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Bayer 04 Leverkusen vs 1. FC Union Berlin

German DFB Pokal, 2. Matchday

Leverkusen vs 1. FC Union

German DFB Pokal, 2. Matchday

Tue., 24. October 2017, 18:30 Uhr
4 : 1

Leverkusen's class shines through against battling Union

Match report

Despite a determined display from a much-changed Union Berlin, the 2.Bundesliga club went down 4-1 to Bayer Leverkusen in the second round of the DFB Pokal. Dennis Daube levelled the scores after half-time, but the home side’s Champions League quality stood out with two late goals to kill the game.

Jens Keller turned to his rotation policy as promised with Christopher Trimmel and Simon Hedlund the only two remaining from Saturday’s 3-1 win over Greuther Fürth.

After kick off was delayed by five minutes to ease the traffic problems around the stadium, Union started positively in search of an early breakthrough. Union’s central three closed off spaces in front of the back four and made life uncomfortable for Leverkusen in the build-up phase.

At the other end, change keeper Daniel Mesenhöler was on form to keep out an excellent shot from Admir Mehmedi in the 22nd minute. But the former 1.FC Köln goalkeeper could do nothing to stop Julian Brandt from pinging a superb strike into the net after 36 minutes. Union remained under pressure until the break, but kept the game alive.

Backed by around 3,500 away fans, Union’s patience and hard work was rewarded almost immediately after the restart. Damir Kreilach ambitiously clipped the ball in behind the Leverkusen defence and Daube finished off. The visitors were cheered on to get the second, but were left a little open at the back as a result with Lucas Alario scoring after 58 minutes.

Kreilach almost set up a thrilling final half hour when his free kick crashed against Bernd Leno’s crossbar in front of the Union supporters. Substitutes Marcel Hartel and Sebastian Polter threatened Leno’s goal more, but Leverkusen went on to grab a third from the penalty spot in the closing stages. Charles Aranguiz netted a fourth in the 91st minute, while Stephan Fürstner was shown his second yellow card to leave Union down to 10.

“Congratulations to Bayer Leverkusen on reaching the next round. We would have liked to have earned this ourselves, and due to the second half, it might not have been so undeserved. We weren’t so good at the beginning, but dominated in the second half. The referee had a unique opinion on the penalty kick, but after 3-1, it was over. Nevertheless, I’m very satisfied with the performance," said Keller at the post-game press conference.

After Union return to Berlin on Wednesday, it is back west at the weekend to take on MSV Duisburg (13:30 kick off) at the Schauinsland-Reisen Arena.

Cup Test: Union face Bundesliga stalwarts Bayer Leverkusen

Match preview

After an impressive run of games in the second division, Union Berlin have the opportunity to test themselves in the DFB Pokal against Bayer Leverkusen.

More than 3,000 fans from Köpenick and Berlin will head to Nordrhein-Westfalen, hoping to book a place in the last 16 of the cup.

While Union are understandably in confident mood, Leverkusen are similarly bullish about their recent form. Heiko Herrlich’s star-studded side bounced back from a 1-0 deficit to thrash Borussia Mönchengladbach 5-1 on the road at the weekend. Union’s 3-1 win over Greuther Fürth was similarly dominant, but the challenge on Tuesday will be another level.

“There are no B teams – we have good players,” emphasized coach Jens Keller, who will ring a couple of changes to bring some freshness after a demanding few weeks. Atsuto Uchida and Kenny Redondo are still injured, while Kristian Pedersen could return after missing the win over Fürth.

“Leverkusen is a top team. We have to perform well above ourselves,” said Keller. Union are no stranger to similar DFB Pokal experiences, taking on Borussia Dortmund in the same round last season. Leverkusen, meanwhile, went down 3-1 in the tournament last term at the hands of Werder Bremen in the quarterfinal.

Keller and his team will be supported by a tremendous away support, with hundreds of fans heading via a special train, organised by the Eisernen Virus e.V. fan organisation. Departure is scheduled for 09:43 from Berlin-Lichtenberg station, while subject to delay, the return leg is planned for 21:07 at Leverkusen station.

Stadium gates will open at 16:30, with tickets still available for the home and away sections via the Leverkusen box office. Our portable merchandising van will be on site with a range of club items, as well as, the special cup collection ahead of the Leverkusen clash.

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Bayer 04 Leverkusen vs 1. FC Union Berlin

1 Yellow Cards 3
0 Yellow-Red Cards 1
0 Red Cards 0

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