First Fragile, then Further Weakened

First Fragile, then Further Weakened

Coach Nenad Bjelica, sidelined by suspension, watched his team’s weak performance in Leipzig from the stands. The Berlin team lost 2:0 to the cup champions, marking a setback in their fight to remain in the league. This win is Leipzig’s first of 2024, after three consecutive losses.

“We can’t deny it, we deserved to lose,” said Kevin Vogt. Looking ahead, Union faces a key relegation match against Mainz 05. Goalkeeper Alexander Schwolow emphasized unity, stating “We need to unify now. Today was a bonus game, Wednesday is what matters.”

Lois Openda scored the first goal for Leipzig (11th minute) in front of 44,032 spectators, followed by Benjamin Sesko (48th) with a header. Union captain Christopher Trimmel (73rd) was sent off with a red card after a harsh tackle on David Raum. This was Union’s second game without Bjelica, who is serving a three-game suspension for his altercation with Munich’s Leroy Sané.

After a 2:5 loss in Stuttgart and four consecutive games without a win, Rose made five changes to the lineup. Veterans Gulacsi and Orban were brought in for their “stability and charisma”. Gulacsi started in goal for the first time in 491 days, while Orban returned after a 154-day injury hiatus. After the game, Orban reflected, “We have a lot of young players, so you need some tranquility. These are the qualities we possess.” Gulacsi added, “This is my stadium. Being back on the pitch in the Bundesliga is something special to me.”

Despite constant rain, Leipzig controlled the game from the outset, with Union’s solid defense offering little room for advancement. Leipzig’s goals came from short passing games and flashes of inspiration, such as Openda’s impressive strike from an acute angle. Schwolow, standing in for the ill Frederik Rönnow, was unable to prevent the goal.

The match was briefly interrupted in the 26th minute due to protests against the German Football League (DFL) investor deal. Objects were thrown onto the field from the Union fan section. After clearing the field, referee Marco Fritz resumed play.


Points Union has won away from home in the Bundesliga so far – no team is worse

Union gained traction towards the end of the first half. Yorbe Vertessen (31st) made a harmless header on his debut – no problem for Gulacsi. Schwolow managed to save a header from Benjamin Sesko (45th + 2) after a corner from David Raum.

After the break, RB continued their offensive, with Raum assisting Sesko for the second goal (48th). Schwolow then saved a long-range shot from Dani Olmo before being too late for another header from Sesko (57′). The goal was disallowed upon video review.

Union increased their offense after the hour mark, gaining good positions but lacking accuracy in their final pass. Despite Orban being substituted in the 70th minute, RB secured their first clean sheet since a 6-0 win against Cologne on October 28, 2023.