Union Berlin continues to greet from the top in the Bundesliga, but that was almost a minor matter: Timo Baumgartl celebrated his emotional comeback after cancer in the 2-0 win against VfL Wolfsburg. A Max Kruse song by the Union fans caused a sensation.
Timo Baumgartl thanked the fans at the old Försterei with a shy clapping. Around four months after the shock diagnosis of testicular cancer, the defender returned to the starting XI of Union – and until his emotional substitution after a good hour, he played his part in the fact that the irons made it 2-0 (0-0) against VfL Wolfsburg Successfully defended the lead.
“That’s exactly what I dreamed of in chemo,” said Baumgartl DAZN: “I did a little bit for everyone on the oncology ward too.” When he found out about his assignment, it was “very emotional”, said the 26-year-old, visibly touched: “It’s all difficult to put into words.”
Jordan Siebatcheu (54th) and Sheraldo Becker (77th) shot Union to victory in front of 22,012 spectators – and the fans sang incessantly: “Leader, leader!” The club in the capital remained unbeaten in the 14th league game in a row and is the front runner a proud five points ahead of the struggling series champions Bayern Munich.
The wolves, on the other hand, felt disillusioned after their first win of the season and the ex-Unioner Max Kruse being eliminated. Coach Niko Kovac’s team slipped to 17th place – and had to be mocked by the Union fans: “Without Kruse you have no chance,” sang the FCU supporters in the 32nd minute. Kruse moved from the Iron to Wolfsburg in January.
Union – Wolfsburg: special applause for Baumgartl
“We really didn’t do much up front,” said Maximilian Arnold, VfL long-time favorite: “We know the situation we’re in. It hurts, but we have to collect ourselves during the international break.”
The fans welcomed Baumgartl with warm special applause – and his teammates started furiously: After 42 seconds, Janik Haberer tested VfL keeper Koen Casteels with a direct acceptance, Union initially stayed on the trigger.
Wolfsburg cleverly slowed down the initial momentum, but rarely got structure in their offensive efforts. Union defended attentively and repeatedly set their own accents: striker Siebatcheu did not aim precisely enough with his head (28th). At the other end, Josip Brekalo missed the greatest opportunity to date with a low shot four minutes later.
Most of the time, however, the action took place between the two penalty areas, rough duels caused various game interruptions. Shortly after the break, Siebatcheu narrowly missed the lead twice (47’/49′).
At the third attempt, the time had come: strike partner Becker crossed from the left as soft as butter, Siebatcheu finished with a header.
When Baumgartl finished work after a little over an hour and a solid performance, he received a standing ovation. On the pitch, VfL ran desperately. Union countered dangerously. Becker used one of these counterattacks to score his sixth goal of the season – and to make the decision.
Union Berlin – VfL Wolfsburg: The voices
Urs Fischer (Coach Union Berlin): “I was impressed by the way the team delivered. It was a very mature performance for me. We were very dominant in the second half. I didn’t feel like I had to exert influence from the outside.”
Niko Kovac (VfL Wolfsburg coach): “We didn’t accept it, played far too well, weren’t in a duel. We let ourselves be fooled. We don’t have enough power up front. We have to see that we get more people into the penalty area. Only then can we you also create opportunities.”
Union Berlin – VfL Wolfsburg: The data for the game