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An der Alten Försterei

FCU

0 : 0

(0 : 0)

FINAL

VFB

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CONGRATULATIONS TO UNION BERLIN

Union will become the 56th team to play in the Bundesliga and the first side from Bundesliga 2 to earn promotion via the play-offs since 2012 (when Fortuna Düsseldorf beat Hertha Berlin). It all sets up the tantilising prospect of a Berlin derby against Hertha in 2019/20. 
90' + 6'

UNION HAVE WON PROMOTION!!!!

Stuttgart throw everything forward in the closing stages but Union stand their ground and manage to run the clock down, securing a 0-0 draw that earns them a place in the top flight next season!
Full-time
End of second half
90' + 3'
<- Michael Parensen
-> Robert Žulj
90' + 2'

CHANCE FOR GOGIA

There's space for Union on the counter and the ball is worked out wide to the right, where Gogia is lurking. He gets the ball stuck under his feet somewhat but still gets a shot off from the edge of the box, but it's an easy save for Zieler in the end.
90' + 1'
substitutesMarvin Friedrich
90' + 1'

INTO STOPPAGE TIME!

There will be an additional five minutes of added time.
89'

PAVARD GOES CLOSE!

Badstuber brings down a long ball on the right-hand edge of the Union box, chesting it into the path of Pavard. He smashes a first-time shot at goal - there are echoes of his wonderstrike against Argentina at the World Cup last year - but Gikiewicz  dives to his left and gets a strong hand to the ball to put it out for a corner.
86'

HALF-CHANCE FOR GENTNER

Didavi curls in a teasing cross from the left and finds Gentner in the box, but the ball's slightly behind him and the Stuttgart midfielder can't direct his header on target and it eventually bobbles out of play.
83'

HIGH AND WIDE

Union defender  Ryerson has a rush of blood to the head, trying his luck with a long-range shot from all of 35 yards out. It's always rising and blazes well over Zieler's goal.
83'

GOGIA ON

An attacking change for Union as Gogia comes on for Abdullahi. He's quick and perfectly suited to counter-attacking football, which could prove mighty useful in the final 10 minutes or so.
82'
<- Akaki Gogia
-> Suleiman Abdullahi
78'

PROMISING CHANCE FOR UNION

Prömel wins a free-kick about 10 yards outside the Stuttgart box in a central position following a foul by Castro. Zulj takes it, but can't get the ball over the wall at it ricochets out of play.
73'

STUTTGART SURVIVE

The away side appear to have composed themselves again after those nervy Union attacks and are getting forward with purpose once again. Pavard find himself in space on the right-hand side of the home penalty area, but he can't pick out a team-mate inside a crowded box. 
72'
substitutesChristian Gentner
68'
<- Gonzalo Castro
-> Steven Zuber
67'

ABDULLAHI HITS THE POST AGAIN!

The Union forward beats Kabak to a through ball and flicks it past the onrushing Zieler. It seems to move in slow motion towards the goal before hitting the post and falling kindly to Kabak, who punts it clear! This is Union's best spell of the game by far. 
66'

UNION HIT THE POST!

The hosts work the ball well across the edge of the Stuttgart penalty area and when it comes to Abdullahi, the striker doesn't think twice about shooting. His low drive beats Zieler but cannons off the post!
65'
<- Joshua Mees
-> Marcel Hartel
63'

OPENING FOR UNION!

Some neat one-touch passing around the Stuttgart penalty area almost allows Union to score as Hartel suddenly finds himself free in front of goal. He can't quite bring the ball under control though and Ascacibar nips in to poke the ball off his toe. There's then a moment of panic as Zieler and Ascacibar get in a mix-up, before the midfielder simply smashes the ball away. 
60'

ON COMES DIDAVI

VfB attacker Donis makes way, having had a quiet game so far. Can Didavi's creativity and finishing ability make the difference against tiring Union legs?
60'
<- Daniel Didavi
-> Anastasios Donis
58'

STUTTGART PUSHING

The visitors have been camped out around the Union penalty area for the last few minutes and there have been one or two scrambles in the box, but no clear-cut chances as yet. The home team can't clear their lines at present though. 
53'

CHANCE FOR GENTNER!

