Union Berlin is slowly saying goodbye to the Bundesliga championship race. The 1-1 (0-0) draw at VfL Wolfsburg on Sunday evening was the fourth league game in a row without a win. The surprise team this season is also only in a Champions League place because they have the better goal difference than SC Freiburg, who are fifth in the table with the same points.
In front of 23,554 spectators in the Volkswagen Arena, even one point was rather happy from a Berlin point of view. And that despite the fact that Union took the lead in the 72nd minute after a penalty kick by Josip Juranovic and Patrick Wimmer equalized only six minutes before the end (84th). Because seen over the whole game, VfL missed several good chances, as they did a week ago in the 2-2 win against Eintracht Frankfurt.
In the 15th minute, a free kick from Mattias Svanberg hit the crossbar. Just a minute later, Union goalkeeper Frederik Rönnow parried a shot by Kilian Fischer (16'), who had broken through on his right side. Shortly before half-time, Omar Marmoush ran all by himself towards the Danish keeper (45'). But the Egyptian shot wide of the target. In the second half, the VfL striker missed two more good chances (59th/76th).
Wolfsburg coach Niko Kovac was right in his assessment: The strong VfL actually looked fresher and more dynamic than their opponent because Union was between two Europa League games on Sunday evening. The first game against Saint-Gilloise only took place on Thursday evening in Berlin (3:3). The second leg in Belgium follows exactly one week later.
How great the respect for the Unioners was, was shown by the key personalities in Wolfsburg that evening. For the first time in 23 months, VfL played a Bundesliga game without their suspended captain Maximilian Arnold. However, Kovac did not replace the central defensive midfielder from the right position, but deployed two security forces in front of the defense in Josuha Guilavogui and Felix Nmecha.
Since Union also likes to condense the center, a predominantly balanced game developed with many duels and little space gains. The only difference between the two teams was: Union only needed a clear chance to score, VfL half a dozen.
And so a Wolfsburg pattern emerged again: For the fifth time in the new year, VfL played against one of the top six teams in the Bundesliga. And for the third time they remained without a win despite a clear increase in chances. The wolves missed the hoped-for jump to seventh place, which might be enough for a place in the Conference League at the end of the season.
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