Goals from Taiwo Awoniyi and Sheraldo Becker helped Union Berlin continue their remarkable start to the season by cruising to a comfortable win at Werder Bremen on Saturday.
The visitors started the day sixth in the standings - seven points above the home side - and they struck the front after a quiet opening to the game. Centre-back Robin Knoche started the move off, with his sharp, threaded ball through from his own half reaching the feet of Taiwo Awoniyi. Sheraldo Becker peeled infield off the Union striker’s right shoulder, and his sweet left-footed strike from the edge of the area nestled right in the corner. Bremen had half a chance to level midway through the half, but Leonardo Bittencourt shot over from range after Union keeper Andreas Luthe had a pass intercepted. Luthe then reacted well to keep out a Maximilian Eggestein effort that was deflected on target and in the opposite direction to which he had been moving. Union looked the more aggressive and solid team, however, and moments after Eggestein's chance their hard work paid off. When Bremen failed to clear properly from their own corner flag area, Robert Andrich found Awoniyi in the box and the Nigerian just about poked the ball past Jiri Pavlenka. A miserable half for the home side was completed just before the break when Romano Schmid finished off a nice move only to see the goal was ruled out for offside.
Bremen sent on Davie Selke and Jean-Manuel Mbom for Bittencourt and Yuya Osako at half-time, but the pattern of the game hardly changed. Union continued to look dangerous on the counter, and Grischa Prömel drilled wide from 20 yards on one such break 10 minutes after the restart. Midway through the half Bremen finally created another opening of note, but defender Marco Friedl couldn't scramble the ball past Luthe from a corner. Becker then teed up Awoniyi at the other end, he clipped his left-wing cross over from inside the six-yard box. Former Hertha Berlin striker Selke then had a volley nicked over the top by the impressive Knoche. It was a mature display from Union, who climbed to fourth as a result in just their second-ever season in the top flight.
- Becker gave Union the lead with his side’s first shot of the game. It was the Dutch attacker’s second goal of the campaign.
- Awoniyi has now scored in his last three Bundesliga matches, and in his last four away games. On loan from Liverpool for the season, the former Mainz forward has five league goals in 2020/21.
- Like defending champions Bayern Munich, Union have scored in every league game so far this season. They have now picked up 24 points in 14 matches - more than they managed in 17 during the second half of 2019/20.
- Werder are winless in their last five home games (D2, L3), and have lost five of their last six Bundesliga matches.
- Theodor Gebre Selassie replaced Claudio Pizarro as the Green-Whites' record non-German appearance maker on 251 Bundesliga outings.
- Bremen also had 14 points on the board after 13 matches last season, ultimately surviving via the relegation play-offs.
Watch: Awoniyi: "A goal's a goal!"
Bremen: Pavlenka - Gebre Selassie (c), Toprak (Veljkovic 82'), Friedl, Augustinsson (Chong 76') - Groß, Schmid (Füllkrug 77'), Eggestein - Bittencourt (Mbom 46'), Sargent, Osako (Selke 46')
Unused subs: Kapino, Agu, Moisander, Erras
Out: Rashica (thigh), Woltemade (illness)
Coach: Florian Kohfeldt
Union: Luthe - Knoche, Friedrich, Hübner - Trimmel (c), Andrich, Prömel (Griesbeck 76'), Lenz - Becker (Teuchert 88'), Ingvartsen - Awoniyi (Ryerson 83')
Subs: Karius, Gogia, Bülter, Maciejewski, Endo, Gießelmann
Out: Gentner (muscular), Kruse (thigh), Pohjanpalo (ankle), Schlotterbeck (thigh), Ujah (knee)
Coach: Urs Fischer
Watch: Ingvartsen: "We have to keep our rhythm going"