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VfL Wolfsburg vs 1. FC Union Berlin

Bundesliga, 32. Matchday

Wolfsburg vs 1. FC Union

Bundesliga, 32. Matchday

Sat., 08. May 2021, 15:30 Uhr
Volkswagen Arena
3 : 0
SR: Sven Jablonski

Union beaten 3-0 at the Volkswagen Arena

Match report

1. FC Union Berlin went down to Wolfsburg on Saturday with Josip Brekalo scoring all three goals for the Bundesliga's third-placed team.

The Croatian put Wolfsburg ahead with a solo-inspired effort before adding two goals after the half-time interval to make sure the three points stayed at the Volkswagen Arena. 

Wolfsburg: Casteels; Mbabu (Gerhardt 71), Lacroix, Brooks, Octavio; Arnold, Schlager; Brekalo, Baku, Philipp (Guilavogui 81); Weghorst

1. FC Union Berlin: Luthe; Trimmel (Ryerson 75), Schlotterbeck (Gießelmann 68), Knoche, Friedrich, Lenz (Bülter 68); Gentner, Griesbeck; Ingvartsen (Endo 45), Musa (Kruse 68), Pohjanpalo

1. FC Union Berlin faced an immediate setback when Rob Andrich was injured in the warm-up. The midfielder was replaced by Sebastian Griesbeck – one of three changes to the starting XI as Julian Ryerson and Max Kruse dropped out for Christopher Trimmel and Petar Musa. Andreas Luthe pushed away a shot in the second minute as Wolfsburg started with zip and intent. Oliver Glasner's team have pushed into third place and will expect to see out this season in the same position to secure a spot in next season's Champions League. At the heart of their success has been their defensive organisation – conceding the second lowest number of goals in the Bundesliga. Wolfsburg snuffed out any hint of an Union threat with Glasner's team breaking down Urs Fischer's side with a phase of real quality. On 12 minutes, Maxi Arnold found Ridle Baku and the winger picked out Brekalo on the edge of the box. The 22-year-old from Zagreb did the hard work on the edge of the 18-yard-box, curling an outstanding effort high into the net. Luthe kept the game alive as a contest in the first part of the opening 45 minutes, making some important interventions at the most decisive moment. Wout Weghorst shot into the side-netting when up against Luthe who forced the Dutch striker to aim for the tightest of angles. Minutes later, the 34-year-old keeper pulled off an excellent save against Maximilian Philipp. Putting the first 30 minutes to one side, Union grew into the contest and managed to put some pressure on Koen Casteels' goal. Joel Pohjanpalo twisted away from the green shirts, forcing Casteels into action and landing a shot just off target. Referee Sven Jablonski pointed out for a corner kick and Marvin Friedrich headed over from close range. Less than a minute later, Friedrich rose above Maxence Lacroix to head Marcus Ingvartsen's free-kick wide.

After sustaining a knock to his foot in the first half, Ingvartsen didn't return from the dressing room after the break. Keita Endo was handed his spot on the left-hand side and Union started in a more positive fashion than the first. Trimmel drove with the ball into an advanced position, cross early in his traditional style but Kevin Mbabu cleared at the back-post to prevent Musa from scoring. Musa led the charge on 50 minutes as Union tried to make the most of any gaps in the Wolfsburg defence. On this occasion, John Anthony Brooks was on the deck, leaving space for Musa but Lacroix did extremely well to recover and clear the danger. As Glasner's team recognised the danger of an equaliser, they pushed higher up the pitch and that led to a more end-to-end period around the hour mark. In the 56th minute, Pohjanpalo ran half the length of the park and hit the post – frustratingly before the assistant referee flagged for an offside at the start of the move. About 100 seconds after the 61st minute eventually decided the destination of the three points: Baku missed an opportunity to set up Weghorst for an easy number two for the Wolves, while Musa should have equalised after finding a few yards of space in the box. The missed chance to equalise was punished by the home side with Brekalo striking past Luthe with the aid of a wicked deflection off Christian Gentner's boot. To have any chance of taking a point or three, Fischer looked to his bench and made three switches – Max Kruse, Niko Gießelmann, Marius Bülter came on for Musa, Christopher Lenz and Nico Schlotterbeck. Julian Ryerson's introduction with about 15 minutes to go gave Trimmel the chance to rest some legs after a good shift on the right-hand side. Weghorst, who has 20 goals to his name this season, blazed over and passed up the chance to pile on more misery with 10 minutes to go. In the end, Wolfsburg played the closing stages with experience and concentration and were able to rack up a third as Josip Brekalo completed his hat-trick from close range. Union's late push for European football is not over yet. Fischer's team head to Bayer Leverkusen next Saturday, another six-pointer in the hunt for international competition next season. 

