Bundesliga side Union Berlin will be banking on Nigeria’s Anthony Ujah for an impressive run as they take on rivals Hertha BSC on Saturday.
The two teams are meeting in the Bundesliga for the first time 30 years after the fall of the Berlin wall and supporters of both sides are looking forward to a memorable encounter.
Union Berlin, based on the east side of where the wall once stood, were promoted last season and host the first top-tier derby between the two major clubs in Germany’s capital.
Rivals Hertha Berlin, from the west side of the city, requested that the fixture be held on November 9, the date the wall that divided the east and west came down, but Union were reluctant to stage the match on a date with such cultural significance.
Union captain Christopher Trimmel is mindful of the amplified atmosphere a derby fixture can create, and maintains that retaining composure will be essential. “It is something really special,” he said to the club’s website.
“The players will be aware of it, you can’t compare it to any other game.
“For me, these are always the most intensive matches. They have their own atmosphere. It doesn’t feel like 11 versus 11, the whole stadium stands behind you” he said even as he urged his teammates to be calm and refuse to be provoked. “You need to be calm, not be provoked,” he added
Ujah’s compatriot Suleiman Abdullahi will however not be in action as confirmed by Berlin coach Urs Fischer.
Hertha suffered a 3-2 defeat to Hoffenheim on Saturday, ending their four-game unbeaten league run while Union Berlin are heading into the match fresh from a 3-1 away victory over Freiburg in the DFB Pokal . The Nigerian international was in action for 90 minutes in that encounter and provided two assist.