An early own goal from Timo Hübers was the difference as Union Berlin inflicted a first loss of the season on Cologne and went top of the Bundesliga table for the first time ever.
Despite the risk of tired legs after both sides began their European campaigns during the week, there was no sign of it from Union as they raced out of the blocks. They went ahead without even having an effort on goal when Sheraldo Becker saw a ball into the middle deflect off Hübers and beat Marvin Schwäbe at his near post with only four minutes gone. But the Cologne goalkeeper got his footwork right shortly after to save a Jordan penalty after Luca Kilian was adjudged to have handled in the box. Becker thought he’d added to his division-leading five goals on the quarter-four mark when he fired home from a tight angle before it was chalked off on review for offside. It took the Billy Goats 30 minutes to muster up their first shot from inside the box from Linton Maina, forcing back-up goalkeeper and Bayer Leverkusen loanee Lennart Grill into a save. Steffen Baumgart’s side grew into the game as the half wore on but still went into the break a goal down, although aware it could’ve been more.
Cologne made a much livelier start to the second period and could’ve found themselves level with a two-pass move from back to front saw Maina clean through but denied by the outstretched hand of Grill. Die Eisernen almost doubled their advantage through set-piece specialist Christopher Trimmel, but the captain’s looped delivery hit the crossbar. Even after Kilian was dismissed for a second yellow with 10 minutes remaining, the hosts pushed for an equaliser - barked on by Baumgart on the touchline – but to no avail as they suffered their first loss of the league campaign at the sixth attempt. Union, meanwhile, are leapfrog the only other unbeaten team – Bayern Munich – to go two points clear at the Bundesliga summit for the first time ever, ahead of Freiburg’s meeting with Borussia Mönchengladbach.
- Union got their fastest Bundesliga goal since November 2020 (Robert Andrich after two minutes vs. Eintracht Frankfurt) and first own goal since Paderborn’s Ben Zolinski in June 2020.
- Schwäbe has now saved both penalties he’s faced in the Bundesliga. The other was against VfB Stuttgart’s Sasa Kalajdzic on the final day of last season.
- Three of the five own goals in the Bundesliga this season have involved Cologne. Two had previously gone their way before this game.
- Union are on the longest unbeaten run of any Bundesliga team (13 games; W10, D3).
- The Köpenick-based Berlin club remain the only current Bundesliga outfit that Cologne have never beaten (D1, L6).
Watch: Becker: "We're proud to be top"
Cologne: Schwäbe - Schmitz (Schindler 62’), Kilian, Hübers, Pedersen (Ljubicic 62’) - Martel, Skhiri - Maina (Adamyan 85’), Hector (c), Kainz (Thielmann 75’) - Dietz (Tigges 46’)
Unused subs: Horn, Soldo, Huseinbasic, Duda
Out: Andersson (knee), Chabot (ankle), Limnios (knee), Olesen (ankle), Uth (pubic bone)
Coach: Steffen Baumgart
Union: Grill - Jaeckel, Knoche, Leite - Trimmel (c), Schäfer (Seguin 89’), Khedira, Haberer (Pantovic 64’), Ryerson - Becker (Michel 75’), Jordan (Behrens 75’)
Unused subs: Busk, Skarke, Gießelmann, Baumgartl, Leweling
Out: Ronnow (unconfirmed)
Coach: Urs Fischer
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