First-half goals from Taiwo Awoniyi and Christopher Trimmel saw Union Berlin jump on the fifth spot after beating Hertha Berlin 2-0 in the capital derby in the 12th round of Bundesliga on Saturday.
Home side Union caught a fairy-tale start into the derby as Awoniyi benefitted on a failed clearance from Marton Dardai before slotting the ball past Hertha goalkeeper Alexander Schwolow into the bottom left corner on eight minutes.
Hertha couldn’t answer as Union staged a well-positioned defence and disrupted the visitor’s build up.
With 23 minutes gone the hosts had a promising chance to double their advantage but for all that veteran striker Max Kruse couldn’t beat Schwolow from tight angle.
The “Old Lady” lacked accuracy and failed to pose threat to Union’s defence meanwhile the host’s efforts got rewarded at the half-hour mark as Trimmel had all time and space to catch Schwolow flatfooted from the edge of the box.
The visitors tried to respond and thought they had halved the deficit just before the break, but Peter Pekarik’s goal from very close range was ruled offside.
After the break, Union handed over control and implemented a wait-and-see strategy, but Hertha still lacked in ideas to overcome Union’s bulwark.
Union remained a menace and left a promising chance unused as Schwolow defused Kruse’s presentable effort on target at the hour mark.
Hertha showed a life of sign in the 80th minute when substitute Ishak Belfodil tested Andreas Luthe from the inside left.
However, faultless Union had another chance on target in the closing period as joker Sheraldo Becker rattled the crossbar following a counterattack.
“The early opener played into our cards and gave us more confidence. We played very well over 90 minutes. We had several chances to put the game to bed earlier. At the end of the day, I think it is a deserved win for us,” Union head coach Urs Fischer said.
“We made two mistakes and had to swallow two goals. Union played smart in the second half, but we were too harmless overall. The hosts were clearly the better team today,” Hertha head coach Pal Dardai said.
With the victory, Union climb on the fifth spot while Hertha stay on the 13th position.
On Sunday, third placed Freiburg clash with Eintracht Frankfurt while Mainz encounter Cologne to conclude the 12th round.