A second-half Paul Jaeckel header earned Union Berlin victory away at VfB Stuttgart to send his side two points clear at the top.
Although Union suffered their first league defeat of the season last time out, they were still top going into the final game of the weekend. Stuttgart, however, were yet to taste victory and kicked off in the bottom two. But it was the hosts who looked the more confident side and would’ve gone ahead if not for a superb reaction stop from close range by Frederik Ronnow to deny Dan-Axel Zagadou a goal on his first start for the club. The Union goalkeeper did well again when he got down to block a Hiroki Ito free-kick that bounced awkwardly in front of him. The Dane was rooted to the spot, however, when Serhou Guirassy met a teasing cross but flicked his header only inches wide. Stuttgart custodian Florian Müller had mostly been a spectator but proved he was alert on the stroke of half-time to push away a powerful Jaeckel header.
Ronnow was busy again after the restart as he gratefully held onto a powerful Wataru Endo header. Die Eisernen managed to gain some control of the game in the second half, seeing the majority of the ball. It remained tight until Jaeckel met Niko Gießelmann’s corner with a quarter of an hour remaining to break the deadlock. Things got worst for Stuttgart as Guirassy was later sent off for a second yellow as VfB remain the only team this season yet to get a win on the board. Union, meanwhile, opened up a two-point advantage at the top after none of the three teams immediately below them managed to win.
- Jaeckel’s goal was his first in the Bundesliga in his 36th game and with his eighth shot.
- Union have scored five headed goals this season – a league high together with Werder Bremen.
- This was the first time in nine meetings between these sides that the away team won.
- VfB have never before gone nine Bundesliga matchdays without a win at the start of a season.
- Stuttgart have now equalled the Bundesliga record of home games without a clean sheet (26, previously set by Rot-Weiss Essen between 1970 and '74).
- Pellegrino Matarazzo took charge of his 100th game as Stuttgart head coach.
Watch: Jaeckel: "Fun to be the matchwinner"
Stuttgart: Müller - Mavropanos, Anton, Zagadou (Sosa 67’), Ito (Stenzel 71’) - Endo (c), Karazor (Pfeiffer 81’), Ahamada - Silas (Führich 68’), Guirassy, Tomas
Unused subs: Bredlow, Millot, Perea, Egloff, Nartey
Out: Vagnoman (foot)
Coach: Pellegrino Matarazzo
Union: Ronnow - Jaeckel, Knoche, Doekhi - Ryerson, Schäfer (Thorsby 65’), Khedira (c) (Segiun 83’), Haraguchi (Pantovic 84’), Gießelmann - Becker (Leweling 73’), Jordan (Behrens 65’)
Unused subs: Grill, Leite, Michel, Trimmel
Out: Baumgartl (not included), Maciejewski (not included), Möhwald (unspecified)
Coach: Urs Fischer
Watch: Tomas: "We could've won the game"
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