Union face tough task at Wolfsburg

Match preview

1. FC Union Berlin will make the trip to Champions League-chasing VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday, hoping to make a late push for a place in Europe next season.

Review

A fortnight ago, 1. FC Union Berlin trounced Werder Bremen at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei with Joel Pohjanpalo scoring a 17-minute hat-trick in the second half. The Köpenick club came unstuck against Florian Kohlfeldt's team, but eventually found the cutting edge after the break. Urs Fischer dipped into his bench and added Petar Musa to the forward line as Union switched to two up front. Musa and Pohjanpalo combined to devastating effect to put the game to bed. Marvin Friedrich set up the Finland international for his first goal on 50 minutes, the striker bundling home from a corner kick. Three minutes later, Musa flicked the ball in behind the Bremen defence and Union's number nine fired past Jiri Pavlenka. Although Pohjanpalo passed up earlier chances in this period to score again, he made it sure in 67 minutes finishing off Musa's pass with an excellent finish from a tight angle. Theo Gebre Selassie scored a consolation for Werder Bremen towards the end of the game.

Opponent

With 57 points from 31 games, third-place VfL Wolfsburg are an example of organisation and stability. Oliver Glasner has turned the ship around at the Volkswagen Arena and the Wolves look on course to secure a place in next season's Champions League. Ahead of them, RB Leipzig have seven points more but there is pressure on their tails from Eintracht Frankfurt and Borussia Dortmund. Wolfsburg have the second-best defensive record in the Bundesliga (Union 4th) and this has been key to their success. Goalkeeper Koen Casteels has kept 13 clean sheets this season, ably supported by American defender John Anthony Brooks ahead and midfield metronome Xavier Schlager in midfield. The balance has worked to Wolfsburg's team this season and 28-year-old Dutch striker Wout Weghorst has scored 20 of the team's 54 league goals. After Union Berlin on home turf, Wolfsburg will take on Leipzig next week and go up against form side Mainz before the season concludes.

Personnel

Urs Fischer confirmed a longer injury list than normal for the trip to Wolfsburg. Union will be without Anthony Ujah, Taiwo Awoniyi, Sheraldo Becker, Leon Dajaku and Cedric Teuchert. This week, Florian Hübner, Grischa Prömel and Jakob Busk suffered knocks and will also miss out. Fischer painted a positive picture of Awoniyi and Teuchert's recovery with both heading in the right direction.

Service

Saturday's Bundesliga match at the Volkswagen Arena will take place behind closed doors.

AFTV Videos

Andreas Luthe

Andreas Luthe

was Player of the Day for the last time against Wolfsburg

Andreas Luthe

was Player of the Day against Wolfsburg

MatchStatistics

VfL Wolfsburg vs 1. FC Union Berlin

60 % Possession 40 %
84 % Pass Completion Rate 73 %
53 % Successful Tackle Rate 47 %
17 Shots on Goal 9
10 Crosses 15
1 Caught Offside 1
1 Yellow Cards 0
0 Yellow-Red Cards 0
0 Red Cards 0

Last match

Date Home Result Away