This weekend’s Bundesliga kicks off on Friday with the first ever top-flight Berlin derby at the Olympiastadion, as both sides play for bragging rights in the capital.
Bundesliga Matchweek 27
Hertha Berlin (11th) vs. FC Union Berlin (12th)
Date: Friday, May 22
Start Time: 2.30pm EST
Venue Olympiastadion – Berlin, Germany
TV Coverage: FOX Sports 2
Hertha Berlin vs. Union Berlin Match Preview
The first-ever top-flight Berlin derby at the Olympiastadion takes place on Friday between Hertha Berlin and Union Berlin. The atmosphere may not be as expected at the start of the season, but it is certainly going to be an exciting encounter between two clubs very close to one another both geographically and in the Bundesliga table.
Hertha currently sit in 11th place and Union are in 12th place, just 1 point separating the two sides. Both teams will be pretty confident of safety this season, as they are seven and eight points ahead of 16th place respectively. However, the Berlin sides will also feel they will have to pull off something special to reach the top six and those all-important European places. Hertha are eight points away from Wolfsburg in 6th and Union are nine points away.
The positioning of Hertha and Union in the Bundesliga table makes this fixture predominantly about local bragging rights. Union Berlin are experiencing their first ever season in the Bundesliga and, so far, have settled into the league relatively well. Friday’s clash will be just the second ever Bundesliga meeting between Hertha and Union, the first resulting in a 1-0 victory for Union back in November.
Both teams come into this fixture with mixed form, as expected from teams in 11th and 12th place in the table. Hertha are unbeaten in their last three games, including a convincing 3-0 win over Hoffenheim last weekend in their return to action. However, Hertha have only won two of their last six Bundesliga matches.
Union have also won two of their last six Bundesliga matches, against Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen in February. Their return to action saw a visit from league leaders Bayern Munich, who comfortably won 2-0. The loss to Bayern on Sunday was expected though and should not affect the club’s expectations for Friday’s derby.
Hertha Berlin’s Bundesliga form: L-W-L-D-D-W
Union Berlin’s Bundesliga form: W-L-W-D-L-L
For Hertha Berlin, Polish striker Krzysztof Piatek will certainly be the one to watch. While he hasn’t really made the expected impact since arriving at Hertha, many have compared his footballing characteristics and style of play to prolific goal scorer Robert Lewandowski. Union Berlin defenders will definitely be keeping a close eye on him if he features on Friday.
For Union, ex-Borussia Dortmund central defender, Neven Subotic, is sure to play an important role. He has experience of winning the Bundesliga under Jurgen Klopp and has played in his fair share of high-profile European matches. Union fans will hope that the 31-year-old can help contribute to another Berlin derby clean sheet on Friday.
Hertha Berlin vs. Union Berlin Match Prediction
We saw from last week’s games that a number of players are considerably short of match fitness. As a result, most matches had more of a pre-season friendly feel rather than a Bundesliga fixture at times. Both teams will desperate not to lose in this derby clash too, with no home fan advantage for Hertha. As mentioned, both Hertha and Union come into this clash with similar form. All factors point towards a draw here.
Hertha Berlin vs. Union Berlin Match Pick
The draw seems the most likely outcome here in front of an empty Olympiastadion.