Late Sebastian Polter penalty decides Bundesliga's first-ever Berlin derby between Union and Hertha


Sebastian Polter's 87th-minute penalty gave Union bragging rights over Hertha in the Bundesliga's historic first edition of the Berlin derby.

Union Berlin 1-0 Hertha Berlin
Goals: 1-0 Polter (pen. 87')

Promoted Union, enjoying their maiden season of top-flight football, played with the greater purpose for much of the first half, but only had the one meaningful opportunity to show for it - inside two minutes at that. Sebastian Andersson, the club's promotion-winning hero in 2018/19, did amazingly well to control on the stretch and cross for Christopher Lenz, who could only steer his header against the foot of the far post with Hertha goalkeeper Rune Jarstein beaten all ends up. Marcus Ingvartsen drew a routine save from Jarstein moments later, while Dodi Lukebakio and Marko Grujic were unable to make the most of a couple of half chances of their own in the blue and white of visiting Hertha.

The red shirts of Union continued to press after the restart as Robert Andrich followed up on Andersson's blocked effort by driving wide. Hertha substitute Eduard Löwen drove a free-kick wide of the mark, but goal-scoring chances from open play were at a real premium. With defences on top and lusty exchanges in the midfield a running theme, there was a distinct feeling that one moment of magic or stroke of luck could settle the contest. Ingvartsen and Andrich tried to provide it, but sent their speculative long-range efforts straight at Jarstein and wide of the mark respectively. Polter spurned a glorious chance to snatch all three points when he headed off target in the closing stages, only to make amends from the spot. The Union substitute thundered his spot-kick past Jarstein, after a VAR review for a foul on Christian Gentner went against Dedryck Boyata. Marvin Friedrich cleared off the line from Lukebakio at the death as Union held on for only their third win since gaining promotion to the Bundesliga.

Match stats

  • Polter scored his second Bundesliga goal of the season. He also netted from the spot in the defeat to Bayern Munich on Matchday 9.
  • Union have scored 19 goals in all competitions this season, eight have which have been scored by substitutes.
  • Union quartet Andrich, Julius Kade, Lenz and Manuel Schmiedebach are all former Hertha players.
  • Die Eisernen faced the Old Lady four times in Bundesliga 2 with both teams winning once away from home with two other draws.
  • Hertha featured in the Bundesliga’s only other Berlin derbies against Tennis Borussia, which were all played at the Olympiastadion, winning the first three before losing the fourth in April 1977.

Watch: Polter: "We put in everything to be number one in Berlin"


Union: Gikiewicz – Friedrich, Subotic, Schlotterbeck – Trimmel (c), Gentner, Andrich, Lenz – Ingvartsen (Ryerson 90'+6), Bülter (Mees 46') – Andersson (Polter 79')
Unused subs: Nicolas, Ujah, Rapp, Kroos, Schmiedebach, Becker
Out: Abdullahi (match fitness), Gogia (knee), Parensen (chest), Prömel (knee)
Coach: Urs Fischer

Hertha: Jarstein – Klünter, Stark, Boyata, Mittelstädt (Selke 90+2') – Skjelbred (Löwen 46'), Grujic – Wolf, Lukebakio, Dilrosun – Ibisevic (c) (Kalou 82')
Unused subs: Kraft, Rekik, Duda, Leckie, Plattenhardt, Torunarigha
Out: Darida (suspended), Maier (knee)
Coach: Ante Covic