Hertha Berlin vs Union Berlin match report
For the first time in German football history the Olympiastadion played host to a Bundesliga Berlin derby and it was the home side who ran out comfortable winners.
"The conditions are very different, therefore it's a different sort of derby”. Those were the words of Hertha Berlin coach Bruno Labbadia in the build up to this season’s second Berlin derby and he was proved correct by a resounding win for his side.
Since taking charge of Hertha during the Bundesliga’s suspension Labbadia’s side have finally began to live up to their promise as the capital’s biggest team. In an empty Olympiastadion they outclassed their local rivals and will feel they have exercised some demons after the disappointing defeat last November.
For the first 45 minutes on Friday evening Union did manage to weather the storm and limited the hosts to very few clear-cut chances. Matheus Cunha managed to manufacture the odd glimpse at goal but for the most part the backline of Michal Parensen, Florian Hübner and Marvin Friedrich kept him quiet.
Union's resolve runs out in second half
However, as was the case against Bayern Munich last weekend, Union’s resolve ran out in the second half and they never showed any sign of fighting their way back into the contest. Hertha’s first goal was a well-worked move, Marvin Plattenhardt finding himself in space on the left flank and whipping a cross onto the head of Vedad Ibišević, the Bosnian given far too much room in the middle of the box. The 35-year-old planted his header into the top corner to give his side the lead.
It took just a minute for the home side to double their lead and Ibišević was again involved, bringing down a hopeful long ball under pressure from the Union defence. Youngster Dodi Lukebakio was a willing runner throughout and he chased onto an inch perfect through ball, before rounding the goalkeeper and finishing with ease.
The reactions of both sides after that goal told the story and Hertha only reasserted their dominance during the remainder of the match. The impressive Cunha made his influence count on the hour-mark and showed the huge potential of this Hertha team under a good coach. The young Brazilian weaved his way between red shirts, toying with his opponents, before firing the ball into the bottom corner of Rafal Gikiewicz’s net.
Cunha and Ibišević were withdrawn long before the end as Labbadia looked to rest his charges before their trip to Leipzig next week. However there was still time for a fourth and it was the result of another excellent delivery from the left boot of Marvin Plattenhardt. The full-back’s set pieces had been a danger throughout and a pinpoint corner found the head of Dredryck Boyata, who duly nodded home.
It will not dim Union fans’ memories of their big day last November but the 4-0 score line should act as a sobering reminder that their Bundesliga safety is not yet guaranteed. For Hertha, another impressive performance under new boss Labbadia will give them reason to be optimistic.
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