Christopher Trimmel suffered defeat on his UEFA Champions League debut. - © IMAGO/Matthias Koch
Christopher Trimmel suffered defeat on his UEFA Champions League debut. - © IMAGO/Matthias Koch

Union Berlin fight not enough as Eisernen fall to UEFA Champions League defeat against Napoli


Giacomo Raspadori's second-half strike consigned Union Berlin to defeat in the UEFA Champions League as they lost 1-0 to Napoli at the Olympiastadion.

Union Berlin 0-1 Napoli
Goals: 0-1
Raspadori 65' (assist: Kvaratskhelia)

After eight consecutive defeats in all competitions, including narrow losses to Real Madrid and Braga in their maiden two fixtures in this competition, it would have been easy for the hosts to wilt under the wait of the increasing pressure. However, they started positively against the reigning Serie A champions, and were the better side before the interval. Janik Haberer's early half-volley from distance and Diogo Leite's header, both of which flew wide of the post, could be described as half-chances but, shortly after the hour mark, Die Eisernen appeared to have taken the lead. Some brilliant work from David Datro Fofana down the right flank saw the Ivory Coast international break into the area and play a ball across the face of goal for Haberer to tap into an empty net. However, the striker was in an inside position when he initially received the ball, meaning the goal was chalked off. There were further opportunities for Brenden Aaronson, Fofana and Rani Khedira before the break and, while none of them threatened to beat Alex Meret between the Napoli sticks, Urs Fischer will have been happy with his side's display, with Union also preventing their opponents from having a real sight of goal.

At the start of the second half, it was much the same story - Napoli dominated possession and territory, but Union looked the more dangerous on the counter-attack. However, after Fofana had dragged an effort wide, the visitors struck at the other end in the 65th minute. Danger man Khvicha Kvaratshkelia was involved, getting to the byline and pulling a ball back for Giacomo Raspadori, the replacement for the injured Victor Osimhen, to bury a first-time effort beyond Fredrik Rønnow. Union pushed forward in their attempts to grab an equaliser, and they came within inches of it when Robin Knoche headed Christopher Trimmel's cross just wide of the post. In the end, Fischer and Co. couldn't find the goal their endeavour deserved. This was their third straight defeat in this competition, meaning their chances of qualifying for the knockout stages are all but over. However, Real Madrid's victory over Braga in the group's other clash means Union's hopes of dropping down to the UEFA Europa League are still alive, although their Bundesliga clash against Werder Bremen this weekend is currently more pressing.

Match stats

  • Union have lost all three of their Champions League matches this term by a single goal.
  • The side from the capital's nine defeats this term in all competitions is just three fewer than they registered in the entire 2022/23 season.
  • Raspadori's strike was Napoli's only shot on target of the entire match.
  • This was Union's first meeting with an Italian club.
  • Trimmel was making his Champions League debut after missing the first two games of this term.
  • Second-half subsitute Jesper Lindstrøm won the 2021/22 Europa League during his time in Germany with Eintracht Frankfurt.


Union Berlin: Rønnow - Doekhi (Tousart 80'), Knoche, Leite - Trimmel (c), Haberer (Volland 80'), Khedira (Král 70'), Aaronson (Laïdouni 70'), Gosens - Fofana (Behrens 70'), Becker
Subs: Schwolow, Stein, Jaeckel, Bonucci, Dehl
Out: Juranović (muscle), Schäfer (foot), Kaufmann (knock), Roussillon (knock)
Coach: Urs Fischer

Napoli: Meret - Di Lorenzo (c), Rrahmani, Natan, Rui (Olivera 71') - Cajuste (Elmas 46'), Lobotka, Zieliński - Politano (Lindstrøm 81'), Raspadori (Simeone 71'), Kvaratskhelia (Østigård 88')
Subs: Contini, Gollini, Zanoli, Gaetano, Zerbin, D'Avino
Out: Osimhen (thigh), Anguissa (thigh), Jesus (hamstring)
Coach: Rudi Garcia

As it happened!

0 - 1

(0 - 0)

Union Berlin
Champions League
Matchday 3
Matchday 3 Olympiastadion, Berlin

Added time

FIVE minutes for Union to find an equaliser, as Behrens heads wide...



No way through

Napoli are showing all their experience. It'll take something special for Union to get a result now, you feel. They do have set-pieces in their locker...

UCL experience

Volland knows his way around the Champions League from his time at Leverkusen and Monaco. Napoli, meanwhile, have introduced Jesper Lindstrom, who won the 2021/22 Europa League with Frankfurt and played in last season's groups with the Eagles.




Balancing act for Union now. Napoli are letting them come at them, patiently awaiting an opportunity to counter.



Triple change

Union need a spark. Can the four-goal Behrens provide it?





Union undone!

Uh-oh! Kvaratskhelia works his magic to tee up Raspadori for, well, a rasping strike that leaves Rönnow with no chance.





Becker spies an opening, but his shot from outside the box doesn't trouble Meret in the Napoli goal. Is it time to freshen up the Union attack?

Holding firm

Napoli are seeing more of the ball, but Union are hunting in packs and allowing precious little by way of goal-scoring openings.

Yellow card


Yellow card



Kvaratskhelia has a sniff of the Union goal, but Haberer gets in the way.

Come on, Union!

No changes from the men in red. Can Union find another gear?

Added time

Sixty additional seconds in the German capital. Would be great time for Union to score...

Napoli up the ante

Just signs Napoli are beginning to take charge as Raspadori has an effort charged down.


The Chelsea loanee takes aim from inside the area, but Meret beats is clear. Can Union make one of these chances count?

Union lively

Fischer will be happy with his team's performance so far. They're playing with intensity and showing no fear in attack.


Promising from Union once more as Aaronson connects with a Becker cross into the Napoli box, the American firing over.

