Fortuna Düsseldorf vs 1. FC Union Berlin
German 2. Bundesliga, 5. Matchday
Düsseldorf vs 1. FC Union
German 2. Bundesliga, 5. Matchday
Union go down in Düsseldorf to late Neuhaus winner
Union Berlin suffered defeat for the first time this season, losing 3-2 to Fortuna Düsseldorf who prevailed in stoppage time at the ESPRIT Arena.
It looked as though a superb second-half performance from Jens Keller’s side would be rewarded, but Florian Neuhaus’ strike made sure the points remained in Düsseldorf.
The toughest opponent so far, Fortuna Düsseldorf showed why they have promotion ambitions for this term. The home side placed Jakob Busk’s goal under constant assault in the early exchanges with Rouwen Hennings and Belgian attacker Benito Raman causing a particular threat. The opener came on 18 minutes with Marcel Sobottka rifling home from the edge of the penalty box.
Keller’s team remained second best in challenges, whilst struggling to contain the speed and mobility of Raman. Busk and his back-four defended with a real determination to keep Union’s head above water ahead of the interval.
The Union coach may have had a word-or-two to say at the break, and it seemed to have the desired effect. Damir Kreilach’s pressing and passing helped the Köpenick club pin down the team from Nordrhein-Westfalen, with only one team likely to score as the clock approached the hour mark.
On 69 minutes, fan favourite Kreilach powered above his marker inside the penalty box and headed in Christopher Trimmel’s corner kick. After signing from Schalke this week, Japanese right-back Atsuto Uchida made his debut in Union colours, coming off the bench with a quarter of an hour left.
A player with Bundesliga, Champions League and international quality, Uchida affected the game, shuttling down the right wing before Düsseldorf’s Kaan Ayhan turned the ball into his own net. Following a highly demanding first half in the ESPRIT Arena, Union Berlin were in the driving seat with the best part of 10 minutes remaining.
Instead, euphoria turned into frustration when a long throw landed at the feet of Takashi Usami, the former Bayern and Augsburg player, who shot home from distance. The hosts left the stadium happier following midfield strategist Neuhaus’ 92nd-minute winner for Friedhelm Funkel’s side.
“Congratulations to Funkel and his team, but we are hurt by the defeat,” Keller explained post match. “We weren’t in the game for the first half and didn’t do enough. We did not dominate the duels. We actually should have taken the lead with Polter, but instead found ourselves 0-1 down. We came out of the changing room after the break and exerted a lot of pressure, with the game under control. We then make too many individual mistakes, so it is very annoying that we are not taking anything today. A point would have been deserved based on the second half, but we're going home empty-handed.”
There is little time to ponder what may have been, however, with Torsten Lieberknecht’s Eintracht Braunschweig coming to the Stadion An der Alten Försterei on Friday (18:30).
Early six-pointer as Union visit Fortuna Düsseldorf
Union Berlin travel to the ESPRIT Arena in Düsseldorf on Sunday September 10 (13:30), looking to protect their unbeaten record in the 2.Bundesliga this season.
The Köpenick club have been held to two successive draws lately, while Düsseldorf have won three from four.
“I’m always optimistic,” beamed Jens Keller, the head coach of Union. “Düsseldorf has a superb team. They have strengthened their staff and recruited some players of high quality. That’s why Sunday will be a hard game for us. As you can see, Fortuna has made a good start to the campaign and has picked up all the necessary confidence.”
Both with ambitions of promotion, Union and Düsseldorf have made unbeaten starts to the season. The hosts, champions of Germany in 1933, have been in the second tier since 2013, but still remain a respected traditional club. Friedhelm Funkel has added extra quality to the squad this summer: Florian Neuhaus has arrived from Borussia Mönchengladbach on loan, likewise Benito Raman from Standard Liege. Rouwen Hennings and Havard Nielsen have made permanent transfers from Burnley and Freiburg, respectively.
“It will be a difficult task against a strong team that has stayed together and strengthened well,” Funkel said of Union Berlin. “As far as team development and unity of unity are concerned, the Union is one step ahead of us. We must pushourselves to our limits in order to stand up to Union. We want to stay in front of Union and also make our third home game look good. We won't play better just because we're the leader of the standings, but the self-confidence is already increasing the situation. We're now system-flexible, so we can change over in the game and adapt one or two of them."
Keller will likely need to do without Torrejon (calf) and Skrzybski (Achillies), but Toni Leistner and Akaki Gogia are available after returning to full fitness this week. Despite more than 22,000 tickets being sold for Sunday, there are still briefs available in both the home and away sections. More than 1,000 fans from Berlin will make the journey to Nordrhein-Westfalen for the 13:30 kick off.