After his first Bundesliga goal, Jordan Siebatcheu ran to the Union fans behind the goal and cheered like he always does. Thumbs up, he stretched both index fingers inward to make an “H” out of his hands. Half a second later, Sheraldo Becker was at his side and copied the gesture.

A few days earlier, Siebatcheu had explained the meaning of his trademark celebration. The touch of the two index fingers is a gesture of cohesion, said the new striker of 1. FC Union. With his family, with his friends, with his fans and finally also with his teammates.

So it was fitting that Becker repeated the gesture. After just a few weeks, Union’s new strike duo seems to have developed a very good relationship. The fact that Siebatcheu was able to score the first goal in the 3-1 win against Hertha BSC was mainly due to Becker’s good pass. The cross and the header set the tone for a brilliant derby victory for the Köpenickers. “It’s not all working out yet, but I think they indicated today what skills they have and still have,” said coach Urs Fischer after the game.

As a newcomer, it was of course Siebatcheu who drew attention afterwards. But the engine of Union’s strong offensive performance was Becker, who not only crowned an outstanding performance with his assist to make it 1-0, but also with a goal in the second half. Right, left, front, back: the Surinamese international seemed to be everywhere on Saturday, while also being selfless in his work off the ball, continuing his brilliant form from spring.

It’s a remarkable transformation that Becker has made in the past few months. Almost a year ago he was still considered a problem child, and in autumn 2021 he even spoke of a farewell due to the lack of operational time. After Max Kruse’s departure, however, he flourished in the second half of the season and his strong performances made a significant contribution to Union being able to qualify for the Europa League.

But it was still not considered a haven of peace, at least in public. The perception of his role was too much influenced by other things: his little outburst of anger after being substituted against Cologne in April, or the many rumors about a change in the summer. It was considered unlikely that the flair player Becker could be compatible with the rather puritanical football of Urs Fischer in the long term.

But as it turns out, that may have been a misjudgment. When he shared a very warm moment with his coach at the derby in April in the catacombs of the Olympic Stadium, it spoke a different language. Even then, Fischer didn’t want to publicly criticize the player, and even then Becker said in a Tagesspiegel interview that he could well imagine a contract extension.

That has now happened, Becker should now be tied to Union until 2025. In the season that has just started, he is likely to become more and more of a leading player. A few weeks ago he was elected to the team council, and just last week Siebatcheu raved about how much Becker had helped him settle into Berlin.

Becker’s rise to leader shouldn’t come as a surprise, though. Because that was always a secret of success for the Köpenickers in the past. Not only did they quickly integrate newcomers like Siebatcheu into the team, but also that many players could be developed into reliable managers. In some cases, such as with Bundesliga legionnaires Robin Knoche or Rani Khedira, this process was already foreseeable upon arrival. With others, like Grischa Prömel, Max Kruse or now Becker, it was less a matter of course.

In this way, Union has also managed to maintain stability despite the many upheavals in the squad and to turn the balance of power in Berlin professional football upside down. After Hertha’s fourth derby defeat in a row, coach Sandro Schwarz spoke of demanding more “willingness” and “mutual support” from his team. “That’s what the opponent did today. You see this dynamic, that they’ve grown as a group,” he said appreciatively of Union.

The togetherness is just right. Both on the pitch and in the long-term development curve. Not only Jordan Siebatcheu underlined this with his jubilant pose on Saturday, but also Sheraldo Becker.