1. FC Union Berlin fell to a 2-1 defeat at home to Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga.
The first of three VAR interventions of the opening 45 minutes, Davy Klaassen's penalty was confirmed by referee Tobias Welz and the Dutch captain after five minutes. Union were given a lifeline after Welz awarded a penalty for handball following VAR consultation and Sebastian Andersson made it three goals in three games.
Rafal Gikiewicz kept his side level with a penalty save in the second half but Niklas Füllkrug headed in the winner on 55 minutes from the resulting corner.
A tussle in stoppage time saw second yellow cards for Nuri Sahin and Neven Subotic as the match ended 10 men apiece.
1. FC Union Berlin: Gikiewicz; Trimmel, Friedrich, Subotic, Lenz; Gentner (Abdullahi 85), Andrich; Bülter, Becker (Gogia 67); Andersson, Ujah (Polter 65)
Werder Bremen: Pavlenka; Friedl, Groß, Gebre Selassie, Lang; J. Eggestein (Pizarro 85), Sahin, Klaassen, Osako (Sargent 68); Bittencourt (Goller 89), Füllkrug
Christian Gentner’s return to the Union midfield was the single change to the side, which ran out 3-1 winners against Borussia Dortmund, a fortnight ago. Florian Kohlfeldt’s squad has been decimated in recent days and weeks through injury, but the Werder coach was able to hand a debut to new signing Leo Bittencourt. Werder Bremen stepped into the ascendency after two minutes when Davy Klaassen hit the deck after a clash inside the penalty box. Following a near three-minute wait, referee Tobias Welz confirmed his decision and the Werder captain struck into the net. The interruption halted the flow to the match, but Union received a VAR present themselves when a penalty was awarded for handball in the 14th minute. Andersson stepped up and sent Jiri Pavlenka the wrong way to level the scores. Despite the VAR intervention midway through the half, Welz resisted pressure from the Bremen players to punish Neven Subotic after the ball struck his hand in the box. From open play, clear opportunities were fairly limited for both teams, although the visitors dominated the ball for longer periods. With three minutes before the break, Anthony Ujah ran clear of Marco Friedl but his volleyed effort on goal was a metre off target.
The same 22 players returned for the second period at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei. Marvin Friedrich’s header on 48 minutes came from a set-play move, but the defender’s effort lacked the requisite power to threaten. On 54 minutes, The referee awarded Werder their second penalty after Christopher Trimmel tugged back Gebre Selassie just a few yards away from goal. However, Gikiewicz held his nerve to protect the scoreline and keep out Klaassen’s penalty kick. Werder took full advantage from the resulting corner kick with Füllkrug heading past the Union goalkeeper from the near post. Sebastian Polter and Akaki Gogia were used from the bench as Fischer’s men looked to pile on the pressure in the final quarter of an hour. Pavlenka’s handling was strong from a few dangerous crosses into the penalty box, whilst Andersson missed a good chance in the final minutes after a cross from Gogia. An action-packed encounter ended on a spicy note with a tackle from Subotic on Claudio Pizarro resulting in a second yellow for the Union defender. In the follow-up tussle, Nuri Sahin was shown his marching orders for a second caution. Despite playing the ball into the box often enough during the six minutes of additional time, Werder Bremen saw the game out and held on to their lead.
Union return to the road next week with Fischer's team heading to the BayArena to take on Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday September 21 at 15:30.