46 min Peep peep! Union begin the second half, kicking from left to right.
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.
44 min The free-kick is 25 yards out, a fair way to the left of centre. Andrich strolls up to the ball and curls a lovely effort that brushes the roof of the net as Jarstein flies desperately across goal.
43 min Lukebakio is booked for a high tackle on Reichel. That looked a bit harsh.
41 min The match has picked up in the last few minutes, just in time for the half-time break.
39 min At the other end Trimmel crosses from the right towards Andersson, whose volley deflects behind. Trimmel drives the corner low away from goal, the old Sheringham/Anderton routine, but it’s intercepted by a Hertha defender. No, I don’t know which one.
39 min Cunha cuts infield from the right, then zips back outside his man and and drives a low shot that is well held by the tumbling Gikiewicz. I don’t think it would have counted, as Cunha looked offside in the build up, but Hertha will be encouraged with his increasing involvement in the game.
35 min Yet another free-kick. It’s been a horrible, stop-start game so far, a great advert for Elna Sewing Machine New Launch on the Create & Craft channel.
34 min Plattenhardt’s excellent free-kick is headed away with impressive authority by Freidrich. For all their attacking limitations, Union are a very accomplished defensive team.
32 min Ingvartsen is off the field, receiving treatment for a burst mooth after an accidental karate chop from Darida. They both went for a high ball, and Darida’s arm swung round to hit Ingvartsen in the face.
31 min I’m starting to get the impression Union might be happy with a 0-0 draw.
29 min Ibisevic, who has been putting himself about, is penalised for a late tackle on Hubner.
28 min The resulting corner is headed well wide by Grujic, leaping near the penalty spot. He couldn’t get over the ball.
27 min Another good save from Gikiewicz. Ibisevic slid a low cross towards the near post, where Cunha flicked the ball daintily behind his standing leg. Gikiewicz was well positioned and pushed the shot behind.
21 min Grujic whistles a shot over the bar from 30 yards. Hertha are starting to look more dangerous though.
18 min Fine save by Gikiewicz! A Hertha goalkick was headed on by Ibisevic into the path of Lukebakio, whose pace took him away from the defence and through on goal. He charged into the area and hit a low right-footed shot that was superbly blocked by the outrushing Gikiewicz.
16 min Trimmel wins a corner for Union, which he’ll obviously take himself. Eventually. Before it is taken, Torunarigha goes down holding his face after a hand-off from Andersson. Eventually Trimmel curls a dangerous, dipping outswinger that is cleared by Boyata just in front of Friedrich.
15 min The young Brazilian Matheus Cunha, playing from the left tonight, has struggled to get in the game in the first 15 minutes.
14 min Trimmel’s free-kick from the right loops off the head of a Hertha defender and is headed onto the roof of the net by Bulter. It wasn’t really a chance.
12 min Still no chances for either side. Hertha have been the more confident team in possession, though there isn’t much in the game.
9 min Parensen is booked for a tactical foul on Darida, who was leading a Hertha counter-attack.
6 min It’s been a lively start from Hertha. Even in an empty stadium, this does feel like a derby. I might be imagining it, or it might be the acoustics of this huge stadium, but it feels like there is much more noise from the players than there was last weekend.
5 min “Er,” begins Colin Flint, “they just changed ends before the game… in an empty stadium!”
Is that weird? I have no idea what’s what any more.
4 min A dangerous break down the right from Lukebakio. He stabs the ball across the area to Darida, but he lets the ball run across is body and is dispossessed.
3 min Grujic is penalised for a high foot on Promel, prompting some loud complaints from the Union players and bench.
1 min Peep peep! Hertha, in the usual blue-and-white stripes, kick off from left to right. Union are in red.
The players are out on the field. All are wearing black armbands, and there will be a minute’s silence to commemorate the hundreds of thousands of people who have died from Covid-19.
Union’s leading scorer Sebastian Andersson, who was on the bench against Bayern, returns to the starting line-up. Hertha make one change from the team that trounced Hoffenheim: Vladimir Darida replaces Maximilian Mittelstadt.
Hertha Berlin (4-2-3-1) Jarstein; Pekarik, Boyata, Torunarigha, Plattenhardt; Grujic, Skjelbred; Lukebakio, Darida, Cunha; Ibisevic.
Substitutes: Smarsch, Klunter, Mittelstadt, Dardai, Dilrosun, Maier, Samardzic, Piatek, Ngankam.
Union Berlin (3-4-2-1) Gikiewicz; Friedrich, Hubner, Parensen; Trimmel, Promel, Andrich, Reichel; Ingvartsen, Bulter; Andersson.
Substitutes: Nicolas, Subotic, Ryerson, Mees, Malli, Kroos, Gentner, Polter, Ujah.
Good evening and welcome to live coverage of Hertha Berlin v Union Berlin from the Olympiastadion. This is both a football match and a social experiment: in the next few hours we should find out whether the lack of a crowd affects the traditional intensity of a derby game.
The return fixture in November, which Union won 1-0, was played in a spectacular and occasionally malevolent atmosphere. Flares won’t stop play tonight, and we won’t see Union’s keeper Rafal Gikiewicz dissuading the Union ultras from coming onto the field. But this is still a huge occasion, the first time Hertha have ever hosted Union in the Bundesliga.
The fact they are next to each other in the table makes the match even more intruiging. Hertha’s excellent 3-0 win at Hoffenheim last weekend moved them above Union, who lost at home to Bayern Munich. Both teams look safe in mid-table for the rest of the season, but nobody will be calling this a meaningless match.
Kick off 730pm BST, 8.30pm CET.