1. FC Union’s Strong Initial Phase Goes Unrewarded

1. FC Union’s Strong Initial Phase Goes Unrewarded

In the game between 1. FC Union and Borussia Dortmund, the former showcased a relentless performance. The players from 1. FC Union exhibited an energy reminiscent of their glory days, winning the second balls, tiring out the opponent, switching quickly, and generating an astounding energy that resonated with the audience. Despite having faced defeat thrice before in the An der Alten Försterei stadium due to Union’s football, the guests from Borussia Dortmund seemed taken aback and overwhelmed.

The game, however, didn’t witness another underdog victory on this Saturday. This was mainly attributed to a recurring problem for Berlin: the absence of a penalty area striker. As efficiently as Union moved forward with their combinations in the first half hour, the crosses eventually flew aimlessly through the BVB penalty area.

The favorite team, under pressure, capitalized on these shortcomings. Dortmund took the lead just before half-time with a spectacular shot from Karim Adeyemi from the edge of the penalty area. The final decision was made in the 89th minute by Ian Maatsen. The 2-0 (1-0) victory is a first for BVB after three games without a win.

This defeat marks Union’s first home loss in the Bundesliga under the guidance of Nenad Bjelica after four wins and two draws. However, the lead over the relegation spot remains at eight points for the time being.

Union’s coach stuck to his tried and tested 3-5-2 system, avoiding any surprises in the starting lineup. Jerome Roussillon replaced the suspended Robin Gosens, while Kevin Volland filled in for Brenden Aaronson.

Dortmund had Mats Hummels and Marco Reus on the bench. The eleven players initially sent onto the pitch by coach Edin Terzic seemed equally uninvolved for a considerable duration of the game. The lack of intensity and alarming mistakes during the build-up game in the first eight minutes further put BVB professionals under scrutiny.

However, the Berliners failed to capitalize on these opportunities. The first contact was often incorrect, the shots slipped, and most importantly, there was a significant absence of a taker in the center. Volland and Benedict Hollerbach were consistently active, starting attacks and performing well, but neither are penalty area strikers. In the past, players like Sebastian Andersson, Taiwo Awoniyi, or Kevin Behrens might have pushed one of the many crosses over the line. However, the promising first half hour ended without any goals.

Volland misses the great chance to equalize

Gradually, Dortmund managed to get a grip on the game, took control and moved the action to the opponent’s half. Frederik Rönnow, with two excellent saves, just managed to deflect a close-range header from former Unioner Nico Schlotterbeck and a shot from Ian Maatsen. However, a goal seemed inevitable and indeed, just before half-time, Niclas Füllkrug shifted the game to the right, where Adeyemi found ample space. He moved inward and, with a bit of help from the lower edge of the crossbar, shot the ball into the far corner.

Union required the half-time break and the start of the second half to recover from this setback. Although the Berliners were successful in keeping BVB away from their penalty area, they struggled to regain control of the game.

In the 56th minute, Volland nearly equalized the score. After Andras Schäfer won a duel in the opposing penalty area, Hollerbach was disturbed just before he could finish, and the ball flipped to Volland from Maatsen. BVB’s substitute goalkeeper Alexander Meyer skillfully directed Volland’s ten-meter shot over the crossbar.

In the final phase of the game, Bjelica substituted winter signing Chris Bedia as a striker, but Union couldn’t manage to equalize the score. Shortly before the end, the Berliners were countered by Maatsen, concluding the game.