1. FC Union Berlin secured their survival in the 2.Bundesliga with a deserved 3-1 victory over VfL Bochum.
Quick-fire goals either side of the break put Andre Hofschneider’s side in the driving seat for three vital points. Kenny Prince Redondo scored in one half, while the second started with Danilo Soares’ own goal. While Lukas Hinterseer cut the arrears briefly, Steven Skrzybski made the points safe with a brilliant, individual goal in stoppage time.
Victory in the final home game of the campaign at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei means Union will remain safe from relegation troubles on the final week of the season.
1. FC Union Berlin XI: Mesenhöler; Kurzweg (Pedersen 76), Friedrich, Leistner, Trimmel; Prömel, Parensen (Fürstner 63); Hedlund, Daube (Torrejon 87), Redondo; Skrzybski
VfL Bochum XI: Riemann; Fabian, Hoogland, Soares (Ochs 58), Gyamerah; Tesche (Eisfeld 58), Stöger, Losilla; Kruse, Sam (Serra 75), Hinterseer
As part of our 2018 celebrations to mark 50 years since the FDGB Pokal / East German Cup triumph, a collection of player portraits were displayed from the winning squad next to a sea of red and white Union flags. The tone was perfect – and the performance soon followed. Union started with a serious zip to their play, causing all sorts of issues for Robin Dutt’s team, who had built up an impressive nine-game unbeaten run in the 2.Bundesliga.
The Union Berlin front four of Skrzybski, Simon Hedlund, Redondo and Dennis Daube all threatened to break the away side’s resolve in the first half an hour. Top scorer Skrzybski cut deftly inside on to his right-foot and struck, but it was strongly parried clear by Manuel Riemann. Going a step closer a few minutes later, Redondo’s finish beat Riemann but not the crossbar. On 42 minutes, Peter Kurzweg reacted quickest to get on the end of Christopher Trimmel’s cross, but smashed a few yards over the target. Super sub last time out here against Heidenheim, Redondo held his nerve to finish off Daube’s effort with the game approaching half time.
And the half-time break didn’t curtail Union’s momentum as Hofschneider’s came out of the traps impressively. A powerful move saw Hedlund sent through on goal, but the Swede curled his finish over the crossbar. Seconds later, in the second minute of the half, Danilo Soares lost his bearings when dealing with an innocuous long ball and headed past his own keeper. Bochum still looked particularly rattled from the first half and Redondo ought to have converted a third goal, two minutes later.
More often than not, Union seriously threatened the Bochum goal on every attack. A combination of luck, finishing and the Bochum keeper kept the advantage at just two. The visitors from the Ruhrgebiet pulled one back through Lukas Hinterseer, three minutes from the final whistle. However, Skrzybski secured the points and Union’s league status with a great solo run and finish, his 14th goal of the campaign.
Andre Hofschneider said after the match: "It’s remarkable how we fought for every ball today and attacked with everything we had. However, we also showed our lacking quality in front of the goal, missing out on too many good chances – that’s the only criticism I have after this game. I have to compliment the team and the fans, who showed an exceptional performance despite the tense situation in the league."