bundesliga

Masaya Okugawa boosts Arminia Bielefeld’s survival hopes with winner against Union Berlin

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Masaya Okugawa scored the only goal as Arminia Bielefeld beat Union Berlin to boost their survival hopes.

Arminia Bielefeld 1-0 Union Berlin
Goal: 1-0 Okugawa 53’ (assist: Wimmer)

Sitting 15th and seventh respectively ahead of the matchday, Bielefeld and Union were in the same positions they ended last season. Yet it was the lower-ranked home side – buoyed by five unbeaten games in a row at the SchücoArena – who looked the better side, seeing more of the ball and having seven attempts on goal in the first half. But the closest they came was an effort from Patrick Wimmer – the recently named Bundesliga Rookie of the Month for January – that struck the outside of the post from 20 yards. Despite their dominance and restriction of the Berliners, the away side did manage to carve out two telling opportunities. The first came when Sheraldo Becker nipped in onto a long ball but was denied by Stefan Ortega, who also saved from Taiwo Awoniyi on the rebound. Becker turned provider for the second, but new signing Sven Michel flicked his stooping header wide.

It didn’t take Arminia long to make the breakthrough after the restart, though. The impressive Wimmer showed great control in a tight space and passed through to Okugawa, who buried from close range. Awoniyi had a chance to provide a quick reply at the other end, but he was denied by the outstretched leg of Ortega. Bielefeld looked content to defend their lead and allowed Die Eisernen the majority of possession as they dropped back into formation. There was no way through for the Berliners, while Alessandro Schöpf came close to making it two for the hosts, only to be denied by a strong hand from Andreas Luthe. It meant Arminia recorded just their second home victory of the season – to go with eight draws and three defeats – and keep their survival push on track. Union missed out on a chance to move into a European qualification spot as they lost for the third matchday running.

Match stats

  • Okugawa brought up his eighth goal of the season, with five coming in the last eight games alone.
  • He’s now got nine Bundesliga goals for Bielefeld, equalling the total that compatriot Kazuo Ozaki scored for the club in the 1980s.
  • Wimmer recorded his sixth assist of the campaign. No other Bielefeld player has more than two.
  • Bielefeld extended their unbeaten run at home to six games, equalling their best streak since promotion back to the Bundesliga. However, it was only their second win in their last 13 at the SchücoArena.
  • Union have now gone seven games in Bielefeld without victory (D5, L2).
  • The Berliners have lost three league matches in a row for the first time since their maiden Bundesliga campaign in 2019/20.

Watch: Patrick Wimmer on 'lifesaver' Masaya Okugawa

Line-ups

Bielefeld: Ortega (c) - Brunner, Ramos, Nilsson, Laursen (de Medina 63’) – Kunze, Vasiliadis – Wimmer (Krüger 80’), Schöpf, Okugawa (Castro 84’) - Serra (Klos 64’)
Unused subs: Kapino, Pieper, Lasme, Hack, Bello
Out: Andrade (ankle), Prietl (ill)
Coach: Frank Kramer

Union: Luthe - Jaeckel, Baumgartl, Heintz (Voglsammer 57’) – Ryerson, Khedira (Möhwald 75’), Prömel (c), Oczipka (Gießelmann 84’) - Becker, Michel (Behrens 84’) - Awoniyi (Endo 75’)
Unused subs: Rönnow, Öztunali, Haraguchi, Trimmel
Out: Knoche (suspended)
Coach: Urs Fischer