BUNDESLIGA

Bundesliga preview: Hertha Berlin vs Union Berlin

All the latest news and information as Hertha Berlin host neighbours Union in the Bundesliga’s Friday night fixture.

Bundesliga preview: Hertha Berlin vs Union Berlin
THOMAS KIENZLE / POOL EFE

Hertha Berlin Predicted XI vs Union Berlin

Jarstein; Pekarik, Boyata, Torunarigha, Plattenhardt; Lukebakio, Grujic, Skjelbred, Mittelstadt; Cunha; Ibisevic.

Union Berlin Predicted XI vs Hertha Berlin

Gikiewicz; Lenz, Friedrich, Subotic, Hubner, Trimmel; Bulter, Promel, Andrich, Ingvartsen; Andersson.

Hertha Berlin vs Union Berlin Preview

These two sides faced each other in the Bundesliga for the first time back in November and a ferociously competitive match ended in a 1-0 victory for newly-promoted Union. But despite Sebastian Polter’s last-minute penalty it was the supporters who made headlines with flares thrown onto the pitch and Union players forced to hold back a group of ultras who had invaded the pitch to confront Hertha players.

This time around there is little danger of a repeat with Hertha’s Olympiastadion to remain empty in accordance with Germany’s social distancing regulations. Nevertheless this promises to be a fascinating game with just one point between the sides and bragging rights in a football-mad city at stake. Home side Hertha recorded a 3-0 victory in coach Bruno Labbadia’s first game in charge last week in an impressive showing away at Hoffenheim. Labbadia is their fifth coach in a year but made an instant impact and appears to be getting the best of young Brazilian Matheus Cunha, signed from RB Leipzig in January. Cunha has three goals and one assist in his five appearance since signing and looked a real threat playing just off Vedad Ibišević, the vastly-experienced captain.

Union’s first game back against Bayern Munich was always likely to end in defeat but they can feel relatively happy with how their acquitted themselves against the league leaders. They had just 38% of the possession but still managed seven attempts on goal and used the same direct tactics that have seen them steer clear of relegation this season. They have recorded the second-lowest pass completion percentage in the league but have won more aerial duels than other Bundesliga side this season. Urs Fischer’s usual 5-4-1 formation makes them very hard to break down and they pose a real threat from set pieces, accounting for 14 of their 32 goals this season. Their hopes are boosted by the return from injury of top scorer Sebastian Andersson who was only fit enough for the bench against Bayern.

Bundesliga Resumes Season After Nationwide Lockdown Due To The Ongoing Coronavirus CrisisBERLIN, GERMANY - MAY 17: A fan of Union Berlin gestures outside the Stadion An der Alten Forsterei ahead of the Bundesliga match between FC Union Berlin and FC Bayern Munich on May 17, 2020 in Berlin, Germany. The Bundesliga and Second Bundesliga is the first professional league to resume the season after the nationwide lockdown due to the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. All matches until the end of the season will be played behind closed doors. (Photo by Boris Streubel/Getty Images)

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Hertha are still without winger Salomon Kalou and centre-back Karim Rekik but will likely be able to name an unchanged team as Labbadia looks to build on a promising start last week. 35-year-old Ibišević may be a slight fitness concern after two months off but is likely to start, with AC Milan loanee Krzysztof Piatek offering an alternative off the bench.

The visitors will be without defender Keven Schlotterbeck who picked up his fifth yellow card of the season against Bayern. With Marvin Friedrich coming back from his own suspension for the game he is the obviously replacement. Wingers Akaki Gogia and Sheraldo Becker have both been ruled out.

Hertha Berlin vs Union Berlin: What they said

Michael Preetz (Hertha Berlin general manager):

"We all remember the match at the Alten Forsterei in the return fixture. We know that was a pitch black day for us. Now we have a chance to get a win in a match at home, sadly without fans. That’s what we are all striving for.”

Urs Fischer (Union Berlin head coach):

"In the end, it's a derby. It's a special game with lots of emotions. I'm sure I don't need to do much to get the players up for Friday.

"For me, the first and main goal is our overall goal - that is staying in the Bundesliga. We want to stay in the league with all our might, a victory against Hertha would help us a lot to reach this goal."

Prediction: Hertha Berlin are looking for just their fourth home win of the 2019/20 Bundesliga season and would sorely love to get some revenge for defeat last November. Union could not have faced a tougher test last week but with Andersson likely to start they will be confident that they can bounce back. Hertha have struggled to defend set pieces this season but in Cunha and Ibišević have the guile to unlock Union’s defence. Expect goals and a narrow home win. 2-1