The fans in the grandstand rose. They clapped while Jordan Siebatcheu said goodbye on the field. The first to cross his path was his former colleague from Bern, Wilfried Kanga, who was wearing a blue jersey that afternoon. Siebatcheu shook his hand, rammed his chest into Kangas and left the lawn. To the loud applause of the fans – and as a fresh derby hero.
The new 1. FC Union striker scored his first Bundesliga goal after half an hour. And that in the derby against Hertha BSC. It was the start of a successful afternoon in red and white. Union started the new Bundesliga season with a deserved 3-1 (1-0) win.
The Köpenickers not only celebrated their fourth derby win in a row against Hertha, they were also able to start a Bundesliga season with a win for the first time since promotion three years ago. For Hertha, on the other hand, the season started off as uncomfortable as possible: the first round in the DFB Cup was followed by a clear defeat at local rivals. Hertha, the city’s former number one, was inferior to Union in every respect. One can no longer speak of coincidences.
A week ago, at the start of the season in the cup, neither team really excelled. Some (Hertha) a little less than the others (Union). Despite this, Urs Fischer made twice as many changes to his starting XI as his colleague for the guests. Diogo Leite defended instead of Domique Heintz in the back three, while Norwegian Julian Ryerson played for Niko Gießelmann on the left – because Fischer wanted to have a little more speed in the team.
Sandro Schwarz mainly reacted to the defensive weaknesses that Hertha had revealed against second division Eintracht Braunschweig in the cup. Central defender Dedryck Boyata, the former captain, wasn’t even in the squad for sporting reasons, Schwarz confirmed before kick-off. Newcomer Filip Uremovic took the Belgian’s place. Striker Kanga initially sat on the bench.
Even with a changed defense, Hertha immediately got into serious trouble. In the first five minutes, the guests fell from one difficulty to the next. After just 30 seconds, Union midfielder Rani Khedira tried from a promising position. His shot was just blocked. With a bit of luck, Hertha survived the next attacks unscathed. The guests’ heads were spinning.
But things calmed down afterwards. Hertha had the ball, Union let their local rivals do it without their own goal getting into any major problems. Sandro Schwarz’s team couldn’t think of much, their game seemed very static and was therefore not suitable for worrying the well-organized defensive Unions too much.
Hertha’s offensive players Dodi Lukebakio, Davie Selke and Myziane Maolida hardly played, and the guests from midfield lacked both ideas and dynamism. Union’s Danish goalkeeper Frederik Rönnow got just one shot on goal before the break. He had little trouble with Hertha’s captain Marvin Plattenhardt’s free kick.
Rönnow’s compatriot Oliver Christensen could not claim that on the other side. After almost half an hour he had to stretch badly to steer Ryerson’s shot to the corner. The Norwegian confirmed the confidence of his coach Fischer. Union repeatedly created danger down the left, which was also due to the fact that Jonjoe Kenny, Hertha’s right-back, was not always very skilful.
Even before Union’s opening goal, the Englishman didn’t look good. He was too far away from his opponent Sheraldo Becker, who crossed from the left to the middle. Jordan Siebatcheu, Union’s new striker, ran towards the first post and headed the ball in front of central defender Marc Kempf. Christensen didn’t have a chance to defend himself, so the American followed up his goal in the cup against Chemnitz with another goal on his Bundesliga debut.
Union deservedly led at the break, especially since the conspicuous Ryerson had just missed making it 2-0 with a deflected shot. Despite the inferiority of his team and the obvious shortcomings, coach Schwarz refrained from making any personnel changes – with the result that the second half began in a similar way to the first: Hertha immediately faced serious problems again.
The crucial difference was that 1. FC Union used their superiority early on to score another goal. After Siebatcheu initially failed with a header at Christensen, his strike partner Becker scored to make it 2-0. Janik Haberer, who came from Freiburg this summer, overplayed Hertha’s defense with a clever pass, Uremovic had to let Becker run, and Christensen no longer had a chance to defend.
Now Schwarz also reacted, preparing three players to come on as a substitute, but before the substitutions could be made, it was already 3-0 for 1. FC Union. After a corner, his central defender Robin Knoche beat Boateng with a header, the ball flew just past the post and into the goal. Christensen, although still a bit irritated by Rani Khedira, didn’t look well in this scene.
The linesman initially raised his flag because of Khedira’s intervention. However, the assessment by the video assistant showed that the Union midfielder was not offside – the goal counted.
Black brought Stevan Jovetic, Ejuke Chidera and Kanga and thus everything his bank still had in offensive power. Center forward Kanga had a good opportunity right after coming on. But his shot on goal, Hertha’s first from the game, came too centrally to seriously bother Rönnow. Only Lukebakio was able to defeat the Union goalkeeper to make it 1:3. But there were only five minutes left to play. Not enough for a real turning point.