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Borussia Mönchengladbach vs 1. FC Union Berlin

Bundesliga, 31. Matchday

M'gladbach vs 1. FC Union

Bundesliga, 31. Matchday

Sun., 28. April 2024, 15:30 Uhr
0 : 0
SR: Sascha Stegemann

Union Fight for a Point in Gladbach

Match report

1. FC Union Berlin played out a goalless draw away  - and with it taking a vital point - against Borussia Mönchengladbach on Sunday afternoon, where only the woodwork kept them, and particularly Kevin Volland who hit it twice, from victory.

1. FC Union Berlin:Rönnow – Juranović (86. Trimmel), Doekhi, Vogt (46. Knoche), Leite, Gosens – Tousart, Khedira, Aaronson (74. Hollerbach) – Volland (86. Kaufmann), Vertessen (46. Schäfer) 
Borussia Mönchengladbach: Nicolas – Friedrich, Elvedi, Chairodia (79. Koné) – Lainer (66. Netz), Reitz, Itakura, Scally – Cvancara (66. N’Goumou), Pléa (88. Siebatcheu), Hack (79. Honorat) 

The starting XI

Nenad Bjelica had resisted the urge to make full-scale changes following last week’s 5-1 loss to FC Bayern, starting with Frederik Rönnow, as ever in goal. He was behind Bjelica’s usual back three of Diogo Leite, Kevin Vogt and Danilho Doekhi, with Josip Juranović returning to the starting eleven on the right, while Robin Gosens continued on the left.

In the centre of midfield, Rani Khedira was paired alongside Lucas Tousart; up front was the dynamic looking trident of Brenden Aaronson, Yorbe Vertessen and Kevin Volland.

Attendance: 53.723 

Volland hits the bar, but a tense half remains goalless

The first half started off in a haze of smoke, the midfield already a mess of players in this biggest of games for both sides, Khedira challenging Lainer in a sure sign of the battle to come. Aaronson was dropping back; Volland with the first shot on goal, if his effort from out on the right was held easily by Nicolas in the Gladbach goal.

But almost immediately after Alassane Plea was breaking the other way, the pressure from the onrushing Khedira enough to cause him to scuff his shot straight at Rönnow. Plea was finding pockets of space, and it took a well-timed intervention from Leite to stop his next run through the middle after eight minutes.

Union’s determination to play short passes between themselves almost saw them run into danger at the back, as Leite and Gosens worked their way out of the tightest of spaces down Union’s right, but it also showed their confidence on the ball, the lack of fear that Nenad Bjelica had said they’d need in a game that saw both sides fighting for their lives.

Ultimately, their's was a plan that worked out well. 

Rönnow held Tomas Cvancara’s shot from the edge of the box well after quarter of an hour; Vogt did well to get in ahead of Plea as he drifted out left a minute later, while at the other end Nico Elvedi made a superb block on Vertessen as he threatened. Leite once again tackled Cvancara with the minimum of fuss under pressure, and Ko Itakura shot over as the game swung one way, and then the other.

The first big chance, however, fell to Volland who crashed the ball off the bar with a wonderful, dipping, swerving strike after 24 minutes, having beaten Nicolas all ends up. He was drifting left and right, and his next moment was a lovely touch out on the left as Union were getting more and more into the game. Aaronson saw his 35th minute shot from 35 yards saved by Nicolas to his right.

But they had to be careful. Stefan Lainer suddenly found himself free on the inside right, but chose to cross to no-one – Vogt chested it back to Rönnow harmlessly – instead of taking on the chance. Cvancara barged Leite off the ball before crossing to Plea, but he scuffed at the shot, it coming eventually to Joseph Scally who shot over when he could have done better.

Union came back. Vertessen saw his shot gobbled up by Nicolas under pressure from Elvedi; Tousart’s cross was then deflected back to the keeper off a stray, lunging Gladbach boot. The superb Doekhi, meanwhile, came together with Lainer as the half wore down and both sides strove to get their noses ahead in front in the toughest of games.  Vogt would get a yellow for a pull back on Cvancara with only a minute of normal time to be played of the half. Itakura volleyed the free kick into the ground and over the bar.

Volland hits the post, but the game remains goalless

Bjelica made two changes immediately at the break, bringing on Robin Knoche and Andras Schäfer for Vogt and Vertessen, but it was Lainer who made the first decisive move, getting a yellow card for his late, knee-high challenge on Aaronson before the refere had chance to take breath. He wasn’t alone. Rani Khedira joined him in the book a minute later.

Though the goals were still not forthcoming, there were suddenly chances at both ends. It was pulsating stuff, a superb clash.

And it was Nicolas who made the greater impression, his diving stop enough to fingertip Gosens’ brilliant shot from the edge of the box over the bar. Tousart followed it up a minute later with a screamer that flew wide by millimetres. Union were throwing everything at their hosts. Tousart, superb all game long, saw his bullet header stopped by Nicolas as it seemed certain to fly in. With 20 minutes to play he also saw a left footed shot deflected out for a corner.

