The Olympiastadion is sold as Union reminds Hertha who is the leader in Berlin | Bundesliga

Berlin is often overlooked as a football city. Not this weekend. For the first time in more than two years, the Olympiastadion was sold out and sung, but it was the only aspect of sporting life in the capital that seemed different. With almost 75,000 padded in the old stadium and a level of fervor that isn’t always Berlin’s business card and its football, its more banking name, Hertha, wasn’t enough at the time – not for the first time. time this season.

It was the support of sustainable visitors who enjoyed their afternoon, with an estimated 15,000 in the red and white of the Union bathed in the glory of an emphatic derby victory. “The fans were back at home,” said Grischa Prömel, who led the team’s second goal and was in tears after her last derby before leaving for Hoffenheim in the summer. It’s nice to beat Hertha three times and be city champions for a reason. ”

That’s right, three times. Since arriving in the Bundesliga in 2019, the Union has gone from curious to irritating to, now, dominant force. Urs Fischer’s team won the first top-flight derby between the two in November of that year, with Sebastian Polter’s late penalty cut the cacophony and the pear blast. There were many of those two elements on Saturday night, but less of the balance and tension that characterized that two-year meeting at the Stadion An der Altern Försterei, an opening statement at the top table by Union that becomes only more resonating with time passes. .

“The fact that the Köpenickers, with [Timo] Baumgartl’s own goal at the start of the second half also helped make the third derby even more exciting this season should not be mentioned here, “said Berliner Morgenpost’s Michael Färber. At least four minutes later, however, the visitors returned to the front due to Prömel’s header. the break from Sheraldo Becker and Sven Michel of the Union gave the scoreline an emphatic splendor it deserved and after victories earlier this season in the Bundesliga reverse match and here in the DfB Pokal, it reminded Hertha that he is the head in Berlin.

Because if the men in Köpenick still do their business with a certain modesty, it is debatable whether they can reasonably be qualified as underdogs. Now, the Union has ruled. He knew it too, and it could be seen from the moment the players entered the Olympiastadion field for their pre-match road on arrival. They were cheered on by Hertha fans who are already on the stage and the smiles on the faces of the players made them realize that they were enjoying the notoriety.

Perhaps more unexpectedly, Union acknowledged even in the days leading up to the derby. Speaking at Thursday’s press conference, Fischer nodded at growing expectations and ambitions. “We agreed between us,” said the coach of a chat between his players and staff, “that we’re trying to get the fifth or sixth place.” He spoke – in character – in a more conservative way of “defending the seventh”, which “might be enough for the Conference League again”, but for a man who has won titles in Switzerland, Fischer has always been painfully realistic. to the Union, always to speak. avoiding relegation as the main prize and anything else as a bonus.

Sheraldo Becker puts Union Berlin 3-1 against Hertha. Photography: Boris Streubel / Getty Images

Last year’s European qualification had been a pleasant bonus for the Union. This time, it’s a stated goal, even after losing the lynchpin attack Max Kruse returns to Wolfsburg in January. Christian Arbeit, a spokesman for the Union club, has casually referred to the Olympiastadion as “our European stadium”, with Alternate Försterei out of shape to host Uefa matches. Chances are he will be back in the next term, adding to Hertha’s outrage.

There was a lot of this among full-time home fans. When the ultras in the Ostkurve asked their approaching players to take off Hertha’s shirt, it was a scene reminiscent of Schalke’s hardcore “repossessing” Benjamin Stambouli’s captain’s armband after a heavy defeat in home to Fortuna Düsseldorf in March 2019 as the club fell into disrepair. . Those who were respected were largely the younger members of Hertha’s team such as teenager Linus Gechter, who inherited an unfair amount of responsibility at the back of the club’s past mistakes. “A line has been crossed that is not good,” head coach Fredi Bobic told Sport 1 Doppelpass on Sunday, and that is the last thing Hertha needed, as they remain in the second round.

Maximilian Mittelstädt, one of those who took off his shirt, preferred not to detail the discussion that had gone on between the fans and the players – “I want to avoid a conflict at the moment” – but this was not a game and not a small one. time. -named Felix Magath, but on a cumulative frustration, which was the last boil after a loss in the same workshop at the Pokal, back in January, with protests in the training camp. Magath has gone through a lot of valuable work to keep this fractured man in contact with security, and now he has to find deep digging again.

While Hertha plans to stay in the league, Union has an extra game to look forward to – a Pokal semi-final against RB Leipzig. They can make Europe through the league or the cup. “Doing it through the two would be nice,” Prömel reflects. Meanwhile, Magath’s reasoned attempts to put the defeat into perspective rubbed salt into the wound. “The opponents we have in the next few games are not enough at the level of the Berlin Union, so there will be opportunities for us,” the coach said. With Augsburg, Stuttgart and Arminia Bielefeld following, he was right, but it still hurts – like the truth on Saturday night.

Discussion points

  • “I have a lot to do before Tuesday,” Julian Nagelsmann said. “I’m aware of this. It won’t be too much on the tight win over Augsburg, with Robert Lewandowski’s late penalty the decisive blow, but more on the staff before the return of the Champions League with Villarreal. Sick Niklas Süle will be missing along with Corentin Tolisso, while the coach accepts Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sané need to regain his form.

John Reyna (center) left the Dortmund game at Stuttgart in tears.
John Reyna (center) left the Dortmund game at Stuttgart in tears. Photography: Tom Weller / AP
  • There was also bad news of injuries for Borussia Dortmund, with Gio Reyna in tears at the opening moments in Stuttgart with a recurrence of a thigh injury that ruined his season. His replacement Julian Brandt scored twice to claim a victory, but the concern for the American international taught him, while Mats Hummels left at half-time and is still out indefinitely.

  • In a day when a suggestion that Leipzig provide competition with Manchester United for the signing of Erik Ten Hag, Domenico Tedesco’s team did it with the kind of bravado that underlined what an unlikely move would be. They hammered a 3-0 defeat to Hoffenheim, probably putting Sinsheim’s side out of the Champions League. Christopher Nkunku’s excellent early strike paved the way after “you can snatch the game plan”, as visiting coach Sebastian Hoeness said.

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