bundesliga

Kevin Behrens sinks Werder Bremen to send Union Berlin second

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Kevin Behrens gave Union Berlin a 2-1 victory at Werder Bremen, a win that moves them up to second place and within three points of Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich.

Werder Bremen 1-2 Union Berlin
Goals: 1-0 Pieper 13' (assist: Ducksch), 1-1 Haberer 17', 1-2 Behrens 46' (assist: Juranovic)

Bremen will have been desperate to start on the front foot after the 7-1 humbling at the hands of Cologne. They got off to the perfect start when, in the 13th minute, Marvin Ducksch swung in a delightful free-kick that Amos Pieper headed beyond Frederik Ronnow with aplomb. However, they were soon pegged back as Union took advantage of a Bremen mix-up at the back, Janik Haberer tapping into an empty net after Behrens had intercepted Pieper's under-hit past. The hosts almost retook the lead when Leonardo Bittencourt hit the foot of the post despite being put under pressure by a defender and, shortly before the interval, Die Eisernen appeared to have taken the lead through Sheraldo Becker's stunning strike. However, the goal was ruled out following a VAR intervention as the ball hit Behrens' hand in the build-up, meaning the two sides went into the break on level terms.

The visitors didn't have to wait long to complete the turnaround, though. Within 60 seconds of the restart, debutant Josip Juranovic planted a cross right onto the head of Behrens, who made no mistake against his boyhood club. Despite moving ahead, Union were in no mood to rest on their laurels, and had opportunities via Becker and Niko Gießelmann to extend their advantage. As the game progressed, Union naturally moved deeper, but remained a threat on the counter-attack. Ole Werner's men, meanwhile, struggled to break down the visitors' organised defensive block, even after the manager introduced a trio of fresh faces with a little under 15 minutes left on the clock. Ultimately, Urs Fischer's team were able to see out the game with relative ease to cap off a superb first half of the campaign. Despite the defeat, Bremen remain comfortably in mid-table, although they will be eager to get their first points of 2023 as soon as possible.

Match stats

  • The opener was Pieper's first goal for Bremen since his move from Bochum in the summer, and just his second throughout his Bundesliga career to date.
  • Bremen have now lost each of their last four league matches, conceding 17 times during that run.
  • While the hosts were able to score their first goal against Union at home in the Bundesliga, they have now lost each of their three meetings at their own ground with the Berlin-based outfit in the top flight.
  • Behrens' effort was Union's 11th headed goal of the season - no other side has managed more than eight. Meanwhile, all three of Behrens' strikes this campaign have come with his head.
  • The win takes Union to 33 points, their best-ever total during the first half of the season either in the Bundesliga or Bundesliga 2.
  • Fischer's men have now lost just one of their 14 encounters with newly promoted sides in the top flight.

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Teams

Bremen: Pavlenka - Pieper (Veljkovic 77'), Stark, Friedl (c) - Weiser, Bittencourt, Gruev (Dinkci 88'), Schmidt (Stage 77'), Jung (Buchanan 71') - Füllkrug, Ducksch (Burke 77')
Unused Subs:
Zetterer, Groß, Chiarodia, Mbom
Out:
Agu (patella tendon), Schmid (knee)
Coach:
Ole Werner

Union: Ronnow - Doekhi, Knoche, Leite - Juranovic, Haraguchi (Seguin 73'), Khedira (c), Haberer (Schäfer 84'), Gießelmann (Roussillon 88') - Becker (Leweling 84'), Behrens (Jordan 73')
Unused Subs:
Grill, Jaeckel, Trimmel, Michel
Out:
Thorsby (operation)
Coach:
Urs Fischer