Union Berlin continued their fairy-tale season, coming from behind to snatch a 2-1 win at RB Leipzig which moved them back up to second in the Bundesliga, just a point behind Bayern Munich and six points ahead of their opponents.
The Red Bull Arena was already bouncing as the teams emerged for kick-off, but the early exchanges did not quite hit the heights of the pre-match entertainment, as caution crept in on both sides. With Bayern, Borussia Dortmund and Freiburg already triumphant on Matchday 20, the pressure was high on both teams to try to keep up with the pace at the top, but neither managed to meet their expectations in a cagey opening. The hosts had more of the ball, but were struggling to do anything with it, until full-back Benjamin Henrichs took matters into his own hands. The German cut inside onto his favoured right foot and struck a sweet shot which flew past Frederik Ronnow and sparked the game into life. Union had to come out of their shells, and that is precisely what they did with Sheraldo Becker forcing a fine one-handed save out of Janis Blaswich.
Andre Silva smashed a wayward effort high and wide as the game opened up more in the second half, as Union moved up the gears. A teasing free-kick was turned behind by Blaswich, who refused to be surprised at his near post, but the whole stadium was subsequently stunned by the way in which Janik Haberer levelled from the resultant corner. The ball fell for the Union No.19 right on the edge of the area and he sent an unstoppable volley past Blaswich into the top left-hand corner. Mohamed Simakan then committed a mistake which could have severe implications in the title race, as he barged into the ball with his arm and gave away a penalty. Robin Knoche took responsibility for reversing a trend of four penalties missed out of five so far this season, and struck the ball sweetly straight down the middle. The ball was back in Leipzig’s court, and they responded well with substitute Yussuf Poulsen turning in Marcel Halstenberg’s cross, but the goal was ruled out for an earlier offside after a VAR check.
- Five single-season Bundesliga goals is a new personal best for Haberer.
- Leipzig lost for the first time this season after leading, having previously won 10 and drawn two after scoring first.
- It was their first defeat in the Bundesliga since September, and the first time they lost at home since Marco Rose took charge, having won six and drawn one (against Bayern) at the Red Bull Arena.
- Union have now scored six goals from corners – more than any other club in the Bundesliga this season.
- Union are on a five-match winning run against Leipzig in the Bundesliga, after losing their first three meetings.
- Leipzig are winless in two Bundesliga matches for the first time under Rose.
Leipzig: Blaswich - Simakan (Poulsen 74'), Klostermann, Gvardiol, Halstenberg (Raum 88') - Szoboszlai, Laimer (c) (Haidara 62'), Schlager, Henrichs - Silva (Forsberg 74'), Werner
Unused subs: Nyland, Orban, Ba, Kampl
Out: Diallo (knee), Gulacsi (knee), Nkunku (knee), Olmo (thigh)
Coach: Marco Rose
Union: Ronnow - Doekhi, Knoche, Leite - Juranovic, Laidouni (Thorsby 86'), Khedira (c), Haberer (Roussillon 80'), Gießelmann (Seguin 81') - Becker (Michel 62'), Behrens (Jordan 62')
Unused subs: Grill, Baumgartl, Trimmel, Leweling
Out: Busk (ill), Schäfer (knock)
Coach: Urs Fischer
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