SC Freiburg vs 1. FC Union Berlin
Bundesliga, 22. Matchday
Freiburg vs 1. FC Union
Bundesliga, 22. Matchday
Prömel heads Union to Freiburg win
1. FC Union Berlin won in the Bundesliga for the first time in five as Grischa Prömel headed Urs Fischer's side to a 1-0 win at the Schwarzwald-Stadion in Freiburg.
The midfielder put the Köpenick club ahead after 71 minutes, heading in Marcus Ingvartsen's cross from close range. After a dominant performance, the goal lifted Union even further and Fischer's side were never in doubt despite the home side exerting some pressure into stoppage time.
Freiburg: Müller; Günther, Gulde (Schlotterbeck 68), Lienhart, Höfler; Santamaria, Haberer (Heintz 45); Grifo (Sallai 63) Schmid; Höler (Jeong 63), Petersen (Demirovic 63)
1. FC Union Berlin: Karius; Trimmel, Schlotterbeck, Friedrich, Knoche, Lenz (Gießelmann 83); Andrich, Prömel (Griesbeck 90); Ingvartsen, Pohjanpalo (Musa 68), Bülter (Endo 83)
Taiwo Awoniyi missed out due to some last-minute fitness issues, which meant Joel Pohjanpalo led the line on his own this week. The Finn was flanked ably by Marius Bülter who came in to the side, while Grischa Prömel took the place of Christian Gentner in central midfield. After sitting out a suspension, Nico Schlotterbeck returned at the back. Union’s winless run has returned the scopelight back to Köpenick as the team looks to turn around difficult results in the Bundesliga. Max Kruse sat on the bench for the first time of 2021 following his successful recovery in training in the last week. Union started well and looked well-organised without the ball. On 15 minutes, Pohjanpalo attempted a speculative overhead kick from the edge of the box but Florian Müller was safe. On 19 minutes, it was another attack driven by Pohjanpalo. His flick-on found Bülter and his cross picked out Christopher Lenz, but the Frankfurt-bound player struck against the crossbar. On 28 minutes, Robert Andrich shot from distance to put the goalkeeper under pressure. Andrich was rightly positioned to pick up the second ball at the edge of the box and his effort wasn’t far away from the target.
Dominique Heintz was given a place in the Freiburg team after half-time and the hosts looked in better shape after the whistle. On 52 minutes, Jonathan Schmid landed a cross on the head of Lucas Höler but the Freiburg number nine missed the target. Despite the home side's good work around the box, it was Union Berlin who would strike the criticial blow. Ingavrtsen drifted across to the right-hand side on 62 minutes, finding a yard to pick out Prömel at the back-post, the midfielder having timed his run to perfection to nod home. Almost instantly, Christopher Lenz's rasping left-foot strike was inches away from finding the bottom of corner. Heavy legs were evident in the Union side and Fischer had no hesitations in picking from his bench. Petar Musa replaced Pohjanpalo with 20 minutes left, while Keita Endo and Niko Gießelmann injected some energy to the left-side of the team. Croatian striker Musa will rue the chance to score his first Union goal in the Bundesliga after his opportunity was thwarted by Müller. Endo put pressure on Höfler outside the Freiburg box and created the chance for Musa who dribbled in on goal but struck against the goalkeeper. Five minutes of additional time due to substitutions and a VAR stoppage put further strain on the Union Berlin squad but Loris Karius' goal was untested and the goalkeeper takes home to Berlin his second clean sheet in successive games.
Union make trip south to Freiburg
1. FC Union Berlin will play at the Schwarzwald-Stadion for the last time on Saturday as Urs Fischer's side look to get back on track in the Bundesliga.
1. FC Union Berlin picked uo point 30 of the 2021-22 Bundesliga season and moved a step closer to securing next season's top-flight status. Saturday's late kick-off at the Alte Försterei saw the Köpenick club get the better of struggling Schalke, but the Berliners struggled to find a decisive touch and take all three points. Schalke contributed to the game with a fine first-half performance, but Union showed a reaction in the second. Taiwo Awoniyi passed up two opportunities, while Joel Pohjanpalo and Marcus Ingvartsen came close in half-decent situations. Before Union head to Freiburg, Fischer took spirit from the 0-0 draw. "Although the points weren't there for us, we did a lot of things well. There were many chances to win against Schalke. We weren't efficient enough. We need to keep working on our basis and our beliefs so we can get the ball over the line.
SC Freiburg's 31 points keeps them one above the chasing 1. FC Union Berlin. The club from the Schwarzwald-Stadion are preparing to finish this Bundesliga season off before a much-anticipated stadium move. While Freiburg have stuttered on the road, home form has been imperative to Oliver Glasner's success. A week before a 0-0 in Bremen, Freiburg won 2-1 against Borussia Dortmund and count them as one of their five home victories in league football this season.
Urs Fischer confirmed at the pre-match press conference that he almost had a full complement to choose from this week. Andreas Luthe is doubtful for the game, while Anthony Ujah (returning from operation) and Sheraldo Becker (fitness) are missing respectively. A full party for Fischer means the availability of Nico Schlotterbeck after suspension, Max Kruse and left-back Christopher Lenz.
Saturday's 15:30 kick-off will be held behind closed doors.