1. FC Union Berlin beat RB Leipzig 2-1 at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei to move into the top four of the Bundesliga.
Timo Baumgartl set up Taiwo Awoniyi for the opener after six minutes before the centre back struck the winner himself on 57 minutes.
1. FC Union Berlin: Luthe, Ryerson, Gießelmann, Baumgartl, Knoche, Friedrich; Prömel, Khedira, Kruse (Haraguchi 71); Becker (Voglsammer 78), Awoniyi (Behrens 78)
RB Leipzig: Gulacsi, Angelino, Adams, Klostermann (Simakan 69), Szoboszlai (Brobbey 77), Nkunku, Mukiele, Laimer (Kampl 69), Gvardiol, Silva, Henrichs (Forsberg 63)
Marco Kurth led the Leipzig party to Köpenick with Achim Beierlorzer and Jesse Marsch at home following an outbreak of coronavirus at the club this week. Goalkeeper Andreas Luthe added purple to the usual Union colours for the night as he campaigned alongside International Disability Day for 2021. With Genki Haraguchi starting from the bench, Max Kruse dropped back into the midfield with Sheraldo Becker leading the line alongside Awoniyi. After a gruelling week (Haifa and Frankfurt), Urs Fischer’s squad had a chance to refuel and prepare for a match in front of 13,506 fans at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei. As soon as referee Harm Osmers blew the whistle in freezing conditions, Union had a spring in their step. A corner kick was met by Timo Baumgartl before Awoniyi bundled past Peter Gulacsi at the back stick to give Union a lead after just six minutes. That lead should have been extended as Leipzig faced a relative onslaught in Köpenick. On 11 minutes, Becker broke the offside trap, crossed for Awoniyi who couldn’t turn home, while Kruse prodded wide with the goal glaring. Football often has a habit of punishing you when chances aren’t converted – and Leipzig were able to equalise less than two minutes later. Nkunku carried the ball forward a few yards before battering a shot past Luthe from around 30 yards out. Dominik Szobolszai volleyed wide from distance four minutes later as Leipzig appeared to settle into the game. With Nkunku, Andre Silva and Szobolszai in the most advanced positions for the away side, there was no shortage of quality. But Union weren’t fazed and played on the front foot both offensively and defensively. Max Kruse’s chipped ball into the area on 33 minutes found Awoniyi who was beaten to the ball by Gulacsi in the vicinity of the penalty spot. By the last five minutes of football, Union may have felt they could have been 3-1 to the good instead of locked at 1-1. Meanwhile, Leipzig finished the first half with the last clear sight at goal as Andre Silva headed over from about four yards from Luthe’s goal.
Rani Khedira had diverted the ball into the net on 51 minutes but referee Harm Osmers adjudged a foul against Leipzig’s goalkeeper. A rapid counter from Union would eventually put Leipzig on the back foot with Nordi Mukiele intervening against Becker. It was a fantastic training ground corner which led to Union’s eventual winner. Niko Gießelmann picked out the run of Kruse who forced a save from Gulacsi; the ball landing as far as Baumgartl who bundled home from a few yards out. A chance fell for Awoniyi on 63 minutes but the Super Eagle headed wide. Haraguchi took the place of Kruse on 71 minutes with Union in control of the match. The visitors went through the array of attacking options on the bench including Emil Forsberg and Kevin Kampl. Luthe’s growing influence at commanding the Union box eased the pressure which came from Leipzig at times in the second half. Becker and Awoniyi were given the last 10 minutes to get some heat back as the temperatures dropped with Andreas Voglsammer and Kevin Behrens coming on. As the game entered the last 10 minutes, there only looked like one winner. Union pushed and pushed but were unable to add a third or fourth goal to end the contest. Julian Ryerson was in inspired form as he split the Leipzig defence with a great pass for Haraguchi but the midfielder struck wide on 81 minutes. Ryerson delivered a telling cross for Behrens but Gulacsi kept his side alive. An open strike at goal fell for Niko Gießelmann and Ryerson again himself and somehow the gap remained at one. Union managed to take full control of the final exchanges and three points against Leipzig pushes the Köpenick club further up the Bundesliga table – at least temporarily.