80 min The substitute Dilrosun is fouled 25 yards from goal. Union are desperate to hear the final whistle.
GOAL! Hertha Berlin 4-0 Union Berlin (Boyata 77)
It’s a rout. The excellent Plattenhardt curls a fine, dipping corner towards the far post, where Boyata eases Friedrich aside and thumps a header past Gikiewicz.
75 min More Hertha changes. The big signing Kyzysztof Piatek replaces old man Ibisevic, who scored one and made two, and Javairo Dilrosun replaces Lukebakio.
74 min Trimmel’s shot is blocked by Plattenhardt.
73 min This win moves Hertha up to 10th in the table, and on current form – two 3-0s since the Bundesliga restart – they will be eyeing a Europa League place. They are five points behind sixth-placed Wolfsburg, who play Dortmund tomorrow.
72 min Union make their final changes: Felix Kroos and Sebastian Polter replace Andersson and Andrich.
70 min Based on this performance it could be a long few weeks for Union Berlin. They should have enough credit in the bank to avoid a relegation battle, though that’s not guaranteed. At the moment they are seven points ahead of Dusseldorf in 16th.
69 min “Hey Rob,” says J.R. in Illinois. “Just wanted to let you know that after Lukebakio’s goal our co-announcer here on Fox in the U.S., Lutz Pfannenstiel, said, ‘He’s calm like a cucumber.’ That livened up my day.”
I don’t like criticising other journalists for things like that, it can create a little dysentery among the ranks.
67 min Grujic is booked for a tactical foul on Promel (I think).
66 min “I’m here as well as Colin! And Liz!” says Simon in Dorset. “Attempting to make a pizza and see Hertha updates. Hertha my adopted team after visiting amazing stadium on last Berlin trip. Much to dismay of German friends who are Bayern fans. I’d have a pint with Ibisevic.”
66 min The impressive Cunha is replaced by Maximilian Mittelstadt.
65 min Cunha dances into the area and picks out Plattenhardt, whose shot is blocked. Union Berlin, who defended excellently in the first half, look shattered.
63 min More changes for Union: Julian Ryerson and Yunus Malli replace Reichel and Bulter.
62 min Cunha started that move with some playground skills on the left side of the penalty area. He flicked the ball up for Lukebakio, who missed an attempted overhead kick. But the ball ran to Ibisevic, who laid it off for Cunha to run round the ball and guide it past Gikiewicz.
GOAL! Hertha Berlin 3-0 Union Berlin (Cunha 61)
Make that 3-0! Cunha, teed up on the edge of the box by Ibisevic, drills a fine low shot into the far corner. He became a father for the first time last week, and the team celebrate with a Bebeto baby.
60 min Union look like a team who came for a 0-0, maybe a 1-0 win, and don’t know what the hell to do now they’re 2-0 down.
60 min “You do have readers but many of us don’t believe we have anything particularly interesting to say,” says Bill Ireland. “I am curious to see how this plays out. Is it going to be easier or harder for Union to claw back in a stadium that doesn’t have fans to provide energy? I am also curious to see how players keep fitness and avoid injury after their long layoff.”
The games I’ve seen so far have faded towards the end, even with five substitutes, although that might be because one team was so far ahead.
58 min Cunha drives well wide from long range.
57 min Union make their first change, with Anthony Ujah replacing Ingvartsen.
55 min Ibisevic, who turns 36 in August, has had a whale of a time since spring break: two games, two goals and one assist.
53 min “Finally, a little music during half time!” says Liz White. “I was getting ready to set off a flare in my living room for atmosphere.”
Ach, I missed that while getting a coffee. Was it Seven Nation Army, the exciting new release from emerging rock band the White Stripes?
GOAL! Hertha Berlin 2-0 Union Berlin (Lukebakio 52)
Two in a minute for Hertha! What a nightmare for Union. One moment they kicked off, the next they were 2-0 down. Ibisevic turned smartly on the halfway line and played a straight pass to put Lukebakio through on goal. Gikiewicz charged from his line but Lukebakio moved smoothly round him to score. That’s a really good finish.
GOAL! Hertha Berlin 1-0 Union Berlin (Ibisevic 51)
That’s a terrific goal! Plattenhardt, on the left, shaped a beautiful cross to the near post, where Ibisevic got across Hubner and thumped a header past the wrong-footed Gikiewicz.
49 min “I am here, Rob,” says Colin Flint, “but I’m only keeping a quarter of an eye on the game and MBM. I’m in the closing stages of Ted Lewis’s GBH. I’m just not sure about it. Any help from the readership?”
Colin, you are the readership.
48 min Union surge down the other end and almost nick the lead. Andrich gets to the byline in the area and cuts tbe ball back to Bulmer, whose shot is blocked by the stretching Boyata.
47 min: Another excellent save from Gikiewicz! Jeez he is good in one-on-one situations. Cunha put Lukebakio through with a nice pass, and he clipped a shot that was superbly blocked by the left hand of Gikiewicz. It wouldn’t have counted as Lukebakio was offside, though Gikiewicz didn’t know that at the time. He comes off his line so quickly.
46 min Peep peep! Union begin the second half, kicking from left to right.
Anyone out there? Well?
Half time: Hertha Berlin 0-0 Union Berlin
Peep peep! Even the referee is bored: he allows one second of added time before blowing the whistle. Not quite Wolf-Dieter Ahlenfelder levels of timekeeping, but a fair comment on a forgettable start to this Berlin derby. See you in 10 minutes for the second half.