Danger signs

Kvaratskhelia has the ball at his feet on the edge of the area, but Khedira slides in to block the shot.

Elsewhere in Group C

Real have taken the lead away to Braga. As things stand, they're top on nine points; Union are bottom on one...

Disallowed goal!

Celebrations are cut short in Berlin! Gosens applied the finishing touch, but Fofana - who supplied the assist - was offside when he received the ball from Trimmel. Encouraging, mind!

Becker concern

Becker's back on the pitch, after leaving it a touch gingerly not long ago. Fischer watches on pensively...

Second Haberer attempt

This one is a little wide, as the midfielder slashes his volley well wide.

Yellow card


Solid start

Fischer will be happy with the way his side has started this clash. They have been solid at the back while looking to threaten at the other end.

Yellow card


Leite heads wide

Union will look to put their aerial prowess to good use in this clash, and Leite has an early opportunity to head home. Instead, though, he nods wide.

First attempt for Union

Haberer hits his half-volley well, and although it is never troubling Meret between the Napoli sticks, it is at least an early sighter for the hosts.

Here we go!

We're up and running!

Less than 15 minutes to go!

Not long now before kick-off. Can Union get their Champions League campaign up and running?

Familiar faces

Injury means we will not see former Wolfsburg striker Osimhen at the Olympiastadion and, while there are no ex-Bundesliga players in Napoli's starting XI, some German football alumni could come on from the bench. Jesper Lindstrøm moved to Italy from Eintracht Frankfurt this past summer, while Leo Skiri Østigård made 28 Bundesliga 2 appearances on loan at St. Pauli during the 2019/20 campaign.

Union team news

Urs Fischer, meanwhile, makes three changes to the side that succumbed 3-0 to Stuttgart. Lucas Tousart drops to the bench, making way for Brenden Aaronson, while Kevin Volland and Kevin Behrens are replaced by Sheraldo Becker - who netted a brace in the 3-2 defeat to Braga - and David Datro Fofana.

Napoli team news

Rudi Garcia has decided to field the same team that won 3-1 away at Hellas Verona in Serie A at the weekend. That means that Giacomo Raspodori leads the line in place of the injured Victor Osimhen, while Khvicha Kvaratskhelia lines up on the wing after his brace last time out.

Union starting XI

Rønnow - Doekhi, Knoche, Leite - Trimmel (c), Haberer, Khedira, Aaronson, Gosens - Fofana, Becker

Union subs

Schwolow, Stein, Jaeckel, Bonucci, Laïdouni, Tousart, Král, Dehl, Behrens, Volland

Napoli starting XI

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

Napoli subs

Contini, Gollini, Østigård, Olivera, Lindstrøm, Elmas, Zanoli, Gaetano, Zerbin, D'Avino, Simeone

Rani's back!

Rani Khedira, who scored the goal that fired his club into the Champions League on the final day of last season, is in line to make his competition debut today. "The key is to continue to have confidence and optimism," said the midfielder, who made his first league appearance of the season on Saturday following a calf injury. "It won't be easy, but we have to stay upbeat and try to win."

Christopher Trimmel talks team mentality

"We don't have stars in the team; the team is the star. Each new player who comes here gets integrated and, after that, you're in a team that works hard and where there's an amazing atmosphere in the dressing room. Then, every player just feels comfortable. It all comes down to keeping on developing. Every player will get their chance."

Napoli can be got at

Encouragingly for Union, defending Italian champions Napoli have only kept three clean sheets in 11 competitive matches this term. Great news for Becker & Co.

Contrasting fortunes

Form hopefully counts for nothing later today. Union have lost eight in a row in all competitions, most recently going down 3-0 at home to VfB Stuttgart at the weekend. For their part, Napoli won 3-1 in Verona following back-to-back defeats to Real Madrid and Fiorentina.

Rudi Garcia's view on Union

"Union had a very good season last year and more than deserved to qualify for the Champions League. We mustn't be fooled by their current run. Union can always be dangerous. They have a lot of interesting players. Besides Leo Bonucci, I'm also looking forward to seeing Lucas Tousart."

Urs Fischer's view on Napoli

"Napoli ate a big challenge for us. [Khvicha] Kvaratskhelia and [Matteo] Politano are quick and always looking to get into one-on-ones, while [Stanislav] Lobotka makes them tick from midfield. For us, it's about being compact and defending as a team, pressing the opponent again and again and sticking to the basics for the whole game. We will approach the game with confidence and a positive attitude, and will do everything we can to get back on track."

Team news - Union Berlin

Josip Juranović is on the absentee list, but Union hope to be boosted by the return of the experienced Rani Khedira, who played against Stuttgart on Saturday after recovering from his calf injury. Italy captain Leonardo Bonucci might just have an idea or two on how to shut out the talented Napoli attack. Union's attackers have not been on such fine form of late, but after two goals in their first Champions League outing at the Olympiastadion, Sheraldo Becker will be hoping to start and find the net once again.

Form - Union Berlin

After winning their opening two Bundesliga encounters, it has been all downhill for Union since. The side from East Berlin have now lost eight consecutive matches in all competitions. Their Champions League campaign has been marred by bad luck so far, with stoppage-time goals in both Madrid and at home to Braga condemning them to defeats. A surprise victory against Napoli might just be the spark they need to revive their fortunes.

Form - Napoli

Naples went wild in the spring as Napoli won their first Scudetto since 1990. They also reached the Champions League quarter-finals last season. Their start to the season has not been terrible, but they are yet to reach the heights of the last campaign. They are currently fifth in Serie A and were beaten 2-3 at home by Real Madrid in their most recent Champions League outing.

Welcome along!

Thanks for joining us for live updates of Union Berlin v Napoli at a red Olympiastdion in the UEFA Champions League.