bundesliga

Clinical Union Berlin boost European hopes and dent Freiburg’s top-four push

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Sheraldo Becker and Taiwo Awoniyi proved too much for Freiburg to handle as Union Berlin recorded a 4-1 victory on Matchday 33, the result impacting both clubs’ prospects of European qualification.

Freiburg 1-4 Union Berlin
Goals: 0-1 Prömel (11'), 0-2 Trimmel 30' (assist: Becker), 0-3 Becker 41' (assist: Awoniyi), 1-3 Höler 59' (assist: Sallai), 1-4 Schäfer (90')

Freiburg went into the game in in fourth place, one rung and one point above RB Leipzig, so needed a victory here if they were to maintain their tilt at a Champions League berth. Those hopes suffered an early setback when Becker crossed for Awoniyi, the ball bouncing off Maximilian Eggestein’s leg, hitting the post and rolling across the line – where Grischa Prömel was lurking to tap in from close range. Becker was involved again shortly afterwards, his pinpoint cross from the left headed in by captain Christopher Trimmel. No doubt aware that Freiburg had overturned a two-goal deficit to beat Hoffenheim 4-3 last week, Union remained on the front foot and soon added a third when Awoniyi sent Becker racing clear into the box and the 27-year-old smashed a fierce drive past Mark Flekken from a tight angle.

The home side brought on supersub extraordinaire Nils Petersen for the second half and the veteran forward almost had an instant impact, but he could only head over from Lucas Höler’s flick on. Höler had had a goal disallowed for handball following a VAR review in the first half and he thought he was to be frustrated again after slotting the ball in from Roland Sallai’s pass, only this time the goal stood after a check for offside. Whipped on by the home crowd, the Black Forest club surged forward in the closing stages as they desperately sought a way back into the game, but Union’s well-organised defence remained compact and held firm. The visitors were even able to add a fourth, substitute Andras Schäfer registering his maiden Bundesliga goal to add gloss to a result that gave them all three points to all but secure a top-six finish and a return to European competition next season.

Match stats

  • Flekken made his 50th competitive appearance for Freiburg in this game.
  • Prömel netted his seventh Bundesliga goal of the season, more than double the amount he managed last term (three).
  • Trimmel's goal was his second this season and first ever headed goal in the top flight.
  • Becker's goal was his fourth of the campaign, a personal best for the Dutch forward
  • Union scored three times from their first five shots of the game. This was also the first time Union have scored three first-half goals in a Bundesliga away game.
  • Höler has been directly involved in five goals in his last five league outings (three scored, two assists).

Watch: Schlotterbeck: "We can still be happy with our season"

Teams

Freiburg: Flekken - Kübler (Demirovic 84'), Lienhart, N. Schlotterbeck, Günter (c) - Eggestein, Höfler - Sallai (Schmid 74'), Jeong (Petersen 46'), Grifo - Höler
Unused subs: Uphoff, Gulde, Sildillia, K. Schlotterbeck, Haberer, Wagner
Out: Keitel (broken toe), Schade (abdominals), Weißhaupt (shoulder)
Coach: Christian Streich

Union: Ronnow - Ryerson, Knoche, Jaeckel - Khedira - Trimmel (c), Haraguchi (Schäfer 65'), Prömel, Oczipka - Becker (Michel 82'), Awoniyi (Behrens 65')
Unused subs: Luthe, Gießelmann, Öztunali, Möhwald, Voglsammer, Ujah
Out: Baumgartl (ill)
Coach: Urs Fischer

Watch: Fischer: "It's amazing that we're up there!"