Union beats Hertha BSC 3:1


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1.FC Union: Rönnow – Ryerson (Gießelmann), Leite, Knoche,  Jaeckel, Trimmel (C) – Haberer (Schäfer), Khedira, Haraguchi (Pantovic) –Siebatscheu (Behrens), Becker (Leweling)

Hertha BSC: Christensen – Plattenhardt, Kempf, Uremovic, Kenny – Sunjic (Darida) – Serdar, Prince – Maolida (Jovetic), Selke (Kanga), Lukebakio

Goals: 1-0 Siebatcheu (31), 2-0 Becker (50), 3-0 Knoche (54), 3-1 Lukebakio (85)

Attendance: 22,012 (Sold out)

The Alte Försterei bounces in the sunshine. Union dominant

There were flags and there was riotous noise, and a sense of optimism among the Unioner before kick-off. A sea of red and white rolling, crashing up and down the Waldseite, and their infectious, riotous volume was taken onto the pitch by an Union line-up boasting only three new faces in Diogo Leite, Janik Haberer and Jordan Siebatcheu.

Maybe head coach Urs Fischer had decided that cooler, older heads were necessary. But his side flew out of the traps in a hectic, frenetic first five minutes that saw Jaeckel have a shot in the first minute, bounced off Kenny. Becker burst onto it but the ball got lost in the crowd.

Trimmel hit a dangerous cross across the box where his team-mate’s lunges failed to make contact. The superb debutant Leite, who showed an unforgivingness in the tackle and a silken touch on the ball, found Haberer who in turn combined with Siebatcheu. The debutant slipped the ball to Harguchi whose cross was mere millimetres above the head of the tireless Sheraldo Becker.

After 27 minutes Ryerson then bent a glorious effort with his right foot, his shoulders back, his instep flashing, towards the top right corner which was only palmed away by the superb flying Christensen.

Jordan’s delight

Just four short minutes later Union made the breakthrough. Haberer turned again, finding Becker, this time popping up on the left wing. Eschewing the temptation to cut inside onto his stronger foot though, he pushed on, crossing squarely with his left before he hit the byline. Siebatcheu had seen this coming while he was still back in the youth ranks at Reims, he muscled past Filip Uremovic, flicking his header across goal and inside the far post.

Union were dominant, at times unplayable. The superb Ryerson seeing a shot palmed away by the flying fingertips of Hertha’s keeper, Christensen.

Union run rampant in the second half

Smoke rose from behind both goals for the beginning of the second half, blue behind one goal, red from the other. One set in hope, and one set in delirious expectation. And Union carried on where they had left off. Harrying, passing and moving, stretching Hertha, pulling them apart, bullying them.

Haberer flashed over the bar into the mist of the Waldseite after 47 minutes.  But then Becker, a menace on both flanks and through the middle, latched onto a through ball, tormenting his marker, bursting past him, and finishing, the desperate lunge of a lonely defender unable to stop the movement of the ball as it rolled over the line with glorious inevitablity.

And within a couple of minutes it was three. Robin Knoche rising to header home Christopher Trimmel’s cross. The howls of disappointment at the linesman’s flag being forgotten within seconds as the video assistant ruled Rani Khedira not offside after all.

Hertha’s struggles

Hertha couldn’t get away, they couldn’t get the ball under control. Serdar’s hopeful chipped pass, sailing away over an empty Union penalty area summing up their state of frustration after 65 minutes. As did Ivan Sunjic’s yellow card  for a kick at the excellent Khedira with only ten minutes to go, or Lukebakio’s despairing shot way over the bar from outside the box with ten minutes to go.

There was a moment of respite for the Herthaner, having travelled across the city only for this, as, after a mix up between Pantovic and Behrens the ball broke loose to Lukebakio who finished neatly inside Frederic Rönnows back post, glad suddenly to capitalise on the briefest and rarest of moments of space he found near the box after 85 mins.

But the Unioner then sung as one, “Stadmeister, stadtmeister. Berlin’s nummer eins” and even after the three back-to-back wins against their near-neighbours last year, rarely has it seemed so tangible and true. 

Union beats Hertha BSC 3:1

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