Germany: Bundesliga
3 - 1
(1 - 0)
Union Berlin
Hertha BSC
T. Siebatcheu (32), S. Becker (50), R. Knoche (54)
D. Lukebakio (85)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

15.30 Kickoffs: Union capture third straight derby win, Freiburg rout Augsburg

A wild set of 15:30 kickoffs on the 2022/23 German Bundesliga's opening weekend saw 17 goals scored across five fixtures!

Union Berlin and SC Freiburg emerged as the most convincing winners while Gladbach eventually prevailed over ten-man Hoffenheim. 

Mainz eked out a 2-1 win over Bochum. Wolfsburg, challenged mightily by promoted SV Werder Bremen, salvaged a 2-2 draw late.
Some four months after the now infamous 4-1 drubbing at Berlin's Olympiastadion, 1. FC Union Berlin have picked up right where they left off in the battle of two cross-town rivals with increasingly less cordial relations. The third straight "Berliner Stadtsderby" prize belongs to the East German "Eisernen" following a 3-1 victory at the the Stadion An der Alten Försterei. Union have now captured five four of the seven top flight meetings between the two clubs. Including last spring's Pokal win, Union have won four against Hertha on the spin.

Neither trainer made any major changes to the constellations utilized in their opening round Pokal fixtures, though there were three personnel shifts. Sandro Schwarz made one personnel alteration to the XI that lost to Eintracht Braunschweig on penalties. Newly acquired center back Filip Uremovic replaced former captain Dedyrck Boyata, who was dropped from the squad entirely. Urs Fischer, making two changes to the side that edged past Chemnitz, preferred wingback Julian Ryerson and central defender Diogo Leite to Niko Gießelmann and Dominique Heintz.

The home side began proceeding brightly, winning most of the midfield duels and and generating a couple of half-chances inside of five minutes. The Charlottenburgers nevertheless did well with withstand the early pressure and soon turned the affair into a midfield stalemate. Very little happened amidst many fouls and stoppages until Ryerson forced Hertha keeper Oliver Christiansen into a save in the 26th. Some five minutes later, die Eisernen would grab the lead out of an otherwise directionless match.

Sherado Becker crossed in for striking partner Jordan Siebatcheu in the 31st. The American international supplied a beautiful headed finish over the closely marking Marco Oliver Kempf for the 1-0. Some five minutes after that Siebatcheu unlocked Ryerson brilliantly on the the left-hand side of the penalty area. The USMNT striker arguably should have had an assist to go along with his goal, but the Norwegian simply  couldn't find the finish.

Feeling confident after their superior first half, the Köpenickers emerged courageous after the restart. After a flurry of chances involving Siebatcheu and Janik Haberer, Becker finally struck the 2-0 in the 50th. Some nice combination play with Haberer preceded the goal. Kempf again remained rather tight on the marking, yet ultimately couldn't win the requisite battles. Union's Robin Knoche headed home the 3-0 off a corner four minutes later. This time, Hertha keeper Christiansen needed to do better.

Schwarz made a triple change shortly thereafter and the club's new big name attacking signing Wilfried Kanga managed to make a little noise as the guests went in search of a consolation. What attempts to press forward came Hertha thereafter in the already-decided contest were marked bay decidedly poor passing in the final third. Dodi Lukebakio finally pulled one back with some nice solo work in the 85th.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga's 15:30 kickoffs, SC Frieburg exploded with three goals inside of 15 minutes after an initially sleepy 0-0 first half against Augsburg at the WWK Arena. Michael Greogritsch netted the first tally against his former club with Vicenzo Grifo and Matthias Ginter added splendid goals before the hour-mark. Ritsu polished off another chance late to cap the rout.

Over at the Vonovia Ruhrstadion, VfL Bochum were unable to capitalize on a strong second half in front of a supportive hometown crowd. The 1848ers fell to Bo Svensson's Mainz 1-2 thanks to a Karim Oniswo brace. Wolfsburg nearly fell to newly promoted SV Werder Bremen at home before former captain Joshua Guilavogui rescued a 2-2 draw late on.

Hosting Gladbach eventually picked apart a Hoffenheim side reduced to ten-men courtesy of Stefan Posch's early sending-off. They initially fell behind. A dream goal from Ramy Bensebaini got the foals level before Marcus Thuram and Nico Elvedi padded matters in the 3-1 victory.

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