the away penalty area, players and fans vehemently demanded penalties. But the game went on, Becker shook off Pekarik and put it across to Seguin, who pushed the ball into the empty goal. Referee Felix Brych looked at the disputed duel on the monitor, but didn’t recognize a foul.

It was a low blow for Hertha, but the team didn’t give up. Tousart tested goalkeeper Frederik Rönnow with a header, Richter with a long-range shot. Schwarz made an offensive change and brought, among other things, Niederlechner, who particularly likes to score against Union. But nothing helped. In the guest block they once again sang about “Stadtmeister – Berlin’s number one”. It is undisputed that this is called Union in view of the table and five derby wins in a row.

Source: Tagesspiegel

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