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Hertha hammer Union at empty Olympic Stadium


Hertha Berlin’s Vedad Ibisevic (3rd L in white and blue jersey) scores his team’s opening goal during the Bundesliga match against Union Berlin at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin.
 BERLIN, May 23: Hosts Hertha claimed the Berlin derby bragging rights over Union with a convincing 4-0 victory in their almost empty 74,000-capacity Olympic Stadium.

Hertha moved up to 10th place after the opening match of the second round of games since the Bundesliga restarted last week under strict coronavirus measures thanks to second-half goals from Vedad Ibisevic, Dodi Lukebakio, Matheus Cunha and Dedryck Boyata.

“It would have been fantastic if we could have played a game like that in front of 75,000 spectators. But I hope that the fans at least had fun in front of their TVs,” said Hertha coach Bruno Labbadia.

Labbadia started Czech Republic midfielder Vladimir Darida in the only change from last Saturday’s win at Hoffenheim in his first home match in charge.

Union’s Urs Fischer, who guided the east Berlin outfit to the top-flight for the first time this season, brought in four fresh faces to his starting lineup after Sunday’s loss to champions Bayern Munich.

A minute silence was held before kick-off at the eerily quiet ground in the German capital in remembrance of all victims of COVID-19.

The best chance of the opening 20 minutes, which were dominated by Labbadia’s men, fell to winger Lukebakio but the DR Congo international’s effort was saved by Rafal Gikiewicz.

Labbadia’s side continued their dominance into the second half. Lukebakio was stopped two minutes into second half again by Gikiewicz before captain Ibisevic headed home a powerful opener.

Just 70 seconds later Hertha doubled their lead as Bosnia-Herzegovina forward Ibisevic fed Lukebakio who got the better of Gikiewicz with a side-footed effort.

Hertha added a third on the hour mark as Brazilian playmaker Matheus Cunha scored his fourth goal of the season.

Centre-back Boyata claimed a fourth with 13 minutes to play. – AFP

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