Schmiedebach receives a booking for bringing down Akolo wide on the Stuttgart right. Aogo dummies to take the free-kick and just as it looks like Zuber will swing it in, Aogo checks back and takes it. His cross finds Gentner in the box, but he can't get enough power on his header and Gikiewicz saves. 
51'
substitutesManuel Schmiedebach
48'

KABAK TO THE RESCUE

Andersson is played through on goal, albeit with Kabak for company. He starts about 25 yards out, but by the time he makes it into the penalty area, Kabak's pace allows him to recover and clear the danger for Stuttgart. 

SECOND HALF UNDER WAY

Stuttgart restart the action. Veteran forward Mario Gomez has come off the bench at half-time, as he did in the first leg, with Gonzalez the man replaced.  
Kick-off!
45'
<- Mario Gómez
-> Nicolás González

ALL SQUARE AT THE BREAK

Stuttgart have been the better side so far, having seven attempts on goal to Union's one, while they've also won 54 per cent of all challenges. Aogo scored a wonderful free-kick, only for it to be ruled out by VAR, so as it stands, the home side will be in the Bundesliga next season. Stuttgart must score in the second 45 minutes if they're to stay up.
Half-time
45' + 1'

ZUBER TESTS GIKIEWICZ

Zuber cuts in from the Stuttgart left and unleashes a curling, dipping shot towards the far post. It looks like it'll sneak into the bottom corner, but  Gikiewicz scrambles across his goal and tips it wide for a corner. 
37'

GENTNER TRIES HIS LUCK

Stuttgart midfielder Gentner takes aim from 25 yards out and cracks a shot at goal. He hits it well, but it's right down the middle and a comfortable save for  Gikiewicz.
34'

NO JOY FOR UNION

The home team haven't hit their stride yet today and can't cope with Stuttgart's high press. Union are barely making it out of their own half, although they aren't allowing their visitors many sights of goal.
30'

CHANCE FOR DONIS!

Akolo's pressure helps Stuttgart win the ball back and create their next chance as the ball comes to the unmarked Donis inside the six-yard box. The young forward spies Gikiewicz off his line and tries to loop a header over him, but he can't generate enough power on it and it ends up being an easy catch for the goalkeeper.
20'

PLAY RESTARTS

Both Badstuber and Kabak have been given the all-clear to continue playing. They both have cuts on an eyebrow and are each now wearing a bandage on their head: Badstuber's is white, Kabak's is blue.
20'

OUCH!

There's a break in play as Badstuber and Kabak clash heads while both going for the same ball in a challenge with Union forward Andersson. Both VfB defenders are on the ground receiving treatment. Kabak looks to have taken a nasty cut to his eyebrow. 
15'

KEY MOMENT

Well, well, well. How will that decision change things? Stuttgart have been the better side so far and are winning most of the 50-50 tussles, but they don't have anything to show for their efforts so far. Still, VfB goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler has yet to be seriously tested by the hosts. 
9'

VAR RULES OUT AOGO'S STRIKE!

Stuttgart win a free-kick right on the edge of the Union penalty area, slightly to the right. It's ideal for a left-footer and Aogo duly takes it, bending a sumptuous effort around the wall and into the net! It's a brilliant effort, but refree Christian Dingert checks with VAR and chalks the goal off as Gonzalez was in an offside position when it was taken, blocking the goalkeeper's view.
8'

FEISTY STUFF

Neither side is giving an inch, as you might expect, and there are some strong tackles flying in all over the pitch.
3'

STRONG START FROM STUTTGART

The visitors have begun on the front foot here, pressing forward aggressively in a bid to stamp their authority on the game. An in-swinging corner from the right from Aogo creates a goalmouth scramble in the Union box, but the home team are eventually able to put the ball clear of danger.

HERE WE GO!

The hosts, playing in an all-red strip, get the ball rolling in Berlin. For their part, Stuttgart are in a dashing all-black number.
Kick-off!

