1. FC Union Berlin has increased the pressure on FC Bayern and, with their fifth derby win in a row, has given the staggering Hertha the next serious blow.
Coach Urs Fischer's team won the second half of the season in the Bundesliga 2-0 (1-0) in the sold-out Olympic Stadium in the capital's rivals. In front of 74,667 spectators, Danilho Doekhi (44th minute) scored for the guests from Köpenick after assists by Christopher Trimmel and Paul Seguin (67th).
While the Irons are now level on points with the record champions at least until the Bayern game against Eintracht Frankfurt in the evening (6.30 p.m. / Sky), Sandro Schwarz’s team is getting deeper and deeper in the relegation vortex due to the third loss in a row. With 14 points, the Charlottenburgers are still in 17th place. Hertha had already lost the previous four derbies, three in the league and one in the DFB Cup.
The next difficult task awaits the stumbling blue and white next Saturday at Champions League candidate Frankfurt (3.30 p.m. / Sky). Union continues on Tuesday in the DFB Cup round of 16 against VfL Wolfsburg (8:45 p.m. / Sky). On the following Saturday, FSV Mainz 05 will come to the An der Alten Försterei stadium (3:30 p.m. / Sky).
New signing Florian Niederlechner was in the squad for the first time at Hertha, but initially sat on the bench. Fischer switched to the full-back positions for the guests. Jérôme Roussillon made his starting XI debut. Captain Trimmel started at right-back.
With a great choreography, the Hertha appendix provided an appropriate framework for the kick-off. Schwarz had hoped before the game that his team should regain a good feeling with many small successes. The team implemented this in the initial phase. The hosts were toxic in the duels, won a few balls through early pressing - to applause from the stands. In the attacking game, however, Hertha remained imprecise as so often.
A shot from Suat Serdar (33') from a central position over the goal remained the most dangerous goal approach. The guests did even less forward. A tough game developed with almost no goal area scenes, but with many fouls and weak pass rates.
For the flattering leadership, the Köpenicker relied on a proven variant. Cross from Trimmel, header by Doekhi. This time from a free kick and not from a corner, like twice against Hoffenheim. It was the twelfth Union goal of the season per head, for Hertha already the ninth goal of this kind.
Dense clouds of fog moved through the stadium after the break. The fans of the Iron ignited pyrotechnics. Hertha kept trying, but not dangerous. The iron lurked on the counterattack.
One of these occasions made the preliminary decision. In his 100th competitive game for Union, Sheraldo Becker prevailed on the sidelines against veteran Peter Pekarik and served substitute Seguin in the penalty area. Hertha demanded a penalty for a press shot in front of the goal between Rani Khedira and Marc Oliver Kempf in the guests' penalty area, but referee Felix Brych refused after looking at the video images. The Hertha fans fell silent for the time being. Frederik Rönnow parried a corner against Hertha's Lucas Tousart (75') and then a deflected shot from Marco Richter (83').