Union Berlin are back in the hunt for a European spot after a first-half Max Kruse special fired the visitors past a Bochum team left cursing their luck at the death.
Fully rested after remaining on the bench for Union's scoreless midweek draw against Freiburg - the capital side's second successive game without a win - Kruse was back with a bang to bring the first ever Bundesliga meeting between these teams to life. A superb cross from the left by Bastian Oczipka was met by Grischa Prömel's clever header out towards the edge of the area. Watching the inviting assist all the way, the alert Kruse subsequently belted one first time on the half-volley past Bochum goalkeeper Manuel Riemann. It was the first time this season Union's number 10 scored from open play in the Bundesliga, his previous two top-flight goals having come from the penalty spot.
Leading the way in the Union scoring charts this season, Taiwo Awoniyi was muscled out of possession while chasing what would have been his 10th goal of the campaign after the restart. From the resulting corner, Prömel failed to convert a loose ball from close range. Somewhat subdued up until this point, Bochum suddenly began to show why they boasted five wins from their previous nine matches. Konstantinos Stafylidis brought some home cheer with a testing shot from distance that surprised Andreas Luthe into a reflex save, while Milos Pantovic should have scored when following up the Union 'keeper's parry from Elvis Rexhbecaj's thunderbolt. Living ever more dangerously, the visitors were then given a real scare when Pantovic hit the underside of the crossbar. That, however, would prove the last fright for Urs Fischer's men, who receive a timely boost ahead of the winter break.
- Kruse netting his first ever goal against Bochum means he has now scored at least one goal against every current Bundesliga club, except Union.
- Kruse has three goals and three assists in the Bundesliga so far in 2021/22.
- His strike partner Awoniyi leads the way for Union this season with nine goals, behind only Robert Lewandowski (19), Patrik Schick (16), Erling Haaland (13) and Anthony Modeste (10) overall.
- These teams previously met 21 times in all competitions - 20 in Bundesliga 2, one in the DFB Cup. Saturday represented their first meeting in the Bundesliga.
- Union have now won twice away from home in the Bundesliga this term following a 2-1 success in Mainz at the start of October.
Bochum: Riemann – Soares, Masovic, Leitsch, Stafylidis (Bockhorn 60') – Osterhage (Novothny 75'), Losilla (c), Rexhbecaj – Pantovic, Polter, Antwi-Adjei (Ganvoula 75')
Unused subs: Esser, Gamboa, Tesche, Lambropoulos, Hartwig, Ganvoula, Bella-Kotschap
Out: Blum (muscular), Decarli (shoulder), Löwen (not included), Zoller (knee)
Coach: Thomas Reis
Union: Luthe – Friedrich, Knoche, Jaeckel – Trimmel (c) (Ryerson 76'), Khedira (Möhwald 90'), Prömel, Oczipka – Kruse (Voglsammer 76') – Becker (Haraguchi 64'), Awoniyi (Behrens 64')
Unused subs: Rönnow, Endo, Gießelmann, Baumgartl
Out: Dehl (operation)
Coach: Urs Fischer