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1. FC Union Berlin vs SV Werder Bremen

Bundesliga, 26. Matchday

1. FC Union vs Bremen

Bundesliga, 26. Matchday

Sat., 16. March 2024, 15:30 Uhr
An der Alten Försterei
2 : 1
22.012
SR: Daniel Schlager

Vertessen and Aaronson Strike

Match report

Union beat Werder Bremen 2-0 on Saturday afternoon, coming out on tops of a real battle of a game with two early second half goals in two wild minutes from Yorbe Vertessen and Brenden Aaronson.

1. FC Union Berlin: Rönnow – Trimmel, Doekhi, Vogt, Leite, Gosens (85. Roussillon) – Tousart (85. Král), Khedira, Aaronson (78. Laïdouni) – Vertessen (67. Hollerbach), Kaufmann (67. Volland)

SV Werder Bremen: Zetterer – Malatini (86. Keita), Veljkovic, Jung – Weiser, Lynen (63. Bittencourt), Stage (76. Alvero), Deman (63. Agu) – Woltemade, Ducksch, Njinmah (76. Kownacki)

The starting XI

If Nenad Bjelica had a couple of surprises up his sleeve in his starting line-up, they weren’t to be seen at the back, where Frederik Rönnow was behind his favoured three of Diogo Leite, Kevin Vogt and Diogo Leite. To Leite’s side, on the left, was Robin Gosens while opposite was, in one his now rarer starts, the superb skipper Christopher Trimmel.

Rani Khedira and Lucas Tousart would anchor the midfield, while Brenden Aaronson returned to the starting eleven in place of the suspended Andras Schäfer.

It was up top though that would cause the biggest raising of eyebrows, as Yorbe Vertessen made his third start since signing from PSV in the winter alongside Mikkel Kaufmann, making only his second.

Attendance: 22,012
Goals: 1:0 Vertessen (50.), 2:0 Aaronson (52.), 2:1 Weiser (63.)

A battle on both sides, six yellow cards, and no goals

At the end of a superb win, Christopher Trimmel, who barely looked like he’d run half a marathon at all, was sober in his assessment of a superb win over tough opponents. “It's important for us,” he said, “to put some distance between ourselves and our direct rivals… so it was a very important game today. We're seeing a good development because it hasn't been an easy situation in recent months, but we're on the right track."

But if he was clam and focussed, the Unioner in the stands were the opposite. They had started the day with a gorgeous, intricate Tifo ran the length of the Waldseite at kick off, the greens of the forest the backdrop to the Müggelsee, the Strassenbahn and a beaming Hauptmann of Köpenick draped over the stadium, one hand holding a beer, the other clenched into a fist. It was a celebration of home from fans that treasure just that more than many. “The best club, in the most beautiful district,” it read.

They would end the day, singing their heroes to the heavens.

Things, though, weren’t altogether as pretty on the pitch initially. Julian Malatini caught Vertessen early on, leaving a brown gouge ripped out of the lush new pitch of the Alte Försterei. But Union were pressing high and hard, Aaronson eager to join Vertessen and Kaufmann up top, Khedira and Tousart behind them snapping into tackles – the latter making a well-timed intervention from Justin Njimah’s cross, before it could pose a threat. The superb Gosens and Trimmel were high up their respective flanks, providing width and intent. They combined when the skipper whipped in a wicked ball towards the back post with ten minutes played that was snuffed out just before it could reach Gosens, arriving ominously at the back post.

Union were seeing more and more of the ball as the half went on, and Bremen’s play was littered with little mistakes, Olivier Deman’s back pass to Michael Zetterer that ended up with an Union corner being a particular case in point. But they hadn’t carved out a real chance as 20 minutes were up, and it was Bremen, through Mitchell Weiser, suddenly free, who had the first chance, but his shot took a vital clip of Doekhi’s boot and rolled out off the foot of the post for a corner. Rönnow held it easily when it came in.

