1. FC Union Berlin will go up against Hertha Berlin on Sunday at 18:00 at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei — the fourth Bundesliga derby between the two sides.
Urs Fischer's men return from the international break and face their city rivals for three vital points in the battle to stay in the Bundesliga. Despite losing 5-2 at Eintracht Frankfurt after a good performance, Union have been in solid form with the five games previously ending without defeat for the Köpenick club. Max Kruse increased his Bundesliga goal tally to 10 goals for Union Berlin with the brace in Frankfurt, but the rub of the green didn't sit with Fischer's side. With six players on international duty, Union put the squad to the test against Eintracht Braunschweig from the 2.Bundesliga. Suleiman Abdullahi scored twice for the Lions who ran out 2-1 winners with Marius Bülter pegging one back for Union. There was further positives for the coaching staff who handed first-team opportunities to youngsters Malick Sanogo and Mathis Bruns, who both stamped their mark on the game in the last 15 minutes.
Hertha are one point above the relegation play-off position in the Bundesliga and will come across the city looking for maximum points. Pal Dardai's team dispatched of Bayer Leverkusen by three goals in their last Bundesliga outing, but on the road Hertha haven't won since the start of November — nine without a victory and one win out of their last 11 away matches in the Bundesliga. Deyoraiso Zeeifuk, Matheus Cunha and Jhon Cordoba hit the net against European-chasing Leverkusen as the pressure of potential relegation was eased temporarily on coach Dardai. Hertha have the slight upper-hand on Union in the Bundesliga, winning 3-1 at the Olympic Stadium against the ten men from Köpenick in December. Despite Taiwo Awoniyi's opener, Hertha turned the game around in the second half with strikes from Peter Pekarik and two from Krzysztof Piatek.
Urs Fischer confirmed the absences of Taiwo Awoniyi, Sheraldo Becker and Anthony Ujah at the pre-match press conference. Niko Gießelmann will miss the derby, but is making very good progress in his return from injury. All of the six national team players have returned in good health and are in contention.
Sunday's game goes ahead in Köpenick behind closed doors.