Ruthless Union Berlin beat Eintracht Frankfurt to keep title challenge going


Second-half goals from Rani Khedira and Kevin Behrens sealed a 2-0 victory for Union Berlin over Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday.

Union Berlin 2-0 Eintracht Frankfurt
Goals: 1-0 
Khedira (assist: Knoche) 52', 2-0 Behrens 75'

Union started the day third, out to reduce the arrears to top two of Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich and maintain their title challenge. As for Frankfurt, they have ambitions for a top-four spot and were looking to close their own gap to RB Leipzig after they were beaten by Bochum on Saturday. And it was the visitors who were presented with the first big chance of the game, but Randal Kolo Muani could only head wide from close range at the back post. Frankfurt continued to pose the greater attacking threat and Frederik Ronnow had to be at his best to race off his line and deny Daichi Kamada as the Japan international pounced on an error from Josip Juranovic. Kolo Muani again went close with a header shortly before half time but, despite their superiority, Frankfurt were unable to grab the opener their play deserved.

The home side had barely tested Kevin Trapp in the visiting goal going into the break but suddenly found themselves in front eight minutes after the restart. Captain for the day Khedira was the man who broke the deadlock, thumping home from close range after a corner caused panic in the Frankfurt defence. Sheraldo Becker thought that he had doubled his team's advantage with just over 20 minutes to play, and ended his personal goal drought, but his effort was pulled back for an offside as Becker was freed on goal. Union would have their second within five minutes of Becker's being ruled out; substitute Behrens firing through the legs of Trapp to seal victory for Die Eisernen. With the three points, Union ensure they keep pace at the top, while defeat leaves Frankfurt in sixth and five points off Leipzig in fourth.

Match stats

  • Khedira's effort was his first competitive goal for Union.
  • The 29-year-old's last Bundesliga goal came in May 2021 while he was an Augsburg player.
  • Becker scored six times in seven matches leading up to the reverse fixture in Frankfurt, but has found the net just once in 18 games since, and is now 16 without a goal in all competitions.
  • Behrens' effort was the ninth by a Union substitute this term. Only Dortmund have seen more subs score goals in the Bundesliga in 2022/23.
  • Union haven't lost in 18 Bundesliga home matches, winning 11. Only Bayern are enjoying a longer unbeaten home run (21 games).
  • Since the beginning of last season, Frankfurt have won only 27 percent of Bundesliga games (six of 22) without the suspended Sebastian Rode in the team.

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Union: Ronnow - Doekhi, Knoche, Baumgartl (Leite 86') - Juranovic, Seguin, Khedira (c), Haberer (Pantovic 86'), Gießelmann (Roussillon 76') – Becker (Leweling 76'), Jordan (Behrens 67')
Unused subs: Grill, Thorsby, Laidouni, Michel
Out: Schäfer (foot)
Coach: Urs Fischer

Frankfurt: Trapp (c) - Tuta, Smolcic, Ndicka - Buta, Kamada (Alidou 82'), Sow, Lenz (Max 73') - Borre (Alario 67'), Götze (Aaronson 82') - Kolo Muani
Unused subs: Ramaj, Hasebe, Jakic, Chandler, Knauff
Out: Dina Ebimbe (ankle), Lindstrom (ankle), Rode (suspended)
Coach: Oliver Glasner