Though Cvancara saw his own header held happily in the safe hands of Rönnow, Union could do everything but score, and Volland hit the near post after Elvedi’s mistake under pressure from Schäfer left the striker open, if at the tightest of angles, and the atmosphere in the Borussia Park crackled, the Unioner in their corner never giving up, even as Schäfer skied his shot when clear in front of goal following Touart’s flat ball across the box.

Even as their former hero, Marvin Friedrich saw his own shot fly just over the bar at the other end, and substitute, Nathan Ngoumou’s, shot cannoned off Doekhi away for a corner with ten minutes to play.

Just as they held their collective breath for the shortest of seconds as Franck Honorat was an inch away from heading home.

Bjelica made his final changes with a couple of minutes to go, Christopher Trimmel and Mikkel Kaufmann replacing Juranović and Volland.

As the three minutes of time added on started to disappear, Union pushed on nonetheless. Kaufmann flashed at a header from Hollerbach’s cross, before Kaufmann couldn’t get hold of a shot from 25 yards, and at the other end it took Knoche to block Ngoumou’s shot.

Freddie Rönnow made the last decisive move from Friedrich’s header, pouncing to his right, but that was that. Union had won an important point; the tension, somehow relieved, but also somehow raised as the Unioner looked to next week’s home match against Bochum.

Bjelica called his side's courageous performance, "a sign of life", while Volland, too, was happy with the way his side played, only rueing the damned woodwork, saying, “We can be satisfied with the second half. What we can't be so satisfied with is our chance conversion. If we become more efficient in that respect, we'd have probably picked up three points here today. Ultimately, we were often able to put Gladbach under pressure and played a good game overall.”

But one thing was certain. The point was huge.

Union Travel to Mönchengladbach

Match preview

On Sunday, 28.04.2024, 1. FC Union Berlin will face Borussia Mönchengladbach in the 31st matchday of the Bundesliga season. Kick off in Borussia Park is at 15:30.

The lie of the land

In a thrilling match last Saturday, coach Gerardo Seoane's team lost 4-3 to TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. After trailing twice, through Robin Hack’s hattrick, Borussia equalised in the 89th minute to make it 3-3. However, Anton Stach scored the winner for the hosts just one minute later to seal the win for the guests. 

That same evening, Union welcomed record champions Bayern München to the Stadion An der Alten Försterei and were beaten 5-1.

The opponents

Gladbach are currently twelfth in the table, on 31 points from seven wins, ten draws and 13 defeats.

Statistically speaking, Franck Honorat is the Foals' top attacking player so far this season, with the Frenchman excelling primarily as a provider. He has set up his teammates eleven times in the league and scored three times himself. One of his greatest beneficiaries is the home grown Rocco Reitz, who is also having a strong season with six goals and two further assists while Gladbach’s top scorer is Robin Hack with eight goals.

In the DFB Pokal, the team from the Lower Rhine made it as far as the quarter-finals, where they were beaten 2-1 with a 93rd minute winner, by the underdogs and the cup’s surprise team, Saarbrücken.

The reunions

For Marvin Friedrich, the match means a reunion with his former club. The 28 year old defender made 141 appearances for Union across both the 2. Liga and Bundesliga.

Striker Jordan Siebatcheu will face his former and actual employer. Since his loan to Gladbach in the summer, he has scored five times in 22 games. However, the American-born striker is currently sidelined due to a muscle injury.

The head to head

The last time the sides met, back in December, Union came out 3-1 winners at the Alte Försterei with goals from Kevin Volland, Benedict Hollerbach and Mikkel Kaufmann. Alassane Plea scored the Foals’ only goal.

Union’s record against Sunday’s opponents makes for optimistic reading, having won six of their nine matches played. There have been two draws, while one game went the way of Gladbach.

The personnel

Head coach Nenad Bjelica will be without Jakob Busk and Jérôme Roussillon due to injury.

The coaches’ views ahead of the game

“Gladbach have very good attackers and like to play offensively,” said Union’s head coach, Nenad Bjelica, ahead of Sunday’s clash. “But even though they have almost twice as many goals as us, they are only two points ahead of us in the table. If we can get back to our defensive stability, we have a good chance of winning. Even after the game, we still have everything in our own hands. That also helps the lads, because they can travel to Gladbach with a certain amount of ease despite the difficult situation. We have to find a mixture of tension and relaxation there. If you're too tense, you block up and can't give your best performance.”

His opposite number, Seoane, also sees a tough day ahead. “After their bad start, Union have fought their way back. They are a very physical team that are very aggressive on the second balls and play with purpose. They have different player profiles in the team. They are a very unpleasant opponent.”

Service information

Union can look forward to playing in front of almost 2,800 travelling Union fans. All the relevant information about visiting the stadium can be found here (German).

The match will be broadcast live on DAZN 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 offering updates in English and Spanish on Twitter.

AFTV Videos

Frederik Rønnow

Frederik Rønnow

was Player of the Day for the last time against M'gladbach

Frederik Rønnow

was Player of the Day against M'gladbach


Borussia Mönchengladbach vs 1. FC Union Berlin

51 % Possession 49 %
76 % Pass Completion Rate 78 %
53 % Successful Tackle Rate 47 %
13 Shots on Goal 14
17 Crosses 15
2 Yellow Cards 2
0 Yellow-Red Cards 0
0 Red Cards 0

Last match

Date Home Result Away