Union Berlin wins derby, knocks Hertha out of German Cup
BERLIN (AP) — Union Berlin delivered another demoralizing blow to city rival Hertha Berlin by dumping its neighbor out of the German Cup with a 3-2 away win in the round of 16 on Wednesday.
Union won their previous meeting 2-0 in the Bundesliga in November and the latest success consolidates the upstart club’s status of “Stadtmeister” (city champion) over its long-suffering rival.
“We gave everything and I think we thoroughly deserved to win,” Union forward Max Kruse said. “We have music. We’ll celebrate a bit.”
Union has been enjoying an upward trajectory since its first promotion to the Bundesliga in 2019, while Hertha has been struggling to live up to expectations since a huge financial investment in the club from Lars Windhorst the same summer.
Goals from Andreas Voglsammer and Robin Knoche, and an own-goal from Hertha defender Niklas Stark, sent Union through to the quarterfinals — and two wins from reaching the final in the same stadium.
Only 3,000 fans were allowed in Berlin’s 70,000-capacity Olympiastadion due to coronavirus measures. Of those, the 200 Union supporters made more noise throughout.
The visitors had a better start as Kruse drew a smart save from Alexander Schwolow after just 10 seconds. The Hertha goalkeeper had to make another inside the first minute and Union duly scored in the 11th, when Voglsammer had to stretch to reach Kruse’s deep cross – which he did, looping it acrobatically over Schwolow and inside the far post.
Union was awarded a penalty for a hand ball by Stark some 20 minutes later, but it was taken back after a VAR check showed offside in the buildup. VAR was needed again before the break, when Hertha had an equalizer from Suat Serdar ruled out as Ishak Belfodil was offside before it.
Vladimir Darida sent a great chance over after the break for Hertha, before Stark deflected Levin Öztunali’s cross inside his own net for Union’s second goal in the 50th.
An own-goal by Rani Khedira pulled one back for Hertha four minutes later, but Robin Knoche scored Union’s third goal a minute after that.
“We defend like a school team,” Hertha sporting director Arne Friedrich said. “It’s hard to comprehend.”
Hertha kept pushing, even after Stark went off with an apparent injury, as Union adopted a more defensive stance. Hertha captain Dedryck Boyata might have scored with a header from a promising position if not for a subtle shove in his back.
For all the home team’s efforts, however, it couldn’t find a way through. By the time Serdar scored with his chest in injury time, it was too late.
ANOTHER BORUSSIA GONE
Borussia Mönchengladbach was knocked out in a 3-0 loss at second-division Hannover. Gladbach defeated Bayern Munich 5-0 in the previous round, but now joins namesake Borussia Dortmund and Bayern as a spectator. Defending champion Dortmund lost at St. Pauli on Tuesday.
Leipzig substitute Dani Olmo scored with his first touch on a counterattack to seal a 2-0 win over second-division Hansa Rostock.
Also, Freiburg won 4-1 at Hoffenheim to reach the quarterfinals.
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