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Pohjanpalo goal snatches 1-1 draw

Union level in Leverkusen:

Sat, 15. May 2021
Pohjanpalo goal snatches 1-1 draw

Joel Pohjanpalo levelled against his parent club to give 1. FC Union Berlin a fighting chance of qualifying for Europe next season.

The Finland international scored after 72 minutes to bring Urs Fischer's team back on level terms at Bayer Leverkusen, who took the lead through Florian Wirtz.

A wide open final 10 minutes could have seen the game go either way, but the vital point leaves the Köpenick club in with a chance of seventh place on the final day.

Bayer Leverkusen: Hradecky; Tah, Dragovic, Tapsoba; Aranguiz, Demirbay; Diaby, Wirtz (Diaby 90), Amiri (Bellarabi 67), Wendell; Schick (Gray 84)

1. FC Union Berlin: Luthe; Trimmel (Becker 66), Schlotterbeck, Knoche, Friedrich, Lenz (Bülter 66); Andrich, Gentner (Griesbeck 84); Ingvartsen (Awoniyi 55), Kruse, Musa (Pohjanpalo 55)

Urs Fischer made two changes to his side from the disappointing 0-3 defeat at Wolfsburg - Robert Andrich and Max Kruse came in for Joel Pohjanpalo and Sebastian Griesbeck. Hannes Wolf has won all of his home games as Bayer Leverkusen head coach and it looked like his run would continue when Patrick Schick put the ball in the net after seven minutes. Fortunately for the Köpenick club, referee Patrick Ittrich and his team adjudged the striker to have handled the ball. Despite Leverkusen's array of talent in the forward positions, Union held their own and impressed over the first 20 minutes. Andrich's return in midfield added a spring to the step of Fischer's side as he broke up a number of passing moves from the home side. Both Christopher Lenz and Marcus Ingvartsen found themselves in shooting positions inside the first 10 minutes but couldn't test Lukas Hradecky. Five minutes later, Andrich won the ball back and prompted a counter-attack by the visiting team. Andrich played in Kruse who went on to have a shot on target but the referee waived away a foul on the midfielder at the edge of the box. The returning Kruse scored on 20 minutes but Andrich was offside after running in behind the Leverkusen defence. Similar to the second half in Wolfsburg, Union were punished for missed chances and Leverkusen opened the scoring after 27 minutes. The home side won the break of the ball in the Union box and Florian Wirtz tapped home at the back-post. The opener knocked the air out of the Berlin side for a period, but there was a recovery as Rob Andrich fired over the crossbar with nine minutes left to play in the first half.

The heavens opened after half-time and stretched the game in the opening phase. Leverkusen's speed and quality on the break will have licked their lips at the opportunity to attack Union with the help of a slicker, faster pitch. However, Andreas Luthe and his defence held firm to keep the scoreline deficit at one. Fischer wanted more in attack and made a double substitution on 55 minutes with Petar Musa and Ingvartsen going off for Pohjanpalo and Taiwo Awoniyi. Ittrich handed out a yellow card as the change took place - Andrich's caution means he will miss the final game of the season against Leipzig. Sheraldo Becker joined Awoniyi in making his return from injury and Marius Bülter added a different kind of attacking threat on the left wing. On 74 minutes, Union finally found the breakthrough. Becker dropped in a dangerous cross from the right, but Pohjanpalo's header was parried clear by his compatriot Hradecky. The Finnish striker was in the right position to receive the rebound and he buried home to give Union a lifeline. The momentum switched in Union's direction and Awoniyi was unable to take one of his chances, set up by Kruse on 77 minutes. From the resulting corner kick, the Nigerian headed wide from a corner kick. While news of resutls going Union's way filtered through, there was a chaotic nature to the final few minutes with opportunities in both penalty boxes to take all three points. Robin Knoche and Nico Schlotterbeck both made game-deciding interventions in one-on-one situation to preserve the dream of European qualification next season.