David Fofana celebrates his equalising goal against Napoli in UEFA Champions League Group C. - © Imago
David Fofana celebrates his equalising goal against Napoli in UEFA Champions League Group C. - © Imago

David Fofana secures historic UEFA Champions League point for Union Berlin in Napoli


David Fofana scored as Union Berlin ended their 12-game losing streak to draw with Napoli and keep alive their hopes of playing European football in the spring.

Napoli 1-1 Union Berlin
Goals: 1-0 
Politano 39', 1-1 Fofana 52'

Following three straight defeats in their first-ever Champions League group stage campaign, Union travelled to southern Italy knowing they needed a positive result to ensure progress from Group C remained a potential reality. That was reflected in their bold start, and Sheraldo Becker quickly called Alex Meret into action as Urs Fischer’s men looked anything but a team that had last avoided defeat on 26 August. But they soon ran out of steam as Napoli moved up a gear, and even without the injured Victor Osimhen, the hosts threatened whenever they reached the final third. Natan headed against a post before André-Frank Zambo Anguissa thought he had given Napoli the lead when he headed in from close range. VAR ruled out the strike for a foul by Napoli captain Giovanni Di Lorenzo, but there was no reprieve when Mário Rui’s low cross ricocheted up off the foot of Josip Juranović and flashed past Fredrik Rønnow off Matteo Politano’s chest.

Juranović would have drawn Union level with the very last kick of the half but his low free-kick from just outside the area pinged off Meret’s right-hand upright. Instead, it was Fofana who did so when Jérôme Roussillon’s long ball forward caught Napoli short at the back: Becker’s shot was saved by Meret, but Fofana smashed home the rebound. Union kept their opponents at arm’s length until the closing stages: Rønnow watched as Amir Rrahmani’s glancing header cleared his crossbar before the Union goalkeeper got everything behind a Khvicha Kvaratskhelia drive as Union picked up an historic first Champions League point to retain hope of clinching third spot in Group C and progressing to the UEFA Europa League.

Match stats

  • Fofana’s goal was Union’s first in five competitive outings.
  • The on-loan Chelsea forward has now scored in all three UEFA senior club competitions after netting for former side Molde in the Conference League and Europa League.
  • Union have kept just one clean sheet in 16 competitive games this season.
  • This was the first European match in five against German opponents in which Napoli have conceded a goal.
  • Union have scored more than one goal in just one of their 13 UEFA competition games in the club’s history.


Napoli: Meret - Di Lorenzo (c), Rrahmani, Natan, Rui (Olivera 77') - Anguissa, Lobotka (Simeone 77'), Zieliński (Cajuste 90+1') - Politano (Lindstrøm 87'), Raspadori, Kvaratskhelia
Unused subs:
Contini, Gollini, Juan Jesus, Elmas, Zerbin, Zanoli, Gaetano, Østigård
Coach: Rudi Garcia

Union Berlin: Rønnow - Jaeckel, Bonucci, Leite - Juranovic (Trimmel 64'), Laïdouni (Král 70'), Haberer (Aaronson 79'), Khedira (c) (Tousart 70'), Roussillon (Gosens 80') - Becker, Fofana
Unused subs:
Schwolow, Stein, Volland, Behrens, Knoche, Dehl
Urs Fischer

As it happened!

1 - 1

(1 - 0)

Union Berlin
Champions League
Matchday 3
Matchday 3 Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, Naples
+ 8

Union hold Napoli!

Brilliant! Union fight hard for their first Champions League point. They can't reach the last 16, but could still go into the Europa League by finishing third in Group C.
+ 7

Nervy moments...

Napoli win a corner, which Union are going to have to defend with nine outfield players. Fofana has cramp...
+ 7

Half chance!

Becker with time to turn on the edge of the Napoli area, but his shoot is miles over.
+ 5

Strong goalkeeping

Union have everyone back as a cross comes into the box. It's half cleared and returned to Kvaratskhelia, who shoots straight at Rönnow on the turn!
+ 1


Tousart fires narrowly wide from outside the Napoli box. Seven additional minutes - can Union steal a late winner?



Union still plugging away

Becker forces a corner. The referee uses the brief stoppage to call back Simeone for a shirt pull on Král, but the set-piece comes to nothing.

Yellow card


Familiar face

Jesper Lindstrom, who helped Frankfurt win the 2021/22 Europa League, replaces Politano.




Raspadori to the by-line. He pings in a cross for Simeone, who's stooping and can't keep his header down.


Rrahmani heads a corner onto the roof of the net, with Rönnow rooted to the spot.





Yellow card


Turning tide?

Union have been so positive in the second half. Napoli are beginning to look a little rattled.

Double change

Král and Tousart replace Khedira and Laidouni, who have worked their socks off in the centre of the Union midfield.


Union counter again with Roussillon and Becker. The ball is pulled back to the edge of the box, where Trimmel connects first-time, forcing Meret to punch clear.

Proceed with caution

Jaeckel joins Bonucci in the book for a foul on the lively Politano. That's two of Union's three-man defence on yellow cards.

Yellow card


Change at right-back

Fresh legs, with Trimmel on for Juranovic, who was a doubt before the game.


Jaeckel gets in the way of a Politano strike following another Napoli corner - their 12th of the game.


Union give as good as they get as Roussillon crosses for Becker. He tries to toe it goalwards on the stretch, but a deflection takes it wide. Superb response from Fischer's team since the restart!

Safe hands

Rönnow gets behind Rrahmani's header from a corner. Consider the Napoli bear poked...

Union are level!

Classic Union goal, breaking away after clearing a Napoli corner. Becker's initial shot is saved, but there's no stopping Fofana on the rebound. That's Union's first goal for five games - can they get another?

