Union celebrate Robin Gosens' opening goal in Braga. - © Octavio Passos
Union celebrate Robin Gosens' opening goal in Braga. - © Octavio Passos

Union Berlin's European hopes hanging by a thread after draw in Braga


A first-half strike from Robin Gosens against the 10 of Braga helped Union Berlin earn a second point in UEFA Champions League Group C, which keeps the Irons' hopes of Europa League qualification alive.

Braga 1-1 Union Berlin
Goals: 0-1 Gosens 43' (assist: Roussillon), 1-1 Djaló 51' (assist: Ricardo)

On a night when Marie-Louise Eta become the first female coach of the Champions League era, Nenad Bjelica was taking his seat on the Union bench for the first time since replacing Urs Fischer. The new tactician soon saw Jérôme Roussillon save his side when clearing Simon Banza's goal-bound effort, but the home side's flow would soon be disrupted when Braga went down to 10 men. Sikou Niakaté's challenge on Kevin Behrens was initially adjudged to have been a booking but when VAR intervened, the card was upgraded. Union took full advantage and hit the front before the break when Roussillon fed Gosens, who took a touch before slamming home. 

After 15 games without a win, Union could be forgiven for carrying an air of uncertainty while leading that would result in Braga netting an equaliser shortly after the break. Ricardo Horta's through pass was met by Álvaro Djaló, who raced forward before drilling past goalkeeper Frederik Rønnow.  \The equaliser buoyed Braga, who had former Schalke man Rodrigo Zalazar and Horta threatening to grab a second as Union floundered. With the clock ticking down, Gosens nodded wide when he found space at the far post as Die Eisernen had to settle for a point that keeps their Europa League qualification hopes hanging by a thread. The bottom-placed side in Group C, Union face Real Madrid at home in their final game in the section needing to win and hoping Braga slip up against Napoli. 

Match stats

  • Eta won the 2010 UEFA Women's Champions League as a Turbine Potsdam player.
  • Sheraldo Becker is still Union’s leading scorer in the Champions League, thanks to his two goals in the reverse fixture.
  • Christopher Trimmel is Union’s record appearance-maker in UEFA competition (13 games).
  • Union are the 14th different German team to play in the Champions League groups.
  • Braga’s record against German clubs now reads: W4, D3, L5.


Braga: Matheus - Borja, Fonte, Niakaté, Gómez (Mendes 81') - Carvalho (Saatçi 36'), Moutinho, Zalazar (A. Horta 81'), Djaló (Fernandes 81') - R. Horta (c), Banza (Ruiz 68')
Unused subss: Sá, Horníček, Oliveira, Marín, Lopes, Pizzi, Castro
Out: - Al Musrati (unspecified), Bruma (unspecified)
Coach: Artur Jorge

Union: Rønnow (c) - Knoche, Leite, Roussillon - Juranović, Tousart (Haberer 62'), Khedira (c) (Aaronson 78'), Laïdouni (Král 78'), Gosens - Volland, Behrens (Fofana 62')
Unused subs: Schwolow, Stein, Jaeckel, Bonucci, Trimmel, Dehl  
Out: Becker (knock), Doekhi (knock)
Coach: Nenad Bjelica

As it happened:

1 - 1

(0 - 1)

Union Berlin
Champions League
Group C, Matchday 5
Group C, Matchday 5 Estádio Municipal de Braga
+ 6

Full-time: Braga 1-1 Union

Union's Europa League qualification hopes are still alive following this draw in Braga but the Irons must beat Real Madrid in their final Group C game in Germany and hope tonight's opponents slip up in their final match against Napoli.

No joy for Fofana

Substitute Fofana shoots into the ground with the ball bouncing up into the arms of goalkeeper Matheus. Is that to be the game's last chance?

Gosens goes close

Gosens looks to bag his second of the game from the far post but his header misses the target and the opportunity is gone.







Double change

Brenden Aaronson and Alex Král are on for the Irons. Can they find a winner here as we head into the final ten minutes?

Braga attacking

Again Braga come and this time it's Horta who gets a shot away, with Juranović getting an important touch on the ball to take it away from the target.

Ruiz high and wide

Substitute Ruiz is the latest to try his luck for Braga but the Spaniard's shot goes harmlessly off target.

No way through

Zalazar has a shot from distance blocked by Union's Haberer.

Home change

The hosts make a move with SPanish forward Abel Ruiz coming on.



Double swap

The visitors introduce Fofana and Haberer as they look to ease the pressure being applied by the ten men of Braga.

Key period

Big moment for new Union coach Bjelica, who must keep his players chasing here against the ten men of Braga despite that setback at the start of the second half.

Khedira booked

Khedira takes one for the team with a tactical foul on Zalazar that allows Union to regroup.

Yellow card


Djaló leveller

The hosts draw level soon after the restart with Álvaro Djaló allowed to run through the middle and finish with power.




Game back on

The second half is underway in Portugal ...
+ 4

Half-time: Braga 0-1 Union

The Bundesliga side have taken a valuable lead against the ten men of Braga, with Robin Gosens's strike the difference on a night when the Irons could revive their qualification chances for the Europa League.
+ 1

Yellow card


Almost Braga

Rønnow saves from Fonte before Behrens denies Djalo and Leite gets in a clearance! Union were living very dangerously there.

Union lead !