ALMOST TIME!

The teams are coming to the end of their warm-ups out on the pitch. Just a few more minutes and then we'll be under way!

GOOD OMEN FOR STUTTGART?

Today's referee, Christian Dingert, has officiated two games involving Stuttgart this season. While VfB lost one of those 3-0 in Düsseldorf, they won the other match comfortably as Timo Baumgartl and Eric Thommy gegottting the goals in a 2-0 victory in Nuremberg. Dingert refereed four Bundesliga 2 matches in 2018/19, but none of them involved Union. 

UNION TEAM NEWS

Union boss Urs Fischer has only made two changes to his first XI, both of which are in defence. Julian Ryersoncomes in for suspended right-back Christopher Trimmel, while former Hannover player Florian Hübner replaces Michael Parensen at centre-back.

STUTTGART TEAM NEWS

VfB interim boss Nico Willig has made four changes to his starting line-up from the first leg last Thursday. Holger Badstuber replaces Marc-Oliver Kempf at centre-back, while Dennis Aogo comes in for Emiliano Insua at left-back. As expected, defensive midfielder Santiago Ascacibar returns to the team following suspension, forcing Gonzalo Castro to the bench, while Switzerland international Steven Zuber comes in for Daniel Didavi in attacking midfield. 

UNION BERLIN STARTING LINE-UP!

Gikiewicz - Ryerson, Hübner, Friedrich (c), Reichel – Schmiedebach, Prömel - Abdullahi, Zulj, Hartel – Andersson (SUBS: Busk, Mees, Polter, Gogia, Rapp, Lenz, Parensen)

STUTTGART STARTING LINE-UP!

Zieler – Pavard, Badstuber, Kabak, Aogo – Akolo, Ascacibar, Gentner (c), Zuber – Donis, Gonzalez (SUBS: Grahl, Insua, Baumgartl, Castro, Didavi, Esswein, Gomez)

GOMEZ TO DO THE BUSINESS?

Stuttgart forward Mario Gomez has plenty of experience in relegation play-offs, having survived with Wolfsburg 2017. He scored a crucial penalty to give the Wolves a narrow 1-0 win over local rivals Braunschweig in the first leg that year, meaning he now has two goals in three play-off outings. Can he improve on that tally today?

ASCACIBAR RETURNS

Stuttgart hardman Santiago Ascacibar was suspended for the first leg last week, but having now paid his penance, is available for selection once more here. His return could be crucial, too. The 22-year-old Argentinian played more minutes than any of his fellow VfB midfielders in the 2018/19 Bundesliga season (2,430) and is known for his take-no-prisoners approach to the game, earning more yellow cards (10) than anyone else in the top flight all term. He will certainly not be overawed by the occasion and could set the tone for his teammates to follow. 

ADVANTAGE UNION

So where does all that leave us? As the away goals rule is in effect in the promotion / relegation play-offs, Union have the edge today as they scored twice in Stuttgart. That means VfB must win or register a high-scoring draw in order to stay up. A 0-0 or 1-1 scoreline would mean relegation for Gomez, Didavi, Zieler and Co.

FIRST LEG RECAP

The first leg of this tie took place at Stuttgart's Mercedez-Benz Arena on Thursday last week. Stuttgart took the lead through captain Christian Gentner in the 41st minute, but conceded an equaliser just seconds later when Suleiman Abdullahi caught the VfB defence napping. Mario Gomez came off the bench at half-time and put Stuttgart back in the driving seat with a fine individual goal in the 51st minute, but Union fought back once again and struck a deserved equaliser through Marvin Friedrich's header. 

CRUNCH TIME!

Can you feel it? That tingle down your spine? That's because today's game is an all or nothing encounter, one that promises tension, drama and a huge dollop of excitement. A place in the Bundesliga next season is at stake after all!
Welcome along to the match centre for the game Union Berlin vs. Stuttgart from matchday 2 of the 2018/19 Relegation Bundesliga season at the An der Alten Försterei. Check back here for full information on the match.