Union Berlin got the better of VfB Stuttgart in a battle of European outsiders on Saturday, with Grischa Prömel scoring on his 100th appearance and Petar Musa opening his Bundesliga account for the capital club in a 2-1 win.
The hosts made a confident start, but it was visitors Stuttgart who had the first sight of goal on the quarter-hour, as Daniel Didavi blazed over after a neat header down from leading scorer Sasa Kalajdzic. Union forged ahead on 20 minutes though, when former Stuttgart captain Christian Gentner carved open the VfB defence with a brilliant long ball from inside his own half. Christopher Trimmel got there just before it went out of play, and his superb cross from the byline was met by Prömel's diving header for 1-0. Stuttgart, lacking the creative influence of the injured Borna Sosa, failed to register a shot on target in the first half, whereas Union looked dangerous every time they went forward. Urs Fischer's men doubled their lead shortly before the break, after good battling high up the pitch from their top marksman Max Kruse. The ball came out to Trimmel again on the right flank, and the home skipper grabbed his second assist with a perfect cross for Musa, who put the capital club firmly in the driving seat with his first Bundesliga goal.
Stuttgart coach Pellegrino Matarazzo was clearly unimpressed and made three substitutions at the break, bringing on Philipp Förster, Roberto Massimo and Mateo Klimowicz. His changes had the desired effect: four minutes into the second half, Förster pulled a goal back after Kalajdzic touched a fizzing low cross from Marcin Kaminski into his path. Union were a little subdued after the restart, but began to look dangerous again as Trimmel unleashed from outside the area, forcing a superb one-handed save from Gregor Kobel. Another VfB substitute, Darko Churlinov, then shanked an effort off target after being played through by Klimowicz. Kruse should have put the game to bed midway through the half, but somehow failed to find the target from Christopher Lenz's pinpoint cross, heading over despite being totally unmarked six yards out. Kobel then produced another fine save to claw out a Kruse effort that took a wicked deflection off Waldemar Anton. Stuttgart pushed for an equaliser in the closing stages, with Massimo and Kalajdzic going close, but Union held on for a hard-fought win.
- Prömel celebrated his 100th outing for Union in all competitions with his 12th goal for the club.
- All three of the 26-year-old's Bundesliga goals have been headers, and they have all given Union a 1-0 lead.
- Musa opened his Bundesliga account in his ninth top-flight outing for the capital club.
- Förster scored his second Bundesliga goal in his 50th competitive appearance for Stuttgart. His previous strike came in December's 5-1 win over Borussia Dortmund.
- VfB top the league charts for substitute goals with 13.
- Kruse has gone three Bundesliga games without a goal for the first time this season.
Union: Luthe - Friedrich, Knoche, Schlotterbeck - Trimmel (c) (Ryerson 86'), Andrich, Gentner (Ingvartsen 62'), Lenz - Prömel (Griesbeck 85') - Musa (Teuchert 70'), Kruse
Unused subs: Karius, Pohjanpalo, Bülter, K. Endo, Hübner
Out: Awoniyi (thigh), Becker (ankle), Dajaku (foot), Ujah (knee)
Coach: Urs Fischer
Stuttgart: Kobel - Mavropanos, Anton, Kaminski (Cisse 85') - Stenzel (Förster 46'), W. Endo (c), Karazor, Thommy (Churlinov 59') - Coulibaly (Massimo 46'), Didavi (Klimowicz 46') - Kalajdzic
Unused subs: Bredlow, Castro, Egloff (ankle), Klement, Ahamada
Out: Al Ghaddioui (ankle), Gonzalez (thigh), Kempf (suspended), Mangala (thigh), Mola (hip), Silas (knee), Sosa (knee)
Coach: Pellegrino Matarazzo