1. FC Union Berlin battled hard at the Volkswagen Arena on Sunday, but in the end went down by a single goal in the second half to unbeaten VfL Wolfsburg.
Dutch striker Wout Weghorst scored after 69 minutes to break down Union's resolute defence – the only goal of the match ultimately separating the two sides.
VfL Wolfsburg: Pervan; Bruma, Tisserand, Knoche; William, Steffen (Gerhardt 90), Arnold, Guilavogui; Joao Victor (Klaus 82), Mehmedi (Brekalo 65), Weghorst
1. FC Union Berlin: Gikiewicz; Trimmel, Lenz, Subotic (Mees 86), Friedrich, Schlotterbeck; Andrich, Gentner (Ujah 76); Becker (Ingvartsen 72), Bülter, Andersson
Coach Urs Fischer tweaked his shape following last Friday's defeat at home to Eintracht Frankfurt. The Swiss boss turned his defence into a back-three with Keven Schlotterbeck starting alongside Neven Subotic and Marvin Friedrich. Christopher Lenz returned to the fold, while Sheraldo Becker was introduced in attack. Oliver Glasner's Wolfsburg kept the Union defenders busy from the beginning as Rafal Gikiewicz stepped up with a terrific save from Weghorst. Fischer's side enjoyed their best period in the match towards the end of the first half and created some promising attacking situations. Sebastian Andersson broke clear on goal and was hauled down by Jeffrey Bruma, but Bastian Dankert handed out just a caution for the Dutch international. Robert Andrich's free-kick landed an inch-or-two past Pervan's post, while at the other end, Joao Victor should have taken advantage of a great chance in front of goal.
Referee Dankert was in the spotlight in the 53rd minute, whistling for a penalty kick against Marvin Friedrich. Following consultation with the video referee in Köln, Dankert viewed a handball incident on the sideline and ruled that Weghorst was the guilty party. Chrisitian Gentner's header on target after the hour mark threatened Pervan who shuffled across well to his right-hand post to keep the ball clear of the goal. However, the introduction of Josip Brekalo from the bench made a pivotal impact for Wolfsburg, the little Croatian feeding Weghorst in the centre of the box with the Dutch striker making no mistake from close range. Marcus Ingvartsen, Joshua Mees and Anthony Ujah were tasked with changing the scoreline from the bench, which saw Fischer return to a 4-4-2 formation towards the end. Gikiewicz reacted quickly with 10 minutes to claw out a shot from a corner kick from Maxi Arnold, the ball striking the post on the way out. Andrich's engine kept him powering on until the fifth minute of additional time, but his late strike was agonisingly wide of Pervan's goal.
The international break allows Union Berlin to regroup and push themselves again, including against Dynamo Dresden in a friendly at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei on Thursday. The squad returns to Bundesliga action at home to SC Freiburg on October 19.