The 1. FC Union Berlin team actually did it. She has qualified for the Europa League, which is probably the biggest success in the club’s history. Due to a somewhat shocking 3: 2 (2: 0) against VfL Bochum, where coach Urs Fischer’s team for 45 minutes proved their class in front of 22.012 spectators at An der Alten Försterei stadium, they finally lost the thread a bit, to be able to cheer to last.
What passion, what sharpness, what consequence, what efficiency. Yes, this team is a team for Europe. In the end, Irons even took a fifth place in the final rankings due to SC Freiburg’s defeat to Bayer Leverkusen. And one more thing: Because VfB Stuttgart were able to score the 2-1 victory goal against 1. FC Köln in the final phase, the Unioners would have landed the whole big coup even without a victory.
It could be celebrated as in Berlin-Köpenick. Which so everyone did. During the match at the stadium because the game was in the direction Union was hoping for early. Later also in front of the stadium, and much later in the old town. An ever-growing football community was in a state of emergency.
Bouquets of flowers from President Zingler
Before the match, the club said goodbye to five players at a usual ceremony. There were bouquets of flowers and posters with their own similarities to Suleiman Abdullahi, Anthony Ujah, Bastian Oczipka and to Jakob Busk, who all the expiring contracts did not want extended. And of course there was a bouquet from President Dirk Zingler’s hands to Grischa Prömel, which one would have liked to have been extended with, but which would not and in the future will again carry the colors of Hoffenheim 1899. Well, it’s your own fault if you prefer to play in a clean-of-the-mill arena instead of at the An der Alten Försterei stadium.
Prömel and Oczipka were also in the starting line-up at their usual positions, so one played in central midfield, the other worked on the left flank. Julian Ryerson on the other hand, had a terrible day. And Andreas Luthe stood in goal again and replaced Frederik Rönnow, who had not gotten to grips with his adductor problems during the week.
But let’s stay with Prömel. What a fantastic development the 27-year-old has had this season. Whereas in the past he usually only acted as a strong duel-kilometer eater, he is now also able to set an example with assists and goals. That was also the case with his last appearance in the Iron Reds when he scored the 1-o’in the fifth minute after an indomitable sprint and a wonderful post from hyper Genki Haraguchi with a header from eight meters. Prömel ran straight towards his back, his colleagues following him. He was moved, the audience excited.
The VfL was very impressed with this energy, by this strength, and did not even have time to build an attack in peace. That was far too lenient! 20 minutes into the game, Sheraldo Becker had to leave the pitch due to a knee injury. In came Sven Michel. Michel made a superb strike after 25 minutes with a shot straight in front of the goal after a long ball through the middle, but one of the visitors’ defenders got a foot in at the last second and warded it off for a corner. The defensive line of Bochum resulted in a counterattack that set Bochum free through the middle, but the keeper made a spectacular diving save. In any case, Taiwo Awoniyi took charge and with a little luck he scored from the spot because goalkeeper Michael Esser got his hand on his penalty kick to make it 2-0.
Suddenly you tremble
You have to give Bochum one thing: Even though it was no longer important to them, and even though they had to complain about several injured regular players, they showed a reaction in the second half. After a pretty good chance from Awoniyi, who only hit the side netting (50 ‘), they repeatedly created all possible chances all too easily. Takuma Asano had one, like Simon Zoller, who however headed a cross from Danilo Soares to score (55 ‘).
Suddenly, everyone at the stadium had to shake because, of course, they had noticed that Cologne had managed to equalize in Stuttgart in the meantime. So a goal was needed to put an end to this tremor. Andreas Voglsammer, who came on as a substitute during the break for Michel, who was about to be sent off, led the effort, running down the right wing to find Awoniyi from there, but Awoniyi was rejected by Esser from seven yards out.
67 minutes had been played, it would have been the decision. But that’s how the final sequence became a thriller. Especially because the Unioner let Bochum make it 2-2 in the 74th minute. Asano grabbed the ball in front of Luthe, spun another spin on the outside line, and then passed on to Eduard Löwen, who overcame Luthe, who was not really well placed, with a flick.
The Irons were down after that goal, four-five men, and feared the worst, but then they all got up and missed a good chance to make it 3-2 in the form of substitute Levan Öztunali, which Awoniyi then did four minutes later. could climb with a left-footed shot. The rest partyed.