Aaronson, a whirling dervish, tricked his way past Jens Stage on the edge of the Bremen box, then danced past Weiser and Senne Lynen before getting pulled down before he could reach the 18-yard-box. Gosens then beat Weiser all ends up and hit a lovely, swinging ball in from the left that Zetterer claimed ahead of the sprinting Vertessen. Kaufmann made up for a heavy touch with a superb tackle on Njinmah.

As the referee ignored Aaronson’s pleas when he was brought down on the edge of the box, he too waved away more as Lynen cracked Khedira’s ankle with what looked like a stonewall yellow card offence. It wasn’t the worst thing the Belgian had done, having scored the only goal for Saint Gilloise when they came here in the Europa League last year, but that wouldn’t exactly mollify the now livid Unioner, howling in the stands.

He was still busy enough, dishing out six yellow cards - three a piece - in the first half alone.

The game, meanwhile, was compelling if not overly dramatic. Marvin Ducksch ballooned one over the bar as the guests broke with five minutes of the half to play; Rönnow raced out of his box for the second time to clear ahead of an onrushing Njimah, while at the other end Kaufmann was a whisker away from putting Vertessen through on goal and Aaronson hit a superb, dipping volley, that needed a fingertip from Zetterer to flick over the bar. Tousart’s header from the ensuing corner dropped agonisingly over the other corner, but the whistle came almost immediately after.

Vertessen strikes. Aaronson doubles it.

Following a brief break in play as green and black smoke bellowed out of the away end, and a couple of rockets crackled onto the pitch, Union would take the lead. It was as if they had taken the break as an affront. Aaronson burst into the box, was tripped but the ball ran to Gosens. Following Lynen’s intervention, the ball fell invitingly for Vertessen who rifled his shot into the roof of the net with barely concealed violence. It was his first league goal for the club, and what a strike it was.

Union’s lead would be doubled within minutes, as Aaronson found space in the middle this time, having exchanged a one-two with Vertessen, taking a touch and giving Zetterer no chance with a clinical finish. He had been superb, and the goal was the crowning that his performance deserved.

Union had their tails up, and with the sun in Zetterer’s eyes now as it burst through the corner between the Waldseite and the main stand, Bremen centre-back Anthony Jung caused panic as his back-pass rolled past the keeper and almost over the line.

What Bremen could throw at Union, Rönnow was more than equal to. He held Weiser’s speculative cross / shot under his bar with utter, almost derisive calm, just as he had been doing all day. Which added all the more to the stunned look on his face as, out of nowhere Weiser nipped in front of him to bring Bremen back into the game with an hour played, heading home a corner.

Union roared back at them, stung by the goal. As Weiser lay prone in the box, Gosens set up Kaufmann. He played on, but as if distracted by the body lying there, couldn’t apply the finishing touch. Gosens ran back to the halfway line his hand on his forehead, knowing it was a chance not taken. Tousart then burst past Weiser, but his shot was saved by Zetterer’s outstretched foot when he seemed certain to score.

Bjelica soon brought on Kevin Volland and Benedict Hollerbach for the tiring strike-pair, a like-for-like swap. Aaronson set the former off down into the inside left channel while the latter loomed in the box, but the ball never got that far. Then, with just over ten minutes to play, Aïssa Laïdouni came on - his first time on the pitch since the win over Hoffenheim that saw Aaronson’s first goal - replacing the American, having had his best game for the club since his arrival. It took a superbly timed challenge from Leonardo Bittencourt to stop him in his tracks as the midfielder already looked to make a difference, having managed to hold off two men on his own left wing within moments of his arrivan.

