Record set, points given away: Union Berlin surprisingly stumbled in the race for the European Cup ranks despite the next goal from Superjoker Sven Michel. Of all things, it was only enough for too harmless Köpenicker in the 100th Bundesliga game to draw 1-1 (0-1) against the bottom team SpVgg Greuther Fürth, who had already been relegated. With 51 points, Union set a club record in the upper house, but must not feel too safe in the fight for international business.
The disappointment was “very big,” said Unions Rani Khedira DAZN: “Because of the bad first half we just didn’t deserve more. In the end it was even a point for us.”
Substitute Michel (72nd) saved the hosts’ draw in the second round. Captain Branimir Hrgota (33rd) had previously brought the Fürth, whose relegation was sealed last weekend, into the lead. For Union, which is still sixth in the table, things will continue next Saturday (3.30 p.m.) at rival SC Freiburg, where a win for the Europa League ticket would be immensely important.
On Friday, in front of 22,012 spectators in the sold-out An der Alten Försterei stadium, Union coach Urs Fischer made only one change to his team compared to the 2-1 win at RB Leipzig last weekend. Genki Haraguchi played for Andras Schäfer (Corona). In the first few minutes, however, Fürth was more agile, seemed liberated and tried crosses that didn’t really go down well at first.
According to Fürth coach Stefan Leitl, who had recently denied a move to second division side Hannover 96, according to media reports, “we are fully focused on the last few games. We want to score, we owe that to the league, the fans and the club.” And his team played accordingly. Apart from an attempt by Taiwo Awoniyi (11th), who missed the goal from close range, Fürth dominated the action in this phase.
Hrgota shocked Union Berlin with a dream goal
And the Franks became really dangerous over time. After a strong individual action by Jamie Leweling, a rebound landed at Tobias Raschl (17th), who hit the crossbar from 20 meters. Three minutes later, Hrgota aimed just inches to the left after a decent combination. In the middle of the first half, the Swede then rewarded himself when he threw a ball saved from a free kick from around ten meters into the net. Union did not necessarily come into the Fürth penalty area before the break.
After the change of sides, Union tried to play faster and more vertically – and presented itself bolder. Awoniyi (66′) was sent off steeply by Union defender Robin Knoche, but made it too easy for Fürth’s goalkeeper Andreas Linde and shot him in the arms. After all, it was Michel again who had already shot the game in Leipzig. Two minutes after coming on, the striker only had to push in when Fürth’s Nick Viergever lost the ball while dribbling in his own six-yard box.