The Berlin Derby kicks off the second week of Bundesliga action in the aftermath of the enforced break as Hertha Berlin hosts cross-town rivals Union Berlin on Friday night.
With just 8 games to go, Hertha are just one point ahead of Union in 11th place on the table standings 8 points behind 6th place Wolfsburg. Whilst a European place finish might look like a tough act at this point, Hertha’s immediate concern is to avoid the ignominy of being seen as the second-best team in Berlin with Union threatening to do that after winning the reverse derby earlier in the season. A win here for Union will see them swapping places with their cross-town rivals on the table. Sebastian Polter’s 87th-minute penalty was the difference when they met in November in the first-ever Berlin derby at the top-flight level. Hertha are nevertheless having a better run of form that their neighbours at the moment coming into this game. They are unbeaten in their last three games. They beat Hoffenheim 3-0 last weekend to breathe some life into their 2019-2020 campaign that seemed dead in the water at some point. Bruno Labbadia could not have asked for a better performance from Hertha, having taken over from Jurgen Klinsmann in April. It was the second-highest margin of victory for a Hertha coach in his first Bundesliga match. This derby presents them an opportunity to get back-to-back wins for the first time since December. They, however, look set to remain rooted in the mid-table as 6th place appears to be a bridge too far with just 8 games to go. A major assignment that awaits Bruno Labbadia is fixing their away performances which seems to have hurt them the most, picking up just 11 points from their 13 matches with their three away wins coming against lower-ranked opposition. They have, in fact, lost four of their previous six away encounters, conceding a total 13 goals in losses at Fortuna Dusseldorf, RB Leipzig, Borussia Dortmund and, most recently, Freiburg.
Union Berlin maiden Bundesliga campaign has by accounts been a successful one up to this point. They are currently 12th in the table, seven points clear of Fortuna Dusseldorf in the relegation play-off spot and with just 8 games to go, the excitement amongst their fans over the possibility of them surviving the chop is palpable. Their quest for a top-half finish to cap their memorable maiden season takes them across Germany‘s capital to the Olympiastadion, where local rivals Hertha Berlin are setting the dinner table for them on Friday night. Union Berlin have the bragging rights coming into this game after winning Bundesliga’s maiden Berlin derby earlier in the season at their An der Alten Forsterei home thanks to an 87th minute Sebastian Polter’s penalty in a game they largely dominated for long spells. Union have been pretty solid at their home stadium where six of their nine league wins have come this season. They have won five of their last eight Bundesliga home games. It is away from home where they have struggled with just 3 wins from their 13 games, although two of those wins have been in their last three Bundesliga away games. Overall, though, Urs Fischer’s men have stumbled in their last five matches with just one dating back to February. This poor run of form has seen them drop down to 12th on the log. They also failed to impress in last weekend’s 2-0 loss against league leaders Bayern Munich. Granted it was against Bayern, but that was still a below-par display by their standards in last weekend’s. The visitors will have to show more biting teeth upfront if they are to stand any chance on Friday evening and make a piece of Berlin derby history by doing the double. Sweden striker Sebastian Andersson who is their leading striker was quiet in that Bayern game but we expect the aura of a derby – even in the absence of fans – to fire up his laurels. Defender Marvin Friedrich will be available for selection after serving a suspension last weekend against Bayern for a red card he had picked before the break.
Although the reverse fixture, which finished 1-0 in favor of Union was a tight contest, this time around we have a rejuvenated Hertha, with a new coach, who the players appear to have bought into his philosophy already if last weekend’s impressive 3-0 away win is anything to go by. We expect Hertha to come out guns blazing as they try to avoid a clean sweep by a promoted side in a local derby. We are therefore backing them to win or draw @ 1.40 as our first betting tip for this game. Goals have also been a common denominator at the Olympiastadion this season – Hertha’s home matches have an average of 3.23 goals this far into the season. Being a derby, and with so much to play for, the intensity for the game will be through the roof and we can expect goal-scoring opportunities for both teams in this match. We are therefore going with 1xBet betting app‘s Both Teams to Score option @ 1.72 for our final betting tip.
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