Hertha Berlin bosses derby through Ibisevic star show

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Photo by STUART FRANKLIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
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Vedad Ibisevic scored and set up another goal in a 2-minute span to spring Hertha Berlin past Union Berlin in the side’s first home Bundesliga derby in club history on Friday at the Olympiastadion Berlin.

Ibisevic, who played college soccer in the U.S. with Saint Louis, powered a 51st-minute header past Rafael Gikiewicz for his 125th Bundesliga goal before providing a delightful turn and assist to Dodi Lukebakio after Union bungled the restart.

A member of our Best XI from Week 26, Ibisevic also assisted Matheus Cunha’s goal in the 61st minute with a fine low curl from the edge of the box, helping Hertha into 10th place with 34 points. Ex-Man City and Celtic man Dedryck Boyata also scored, and Marvin Plattenhardt had two assists.

Union remains in 12th on 30 points and will have to rest on the laurels earned in a 1-0 home derby win in November.

[ LIVE: Bundesliga scores ] 

Gikiewicz was very good last week and made a brave block on Dodi Lukebakio with a sensitive region of his body in the 18th minute.

A match that lived up to expectations of fouls and physical plays, the first half chances were limited for both sides. Hertha had most of the ball, with Union’s Robert Andrich unable to convert a late free kick in one of the visitors’ only chances.

Gikiewicz made another fine stop on Lukebakio in the 47th minute, though the striker would’ve likely been found to be offside.

The opener arrived just minutes later when Plattenhardt spun a terrific left-footed cross into the heart of the Union box. Ibisevic thumped his header home.

The technique on Ibisevic’s chest trap and set-up touch to spring Lukebakio was remarkable, even if his pass needed a deflection to fall perfectly for the 22-year-old Belgian.

An even younger player, the 20-year-old Cunha, lashed in a pretty goal off an Ibisevic feed after the hour mark to make it 3-0. Marvin Plattenhardt sent an assist to Boyata’s head for the fourth.

The 2019-20 season restart saw eight matches Saturday and Sunday with a Revierderby blowout and a Gladbach warning shot to its fellow title chasers, while leaders Bayern Munich got back to winning ways in Berlin.

Matchweek 26 in the Bundesliga has seen games played in empty stadiums, which is the plan for the rest of the season and beyond. If you’re new to Germany’s top-flight, here’s a guide to help you pick a club to support.

You can check out the full schedulestandings and find out how to watch the action, while we will have you covered right here on ProSoccerTalk with analysis, reaction and more.