Fireworks, clashes and three injuries … The first Berlin derby between the Union and Hertha, in November, was more than hot. On the contrary, in the second leg this Friday a sepulchral silence will reign in an Olympic Stadium behind closed doors.
In November, the ultras of both sides ‘celebrated’ with an excess of fireworks the rise of the Berlin Union. The referee had to interrupt the match for more than six minutes due to the hundreds of flares lit in the small and picturesque Alte Försterei stadium.
At the end of the game the Hertha fans responded to the provocations by throwing flares towards the benches and the stands of the Union. Police arrested 25 people involved in the riots. In sports, the Union won 1-0 with a penalty goal in the 87th minute.
“We did not forget that visit to the Alte Försterei,” said Hertha manager Michael Preetz. “It was a black day, now we have an opportunity to make us forget all that,” he added. “The conditions are completely different, it’s another derby,” said Hertha coach Bruno Labbadia, who was not at the post in November.
Another football too. In the times of the coronavirus, it will not be the behavior of the fans that the authorities and the media analyze. Yes that of the players, to verify that they respect the health safety distances, for example in the celebration of goals.
A highly criticized kiss
In the Bundesliga restart last weekend, Hertha was at the center of criticism because its Belgian striker Dedryck Boyata kissed teammate Marko Grujic, after the first of three goals in Hoffenheim (3-0 ).
A few days earlier, one of the team’s leaders, the Ivorian Salomon Kalou, was suspended by the club after having released a video in which he was seen shaking hands with his teammates in the dressing room.
The German League has not sanctioned, but has insisted on the duty to be exemplary to the championship players. The objective is to spread the correct message about social distancing measures.
In the classification both clubs fight side by side in the middle zone, Hertha is 11th with 31 points and Union is 12th to one. For the former it is a disappointing campaign, for the latter a success.
After a difficult start in August and September, in its first steps in the Bundesliga, the Union found its rhythm and seems in a position to ensure permanence, despite the 0-2 defeat at its stadium on Sunday against the leader Bayern Munich.
The Hertha, on the other hand, whom its leaders seek to turn into a ‘Big City Club’, is experiencing a nightmarish season. Labbadia is the fourth coach to sit on the bench since August. And Jurgen Klinsmann’s disastrous move left consequences.
Signed in late November to take the team to another dimension, the former German coach left the post 76 days later, accusing his managers of not letting him lead autonomously.