And there is that goal!! Roussillon feeds Gosens who finds some space before taking a touch and slamming home. It's the first goal of the Nenad Bjelica, Union Berlin era!

Robin Gosens


Robin Gosens

Onus on Irons

With Braga down to ten, there is a huge chance here now for Union, who could leapfrog their opponents in the section should they win here.

Union chances

Laïdouni has a shot blocked before Roussillon has a pop from distance on the follow up which flies off target.

Yellow card


Niakaté sent off

Braga are down to ten men. Niakaté's challenge on Behrens originally warrants a yellow card but after a VAR review, the Braga man is given his marching orders.

Red card


Braga in possession

The home side have had 62 per cent possession thus far but Union's solid build-up play thus far suggests the visitors are capable of surprising their hosts here.

Khedira ok to continue

Khedira and Banza collide and for a moment it looks like the two have picked up heavy injuries. Fortunately both soon get back to their feet and are ok to continue.

Roussillon saves visitors

Suddenly Braga are in and it's Horta who delivers the dangerous cross which Banza diverts towards goal. Roussillon manages to get a block on the shot which keeps the game scoreless.

Moutinho effort

Moutinho picks up possession and has a go at goal from distance but his shot hits Knoche and drops out for a corner, which comes to nothing.

Top entertainment

Both sides are playing an open, attacking game here. An opening goal can't be far off given the pace of proceedings.

Knoche booked

Knoche clumsily trods on Ricardo Horta and that's a booking for the Union man, who will now have to be careful for the remainder of this game.

Yellow card


Union's bright start

Tousart and Gosens combine well in the early stages as Union look to take the game to their opponents on what is a cold night at the Estádio Municipal.


The Group C game between Braga and Union is underway in Portugal.

Teams out!

The players take to the pitch and it's time for that famous Champions League anthem. We're edging closer to kick off !!

Irons look to Volland

Sheraldo Becker scored twice against Braga in the corresponding fixture in Berlin, but the forward is absent through injury tonight. Step forward Kevin Volland, who has also scored in this competition before, netting for Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen against Atlético Madrid in 2019. Volland also scored in a Champions League qualifier for previous club Monaco.

Something to go on

As they go in search of what would be a first victory in the Champions League, Union can take confidence from the fact that they finished ahead of Braga in last season's UEFA Europa League group stage, sending the Portuguese side into the Conference League as a result.

Team news

In his first game at the Union helm, Nenad Bjelica makes four changes to the side that drew with Augsburg in the Bundesliga last weekend. Captain Rani Khedira returns to midfield while. Josip Juranović, Jérôme Roussillon and and Lucas Tousart also start. With Sheraldo Becker carrying a knock, Kevin Volland is the preferred attacking option alongside Kevin Behrens. Braga, meanwhile, are without the injured Al-Musrati and former Leipzig man Bruma.

Union starting XI

Rønnow (c) - Knoche, Leite, Roussillon - Juranović, Tousart, Khedira (c), Laïdouni, Gosens - Volland, Behrens

Union subs

Schwolow, Stein, Jaeckel, Aaronson, Fofana, Haberer, Bonucci, Trimmel, Král, Dehl

Braga starting XI

Matheus - Borja, Fonte, Niakaté, Gómez - Carvalho, Moutinho, Zalazar, Djaló - Horta (c), Banza

Braga subs

Sá, Horníček, Saatçi, Ruiz, Horta, Fernandes, Oliveira, Mendes, Marín, Lopes, Pizzi, Castro

Nenad Bjelica in at Union Berlin

Union Berlin have moved to fill the void left by departing coach Urs Fischer by appointing former Kaiserslautern midfielder Nenad Bjelica to the Eisernen helm.

Who is Marie-Louise Eta?

Playing under her maiden name of Bagehorn, Union's assistant coach helped Turbine Potsdam lift the 2009/10 UEFA Women's Champions League, and win three successive Bundesliga titles from 2009 to 2011. She retired in 2018 aged just 26 while at Bremen and immediately started coaching Werder's U15 boys' team.

Early-season inspiration

Currently in need of a lift, Union could do worse than having a look back at their opening Bundesliga games this term, when the goals were flowing and the atmosphere was unmatched.

New faces

Union have placed U19s coach Marco Grote in temporary charge until a permanent appointment is made. His assistant is Marie-Louise Eta, who becomes the first female assistant coach in Bundesliga history.

Changing of the guard

It was due to that aforementioned poor beginning to the campaign that Union and coach Urs Fischer decided to part ways after five-and-a-half seasons together. The Swiss tactician had overseen all of Union's 147 Bundesliga matches having gained promotion to the top flight for the first time in the club's history in 2019. His record was impressive with 11th, seventh, fifth and then fourth-placed finishes.

Tricky term

After a superb fourth-place finish last term, Union achieved a maiden Champions League place. Despite a bright start to the current campaign, the capital club have since hit a hard run of results that leaves them in the Bundesliga's relegation zone. Victory against Braga could prove just the tonic as Die Eisernen look to turn things around, however.

Union's special story

What better time to remind ourselves of how Union Berlin reached the heights they have today! It's been an unforgettable story so far ...

History makers

This is Union's first Champions League campaign, and after three straight losses with which to start the group, they picked up a historic first point with a 1-1 draw at Napoli last time out.


Union Berlin head to Portugal where a victory would put them in pole position ahead of their Matchday 5 opponents in the race to clinch third spot in Group C and a place in the Europa League after the Christmas break.