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Final day showdown in Bochum ends 2-2

Union face playoff:

Sun, 19. May 2019
Final day showdown in Bochum ends 2-2

1. FC Union Berlin came close to staging a dramatic comeback in Bochum, but were held 2-2 at the Ruhrstadion.

Urs Fischer's side fell behind to Anthony Losilla's first-half strike. Silvere Gavoula scored from the spot before being shown a second yellow card. But Union's never-say-die attitude shone through with late goals from Grischa Prömel and Joshua Mees sparking chaotic scenes at the end.

In the end, Union held on to a point and have secured a relegation playoff against VfB Stuttgart.

VfL Bochum: Riemann; Celozzi, Fabian, Kotchap, Pantovic (Tesche 65); Losilla, Eisfeld; Weilandt (Baack 90), Soares (Kokovas 69), Ganvoula; Hinterseer

1. FC Union Berlin: Gikiewicz; Trimmel, Friedrich, Hübner (Abdullahi 74), Reichel; Schmiedebach (Gogia 60), Kroos (Mees 51), Prömel, Zulj; Andersson, Polter

Felix Kroos was the single change to the Union Berlin XI, which beat Magdeburg 3-0 last Sunday at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei. Clear skies greeted the teams at the Vonovia Ruhrstadion in Bochum, but that would not last long as the heavens soon opened. The conditions looked troublesome under-foot as neither team settled into a rhythm in the opening 20 minutes. Union fell behind after 24 minutes when Anthony Losilla found space, left side of the box and curled past Rafal Gikiewicz. Despite the setback, the Köpenick club — cheered on by more than 5,000 supporters — showed character to regain a foot in the game. Bochum keeper Manuel Riemann kept the hosts in front with a series of important interventions before the break. A great cross from Christopher Trimmel gave Sebastian Andersson something to attack on 36 minutes, but Riemann denied the Swede with a fine, reflex save. Neither the Swede nor Sebastian Polter could convert Ken Reichel’s tantalising delivery towards the interval as Robin Dutt’s side carried the lead beyond 45 minutes.

With Paderborn behind in Dresden, the second half got off to the worst possible start. Prömel was punished for a foul in the box and Ganvoula stepped up to give the home side a two-goal advantage. Mees and Akaki Gogia were introduced thereafter and added some spark to Union's forward play. The visitors from Berlin were given a boost with 20 minutes to go when Ganvoula was shown his marching orders after picking up a second yellow card. Following the substitution of Suleiman Abdullahi, Fischer's team found another gear. But Manuel Riemann had his goal in check and Union required a moment of individual brilliance to spark a comeback. It came in the form of Prömel's 30-yard scorcher with eight minutes left in the game. Union pressed and Mees collected the loose ball inside the box and rammed home the leveller with four minutes left on the clock. The finish was enthralling for the neutral, but torture for both sets of supporters in the Ruhrstadion. Robin Dutt's team will feel hard done by not to have scored at the end themselves, while Union created a great chance in stoppage time - Riemann denying Abdullahi from about 6 yards out with a fine save.

Union will return to action beyond the league campaign, facing VfB Stuttgart over two legs in the Bundesliga relegation play-off. The first leg will take place on Thursday in Stuttgart, with the return leg at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei on Monday night. Ticket information is now available on the club website.