"Downfall", Ultras, unfit: Hertha breaks up as brutally as Bayern wins

Hertha BSC destroyed the tentative spirit of optimism in the club in the most brutal way: with a Bundesliga unsuitable appearance at Union Berlin.

"Downfall", Ultras, unfit: Hertha breaks up as brutally as Bayern wins

Hertha BSC destroyed the tentative spirit of optimism in the club in the most brutal way: with a Bundesliga unsuitable appearance at Union Berlin. The Ultras demand unconditional commitment before the next derby bankruptcy. But Hertha disappoints as consistently as Bayern wins.

Eintracht Stadium in Leipzig on Sunday evening a week ago. The Hertha singer from the ultra group "Harlekins Berlin" speaks energetically to Hertha's professionals after the cup failure in Braunschweig. There are probably mainly encouraging words, after all, the important city championship is coming up six days later. The capo asks the Berliners to give everything they have in the derby. Davie Selke goes on to say that he communicated the importance of the game to the team. "We are also aware of that!" Said the striker at the time. "We couldn't give the fans a derby win last season (...) and we really want to change that."

But the city championship, which is even more important to the Hertha team than the cup, mutated into another disgrace for the West Berliners. The Ultras had demanded that everything be smashed. And what is the old lady doing? No struggle, no physicality, no concentration. Where is the aggressiveness and attacking football à la Sandro Schwarz? Selke and his teammates are as far away from the gift of the derby victory in the 1:3 (0:1) against the Irons as the sold-out Alte Försterei is from the empty Olympic Stadium.

On this sunny Saturday afternoon in Köpenick, the Hertha goalkeepers first come out of the catacombs to warm up. The loudspeakers boomed "What ruined you so much?" by the indie band The Stars. Bad omens for West Berliners? You can feel a certain spirit of optimism in the club in the past few weeks and months. Finally, it seems, they have found the right, experienced coach in black. The new president, Kay Bernstein, is one of "them," the fans. But all that breaks up in 90 minutes in Köpenick. Of course, only one game has been played in the league, but the perceived upswing has leveled off with the second bitter bankruptcy - and has already turned threatening.

Do you play a team that desperately wants to win one of the most important games of the season? Hertha is high in a 4-3-3 from the start, but it is Union that sets off fireworks straight away. The Irons have several good situations in the opposing penalty area in the first three minutes. On the other hand, the old lady doesn't even get a real shot on goal in the first half, the entire team is barely visible.

Selke is not in the game at all, long balls are always easily defused by the Union defensive. Counter attempts get lost in midfield and remain harmless. Union does it cleverly, stands low, compact and safe. The Köpenickers attacked early in the game and didn't even let Hertha get there, attacking in midfield and then playing easily, quickly and directly to the lightning-fast strikers. What worked offensively at Hertha in the cup game in Braunschweig is now not on the pitch at all.

In addition, the defense presented disastrous. Head of defense Dedryck Boyata is banned from the squad by coach Schwarz for "sporting reasons" before the game, but without him the new defense is unsuitable for the Bundesliga. In midfield, the FCU buys the BSC absurdly easy with robustness. The Old Lady can't counter with physicality and exudes virtually zero threat and very little energy throughout the game.

Who goes ahead, who pulls along? The bitter answer is: nobody. Leitwolf Kevin-Prince Boateng is as little a factor as Suat Serdar, who mostly remains half-left and inconspicuous. Captain Marvin Plattenhardt works on his left side, but he can't find any solutions either. The team looks a little tired and Schwarz can't think of anything to counter the Köpenickers on the sidelines or during the break.

Hertha cannot afford another derby bankruptcy. The last three competitive games were lost against Union: 3: 9 goals, no point and the bitter elimination in the round of 16 of the 2021/22 DFB Cup. Fans need achievements to hold on to. that strengthen identity. They show: "This club also gives you something in return, not only do you sacrifice so much of your dedication, love and free time." So it takes the ultimate redemption so that the mood of the fans does not change completely. So that there are no scenes like last year, when around 70 ultras stormed the training ground and threatened the players after the 3-2 defeat against Union in the cup. When finally, after the 4-1 swatter against their city rivals, the Hertha kickers had to take off their jerseys and lay them on the floor of the Olympic Stadium.

