Union Berlin has impressively underlined its supremacy in the capital with the “Derby Triple” and shot rival Hertha BSC a little closer towards relegation. The Irons won the one-sided city derby in the sold-out Berlin Olympic Stadium in front of 74,667 spectators after a solid performance 4-1 (1-0) and reduced the gap to the European Cup places.
In front of the flaming torches in the guest block, the Unioners danced like little children and celebrated the “Derby Triple” with the fans when the Hertha team were humiliated 150 meters away for the second time that evening. The outraged Ultras in the east curve demanded that the losers take off their jerseys and put them down. The clear symbolism behind it: you are not worth the blue and white jersey!
“After the game it’s clear that the fans are angry, that’s why I did it,” said left-back Maximilian Mittelstädt Sky: “Whether it’s something to do with humiliation or not, I just wanted to avoid a conflict.” Managing Director Fredi Bobic admitted: “I wouldn’t have done it. That has nothing to do with confrontation. Of course I understand the frustration that you lose the third derby in a row. It’s not fun for any of us. But we are also athletes.”
Union’s third city derby victory this season after the first leg (2-0) and the cup round of 16 (3-2) was achieved by Genki Haraguchi (31st), Grischa Prömel (53rd), Sheraldo Becker (74th) and Sven Michel (85th) with their goals. “Stadtmeister, Stadtmeister, Berlin’s number one!” sang the 12,000 or so Union fans before the final whistle. “Even though we had already won twice, we definitely wanted to win again, if only because of our fans,” said Union captain Christopher Trimmel.
Hertha, who suffered their second defeat in their third game under coach Felix Magath, were able to equalize with an own goal by Timo Baumgartl (49th), but were clearly inferior for long stretches. The outstanding goalkeeper Marcel Lotka prevented an even greater defeat, especially in the first half.
“Hertha will not be relegated”
“It was just not enough, of course,” said Lotka: “Now it’s time to get the necessary points. Hertha won’t be relegated.” But in order to stay up in the league, a performance like that against Union should “not happen again,” demanded the German Pole.
The Olympic Stadium was completely full for the first time since January 19, 2020, when Hertha lost 4-0 to Bayern Munich. Magath was really looking forward to that too: “Finally a full house again, finally a real football atmosphere again.”
After his players were urged by fans to remove their shirts, Magath admitted sky: “I understand that the fans are bitterly disappointed. Losing a derby at this level disappoints everyone. It doesn’t do justice to the situation: it’s not that the players don’t want it. They played against a better team and didn’t get so much counterplay that it became an open game.”
In the game of the year, the Hertha coach trusted a debutant of all people: U19 player Julian Eitschberger was supposed to bring in “energy and drive forward” as a left-back, but Magath’s plan didn’t work out. Eitschberger, substituted at half-time, had big problems. But he was not alone at Hertha.
The Union got off to a much better start. They were more venomous, more powerful, more secure in their passes – and more dangerous in front of goal. Becker (3rd), Baumgartl (4th), Prömel (13th) and Taiwo Awoniyi (17th) quickly had great chances to take the lead. But Hertha goalkeeper Lotka, who again replaced the injured Alexander Schwolow, reacted outstandingly. The adrenaline shot through his body a bit too much, however, and Lotka received a yellow card after a push against Prömel.
Hertha BSC: Jovetic injured early
For Hertha’s top scorer Stevan Jovetic, the game was over after just 20 minutes and eight ball contacts due to an injury. Because the man from Montenegro took too much time when he was substituted for Ishak Belfodil, he also received a warning.
Hertha seemed to paralyze the home advantage. The team was initially constricted in their own half by the guests, there were hardly any offensive actions in the first half apart from the volley from Myziane Maolida (38th). Only Lotka, who also destroyed a double chance of Christopher Trimmel and Becker (29th), reached normal form. When Haraguchi headed after a Becker cross, the German Pole was also defeated.
The start of the second half was eventful: Baumgartl first steered the ball into his own goal when trying to clear, and just four minutes later Prömel put the Union ahead again after a cross from Niko Gießelmann. After that, the guests withdrew a little to drive over the fast counterattacks by Becker and Awoniyi. This tactic worked in the 3:1 by Becker. Hertha had few ideas when in possession of the ball.