Bremen threw everything they had at Union in the dying minutes, even before they saw that there would be eight of them added on, Zetterer stepped up to his own halfway line, but they were playing a dangerous game and Union almost caught them out when Trimmel hit a first-time clearance, 50 yards, bending into the path of Hollerbach.Vogt signalled to his teammates to push up, to not let themselves get pegged back, but he and Leite and Doekhi were equal to everything that came their way anyway, and it was still Union that posed the greater threat on goal, such as when Laidouni tried to slip Volland in with a ball he only slightly overhit.

But the final moment of joy, the defining one of a battling game, was when Trimmel chased down Marvin Ducksch with remarkable pace for a 37-year-old who’d played the whole game, yet utterly unremarkable will for anyone who knows the man. He’d have done it again and again if he had to.

Union Back in Bundesliga Business with Bremen

Match preview

Next Saturday, 16.03.2024, 1. FC Union Berlin will welcome SV Werder Bremen for the 26th Bundesliga matchday. Kick off in the Stadion An der Alten Försterei is at 15:30.

The lie of the land

Bremen lost 2-1 at home to fourth-placed Dortmund at the Weserstadion last weekend having only won four of their nine games since the turn of the year, and now making the side from the Weser without a win in three. The Green-Whites celebrated their last success on matchday 22 with a 1-0 away win against 1. FC Köln back in mid-February.

Union have also been without a win for three matches, having previously gone unbeaten for the previous four, with two draws and two wins. Last weekend, they lost 2-0 away at VfB Stuttgart.

The opponents

Bremen are currently tenth in the table with 30 points. With 25 matches played so far, they have won eight, lost eleven and drawn six, scoring 34 goals, and conceding 39.
In front of goal the most dangerous Bremen player this season has been their number seven, Marvin Ducksch, with 15 goals in 25 games, making the Dortmund native directly involved in just under half of all Bremen’s goals. But while Ducksch will likely be in action on Saturday, in addition to the three defenders Marco Friedl, Amos Pieper and Niklas Stark, who are missing through injury, the SVW coach will also have to do without midfielder Romano Schmid who picked up his fifth yellow card against BVB on Sunday.

The reunion

Although there are no active players with a Berlin past in the current Bremen squad, assistant-coach Marie-Louise Eta played 84 times for the club. There will also be a familiar face on the opposition bench in the shape of assistant coach Patrick Kohlmann – the German-Irish left-back - who, between 2008 and 2014 made 175 appearances for Union.

The head to head

Saturday’s match will be the ninth between the sides, Union having won five of the previous eight, while the remaining three, including a first-round battering in the cup in 2010, and the most recent game, last year, were won by Bremen.

Personnel

Union head coach Nenad Bjelica will be without András Schäfer due to suspension, while Janik Haberer is also missing through injury.

The coaches’ views ahead of the game

"Werder Bremen have put in some great performances away from home in recent months,” said Bjelica during his regular press conference on Thursday afternoon. “In addition, they have improved a lot offensively and have also remained stable defensively. It will be a difficult task, but we believe we can show our strengths again in front of our fans and come away with three points at the end."

His opposite number, Werner, meanwhile had this to say. "Union defend extremely well and don't concede much. They've found their strengths again with set pieces. To win on Saturday, we need a cohesive team performance."

Service information

As usual, the Stadion An der Alten Försterei opens two hours before kick-off and is sold out in all areas.

The match will be broadcast live on Sky and there will also be an audio stream on rbb24 Inforadio and rbb24. As usual, Union will also provide information about the match via the club's own live ticker, as well as in English and Spanish on Twitter

AFTV Videos

Brenden Aaronson

Brenden Aaronson

was Player of the Day for the last time against Bremen

Brenden Aaronson

was Player of the Day against Bremen

MatchStatistics

1. FC Union Berlin vs SV Werder Bremen

49 % Possession 51 %
78 % Pass Completion Rate 74 %
46 % Successful Tackle Rate 54 %
11 Shots on Goal 11
12 Crosses 14
3 Yellow Cards 5
0 Yellow-Red Cards 0
0 Red Cards 0

Last match

Date Home Result Away