The high-flyers from Union Berlin are still breathing down the record champions Bayern Munich thanks to a furious comeback. In a wild top game on Saturday, the passionately fighting Berliners turned a 0-1 deficit against the in-form competitor RB Leipzig and later won 2-1 (0-1). With their fifth win in the fifth league game in 2023, the Unioners are second in the table with 42 points – just one point behind Bayern.
A volley hammer from Janik Haberer (61st) and a converted hand penalty from Robin Knoche (72nd) brought the Berliners the important success. Benjamin Henrichs (24th) gave Leipzig the lead in the first round in front of 47,069 spectators in the sold-out Red Bull Arena. For RB it was the first defeat after 18 competitive games. With 36 points, coach Marco Rose’s team is fifth in the Europa League.
“If Leipzig calls up its performance, it would be unusual to score three times there,” Union managing director Oliver Ruhnert said before the game. But the tried Saxons had a hard time at the beginning, biting their teeth on the Union five chain. At the start of the game, the viewing value on the pitch was as mediocre as the mood in the stands, where the 4,500 Union fans who had traveled with them were silent for the first 15 minutes in protest against the “RB construct”.
When the Berlin annex became active again, the game also picked up speed, with Leipzig initially standing securely on the defensive – even without defense chief Willi Orban, who only sat on the bench after his stem cell donation during the week. With so much mixed concrete, it took an individual action to get the first chance to score, which was prompt. Henrichs, left-back in the RB five-row, pulled hard from 20 meters and surprised Union goalkeeper Frederik Rönnow, who could have prevented the gap.
With the lead behind them, the hosts let Union come more often, but the Köpenickers had their problems creating opportunities themselves. They depended on Leipzig’s mistakes – and if they happened, they didn’t take advantage of them in the first round. After a high ball win, Sheraldo Becker (38th) was suddenly free in front of RB keeper Janis Blaswich. From a tight angle, however, the goalkeeper was able to deflect the striker’s attempt into goal.
After the break, the game started as lukewarm as it had started in the first half, but Union suddenly turned up the heat. After a corner, the ball fell in front of Haberer’s feet and hit spectacularly. Eleven minutes later, Knoche converted safely from the point when referee Daniel Schlager awarded a penalty after a handball after Mohamed Simakan. The supposed compensation of the substitute Yussuf Poulsen (74th) was called back because of a previous offside position according to the video images.
RB Leipzig vs. Union Berlin: The dates of the game