▲ Hertha won 4-0 in an empty Olympic stadium in the German capital. The duel began the date 27 of the Bundesliga.Photo Ap


La Jornada newspaper
Saturday May 23, 2020, p. a10

Berlin Hertha thrashed Union 4-0 in the Berlin classic, at the Olympic stadium in the German capital, without spectators due to the coronavirus pandemic, in the match that raised the curtain on the date 27 in the Bundesliga.

Vedad Ibisevic (51), Dodi Lukebakio (52), 20-year-old Brazilian Matheus Cunha (61) and Dedryck Boyata (77) signed the Hertha rematch, which fell 1-0 in the first leg, in the first classic of the maximum German circuit between both clubs.

That duel in November was marked by fireworks, flares and confrontations between fans. Quite the opposite of what happened yesterday, with a win without noise, in a completely empty Olympian as a witness.

It would have been fantastic to play a game like this in front of 75,000 spectators, but at least I hope fans have enjoyed watching it on television, Hertha coach Bruno Labbadia said.

As planned, a minute of silence was observed for those killed by the coronavirus, more than 8,000 in Germany and at least 335,000 worldwide. Players from both teams wore black armbands in memory of the victims.

The same dueling protocol will be maintained in the rest of the Bundesliga matches this weekend, as well as in those of the next date, which will be played between Tuesday and Wednesday.

If the first leg was a carousel of emotions, the return match also caused shocks, despite the silence in the stands. Hertha deserved the victory, adding several goal options already in the first half with shots from Lukebakio and Cunha.

It was the Bosnian veteran Vedad Ibisevic, 35, who opened the account, with a nice shot at the beginning of the second part. After a throw-in, Lukebakio made it 2-0, leaving the Union with almost no comeback options. That was when the coronavirus appeared as a distressing presence. While their teammates were carried away by the emotion, both scorers only extended their arms, signaling to keep their distance. Ibisevic touched the elbows of some and slapped one of them lovingly on the chest.

Hertha had been at the center of criticism last week, when its footballers celebrated somewhat with too close contacts in times of pandemic.

Cunha and Boyata completed the bulky score, allowing Hertha to provisionally climb to tenth position.

The leader Bayern Munich receives Eintracht Frankfurt today and its first pursuer, Borussia Dortmund (four points), moves to Wolfsburg.