As you were

Politano heads wide from a corner as Napoli pick up where they left off. No changes at the break.
+ 5

Off the post!

Desperately unlucky for Union as Juranovic hits a free-kick against the right-hand post!

Time added on

Five more minutes at the end of a first half dominated by the Italian champions...

Yellow card


This one counts!

Napoli get it wide for Rui, who fizzes a low cross towards the six-yard box. It deflects off Juranovic and hits Politano who, like Union goalkeeper Rönnow, knew very little about it. Union behind in Naples...
Matteo Politano


Politano makes the most of hesitancy in the Union defence by Jaeckel. He takes aim from 18 yards, but the ball hits a teammate and goes behind for a goal-kick. Napoli are in total control.


It won't count! Di Lorenzo is penalised for using Roussillon for leverage, so it remains goalless.

Goal or no goal?

Napoli's persistence tells. Di Lorenzo heads down Rui's in-swinging cross for Anguissa to slam home from close range. However, the referee will consult the VAR for a possible foul on Roussillon...


Union are having to switch between a three- and five-man defence at times. Five becomes three as they go on the attack, with Fofana ballooning over from 20 yards.


Union get away with one as Natan heads Kvaratskhelia's right-wing cross against the upright.

Home advantage beginning to tell

Napoli have taken charge of this one. Can Union ride the storm?

Rönnow called on!

Di Lorenzo drives into the Union box, but can't get a shot off. Zieliński can, the Napoli forward forcing Rönnow into a strong save from close range.

Counter threat

A corner is swung in by Juranovic, before the whistle sounds for a foul on Meret. Union are attacking with confidence when the chance presents itself. They certainly don't look like a team on a 12-match losing run in all competitions.

Painful one

Leite takes a rasping drive to the groin area, and needs treatment.

Warning shot

Politano with a purposeful run towards the edge of the Union area. It's worked into the feet of Kvaratskhelia, who sees his shot blocked. Bonucci completes the clearance for Union.


Khedira kick-starts a Union attack. Becker steams into the Napoli box, before testing Meret with a low shot towards the goalkeeper's near post. Bold!

It's loud!

The home fans are making a real racket as Napoli win the game's first corner, but it's easily gathered by Rönnow.

We're off!

Union are in black with gold trim against the blue and white of Napoli. Can the Berliners break their Champions League duck?

More on those teams

Josip Juranovic is passed fit to start for Union, but Robin Gosens drops to the bench with Jerome Roussillon preferred on the opposite flank. Urs Fischer also welcomes back Rani Khedira and Janik Haberer, while Paul Jaeckel is preferred in defence to Robin Knoche. As expected, Napoli are once again without Victor Osimhen.

Union starting line-up

Rønnow - Jaeckel, Bonucci, Leite - Juranovic, Laïdouni, Haberer, Khedira (c), Roussillon - Becker, Fofana

Union subs

Schwolow, Stein, Gosens, Aaronson, Volland, Behrens, Trimmel, Tousart, Knoche, Král, Dehl

Napoli starting line-up

Meret - Di Lorenzo (c), Rrahmani, Natan, Rui - Anguissa, Lobotka, Zieliński - Politano, Raspadori, Kvaratskhelia

Napoli subs

Contini, Gollini, Juan Jesus, Elmas, Olivera, Simeone, Zerbin, Cajuste, Zanoli, Gaetano, Lindstrøm, Østigård

"Reward them with results"

Union's Italian defender Leonardo Bonucci said it is about time he and his teammates gave the Union fans a lift by earning a decent result later. "It's been a good experience [in Berlin] and there's always a lot of enthusiasm, even though we are going through a difficult spell. I'm fortunate to be at a club where the supporters show you they are behind you from start to finish. We need to reward them with results.”

Fischer has faith

Urs Fischer talked a good fight during his pre-match press conference on Tuesday, the Union boss saying in quotes that appeared on UEFA's official website: "Over the past two days, the team has shown me that they are prepared to try everything over 90 minutes to take the three points back to Berlin."

State of play

While Union's hopes of reaching the knockout stages are hanging by a thread, they are not yet over. A victory at the Stadio Olimpico would put them within three points of a top-two spot with games against Braga and Real Madrid to come. A place in the UEFA Europa League play-off round is a more realistic goal, and a point here would put give them the opportunity - depending on Braga's result against Real in the group's other clash - to leapfrog the Portuguese outfit when they meet after the international break.

Form - Napoli

Since Union's last meeting, the Partonopei have picked up four points from their two Serie A fixtures. They came from two goals down to clinch a 2-2 draw against AC Milan, while they defeated Salernitana away from home last time out.

Napoli team news

The hosts, meanwhile, are still without star striker Victor Osimhen. However, they otherwise have a full squad to choose from, giving manager Rudi Garcia plenty of options.

Union team news

Urs Fischer has several absentees to contend with. Danilo Doekhi, Andras Schäfer are both definietly unavailable, while Josip Juranović and Alexander Schwolow are doubtful for this clash.

Not much in it

It is fair to say that Union's European encounters are often tense affairs. All three of their Champions league matches this term have been decided by a one-goal margin, which is also the case in nine of their previous 13 continental clashes regardless of the competition.

Union long due a result

There's no easy way to say this, but Union Berlin's form is dire. They currently have 12 defeats in a row in all competitions - but what could possibly be a better way to break that run than getting a result of any kind in Naples on a Champions League night?

How they got here

It hasn't been the best Champions League campaign (or Bundesliga season) so far for Union Berlin, but let's start by reminding ourselves of better times - with Union's remarkable qualification for the competition.


Thank you for joining us for live updates ahead of and during Union Berlin's UEFA Champions League tie at Napoli.