Union Berlin earned a much-needed boost in their bid to climb away from the relegation zone with a 2-0 win at home to high-flying Freiburg on Saturday.
Union Berlin 2-0 Freiburg
Goals: 1-0 Bülter (1'), 2-0 Ingvartsen (84')
The hosts came into the game having lost their previous four league outings, but there was no shortage of confidence early on, with Marius Bülter firing them into the lead inside the first minute when his rasping shot from 25 yards whistled past Alexander Schwolow and into the top corner. Freiburg reacted well, however, and showed why they had been in the top four since Matchday 4, with Philipp Lienhart, Lucas Höler and Christian Günter all forcing Rafal Gikiewicz into good saves. As an end-to-end first half drew to a close, Union almost doubled their advantage when Marcus Ingvartsen’s close-range header was brilliantly saved by Niclas Thiede, who had replaced the injured Schwolow.
Visiting coach Christian Streich reacted after the interval and brought on attackers Nils Petersen and Vincenzo Grifo in an attempt to force an equaliser, but it was Union who remained on top and they did not allow the Black Forest club a single shot on goal in the first 20 minutes of the half. Freiburg could not be faulted for effort, but their attacks invariably fizzled out before they got anywhere near the hosts’ penalty area due to Union’s robust defending. Ingvartsen eventually sealed a deserved three points in the closing stages when he curled a sumptuous left-footed shot from the edge of the box over Thiede, giving the hosts just their second win of the season.
- Bülter's goal was Union's fastest ever in the Bundesliga and also the earliest goal Freiburg have conceded in almost five years (since January 2015).
- At the age of 33, Union defender Michael Parensen made his Bundesliga debut here.
- Freiburg goalkeeper Thiede likewise made his first Bundesliga appearance when he replaced Schwolow.
- Grifo made his 50th top-flight outing for Freiburg.
- Freiburg’s total of 14 points from the first eight games is a club record in the Bundesliga.
- Ingvartsen netted his first Bundesliga goal and, at the age of 23, becomes the club's youngest scorer in the top flight.
Union: Gikiewicz – Friedrich, K. Schlotterbeck, Parensen – Trimmel (c), Gentner (Kroos 77'), Andrich, Lenz – Ingvartsen, Bülter (Mees 89') – Andersson (Ujah 83')
Unused subs: Flecker, Nicolas, Polter, Rapp, Ryerson, Schmiedebach
Out: Abdullahi (knock), Becker (knock), Gogia (knee), Prömel (knee), Subotic (unconfirmed)
Coach: Urs Fischer
Freiburg: Scholow (Thiede 22') – Lienhart, Koch, Heintz – Schmid, Abrashi (Petersen 46'), Höfler, Günter (c) – Höler (Grifo 58'), Waldschmidt, Haberer
Unused subs: Borrello, Gulde, Kwon, Sallai, N. Schlotterbeck, Tempelmann
Out: Kübler (knee)
Coach: Christian Streich