Rugby fanatic - but so much more
Rugby fanatic - but so much more
It’s derby day in the German capital on Friday evening, with Hertha Berlin welcoming neighbours FC Union Berlin to the Olympiastadion. Of course, there won’t be the usual atmosphere for a derby, with the game being played behind closed doors due to the current global health crisis. Hertha will be hoping for some revenge, after losing to their newly-promoted local rivals in the reverse fixture earlier this season. Read on to find out where the best betting value can be found in this intriguing Bundesliga fixture.
Hertha Berlin recommenced their Bundesliga campaign last weekend with an impressive 3-0 victory away at Hoffenheim. Finding strikers who can score goals has been something of an issue for Hertha so far this season. Their top scorer is Dode Lukebakio, who has only scored five Bundesliga goals all season. Seeing his team score three times away from home will have cheered coach Bruno Labbadia considerably, and he will want to see a repeat in the derby. If you think that Hertha can win to nil again, Coral are offering odds of 4.00 on them repeating the feat this weekend.
FC Union are the first club from the old East Berlin to play in the Bundesliga, and this adds an extra edge to this version of the Berlin derby. Union have been something of a surprise package in 2019/20, after having been promoted last season via the play-offs. They are in mid-table, and look safe from relegation. They recommenced the season last weekend with a 2-0 home defeat to Bayern Munich, though, so will be looking to bounce back from that and generate some momentum for their restarted campaign. Victory in this game would take them above Hertha in the table.
This is not one of those local rivalries based on decades of mutual loathing, unusually for football. Quirks of history mean that these two teams viewed each other with something akin to liking for many years. This is due to the fact that before the fall of the Berlin Wall, Hertha fans would travel to the East of the city to support Union and show solidarity in their protests against the East German state. When the Wall fell and German football, along with the country, was reunited, the relationship began to change a little. Even now, though, there is not the outright hatred that comes with many derbies in world football.
Hertha are seen as a club that represents the whole city, though, and they train in all 12 Berlin districts. Union’s support is more working-class, and centres on the Köpenick district of the city. Union’s promotion to the Bundesliga came 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. They applied to play Hertha on November 9, 2019, the anniversary of the fall of the Wall, to mark that anniversary. As it turned out, the game was played on November 2, and ended in a 1-0 win for the team from the east. Sebastian Polter scored the game’s only goal from the penalty spot in the 87th minute.
This Friday’s game will be only the second time that the two sides have met in the German top tier. Prior to this season, their clashes had been in Bundesliga 2. In the 2012/13 season, Hertha won 2-1 at Union before the reverse fixture ended in a 2-2 draw. There was a reversal of that pattern to results in the 2010/11 campaign too. In that season, Union drew 1-1 at home with Hertha, but the East Berliners won 2-1 at Hertha.
There are few clues in those past encounters to try and predict how this weekend’s game might go. Hertha head into the game on the back of a strong performance against Hoffenheim, though, while Union were beaten by Bayern Munich last weekend.
Our recommended tip for this game comes from Coral, who are offering odds of 9.00 on the home side winning the game 2-1. We think that this is a likely result, given the form of the two sides last weekend. While Union will be keen to put one over their neighbours and climb above them in the table, we suspect that Hertha will be too strong after their convincing victory last weekend. Odds of 9.00 also represent really good value, and astute punters can use this game to build some tidy profits.