But the pathetic attempt to repay the fan affection bursts in the 32nd minute when Theoson-Jordan Siebatcheu heads in directly in front of the Hertha team for a deserved Union lead. The Hertha players trotted to the center circle with their heads bowed and sneaked into the dressing room a little later for the break. The blue and white trailers give peace of mind for the first time. How does the old lady react?

Not at all. It's the Köpenickers who start again with two good chances in the next 45 minutes. The 2-0 in the 50th minute is symbolic: In midfield, of course, Union wins the fight for the ball - and after a few direct contacts, Sheraldo Becker races towards goalkeeper Oliver Christensen and tips the ball over the line. Physicality, straightforwardness, speed of thought - the red and white show all of that, all of that is missing in blue and white. This time the Hertha fans are silent a little longer.

Then it is not the old lady who fights, it is the iron ones who continue to set the tone offensively. Robin Knoche's headed goal in the 54th minute after a corner has to be checked by VAR first, but the people from Köpenick can then celebrate twice. The looks of the Hertha players go collectively into nothing, the false start is perfect. The afternoon is over, the city championship goes to the Köpenicker once again.

It was only in the 60th minute that the BSC actually scored the first dangerous shot after an attack on the right flank. The 1: 3 for Hertha shortly before the end by Dodi Lukebakio then caused neither the fans nor the players to celebrate. No one sprints to the ball in goal to run straight back to the halfway line. Nobody whips the fans. The disappointment, the disillusionment with the poor performance in a derby runs too deep.

Final whistle: Tired high five, the team sneaks in front of the guest curve and stands frozen. But the Ultras don't ignite the next level of escalation, they even celebrate their team, albeit with rather half-hearted applause. After a minute, the players troll again.

The reluctance of the Hertha fans could have something to do with the new President Kay Bernstein, who said on Friday in the "Süddeutsche Zeitung": "I have the impression that after many years of alienation, the fans now have the feeling: We let's take our club back and tackle it together." He also analyzes the popularity of the ultras after the Braunschweig bankruptcy as a positive sign, because the club is now "exchanging ideas with the active fan scene" again.

It's just annoying that the amber effect doesn't take effect on the pitch. None of the participants see any positive signs there. After the game there is a lot of silence in the team anyway. Only Lukebakio and Oliver Christensen briefly face the press. "Everything," the striker replies when asked what BSC needs to do better in the next game. That can take time, there are likely to be difficult weeks ahead for Hertha: The next opponents are Frankfurt, Gladbach and Dortmund.

The 23-year-old goalkeeper Christensen then said the team was "disappointed and angry" because "we wanted this special win for our fans and for us". He would not have felt any extra pressure after the Harlequins announcement in Braunschweig. Trainer Schwarz analyzed after the game at Sky: "In terms of intensity and duel sharpness, that was not enough."

With a view to the broken spirit of optimism and the botched reparations with the fans, the coach adds that it is "extremely important" "not to let a mood of doom arise now". The supporters in the block recognized this despite their team's pomadic appearance. For that they should be given respect. But with such an appearance in the derby, the players are sliding ever closer to their downfall.

And so there are probably two constants in the Bundesliga this season. Bayern dominate and Hertha always messes up in a grotesque way - especially when they are doomed to win. If you want to be even more sarcastic about the old lady, you could say that Hertha BSC even has something in common with the big FC Bayern: No matter who has been on the sidelines in the two teams in recent years - the performance remains the same.

It's just stupid for the capital that it's not about successful, sometimes even spectacular victories like the Munich team, but mostly bankruptcies without resistance. And so Hertha breaks up again on the first day of the game and this time, too, can't deny a derby with concentration and power from the first to the 90th minute. The Ultras around their lead singer would have been happy about that alone. Demands have been falling at the BSC for years.