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Second half double fires Union Berlin to victory

Last home game of 2018:

Sat, 15. December 2018
Second half double fires Union Berlin to victory

1. FC Union Berlin scored two second half goals to see off VfL Bochum at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei. 

After an even hour of football, Sebastian Polter slotted home from 12 yards, bagging his fifth goal of the league campaign. Robert Zulj added a second with two minutes to go and extend Union's unbeaten run to 19 games overall in the league — all 17 this term. 

It's a new record for the Köpenick club who have ended the Hinrunde — first round of fixtures — without defeat. Next week's game at Erzgebirge Aue marks the start of the Rückrunde and the end of league football for 2018. 

1. FC Union Berlin: Gikiewicz; Trimmel, Friedrich, Parensen, Reichel (Ryerson 86); Zulj, Schmiedebach, Hartel; Mees (Gogia 73), Polter, Abdullahi (Andersson 67)

VfL Bochum: Riemann; Hoogland, Soares, Gyamerah, Fabian; Losilla, Tesche; Sam (Saglam 75), Weilandt, Lee; Hinterseer

Attendance: 20,728

With Florian Hübner suspended after reaching the yellow card threshold, Michael Parensen returned to the centre of defence. Sebastian Polter was brought in to lead the attack as Sebastian Andersson dropped to the bench. Ken Reichel came back in after the birth of his second child this week, whilst Marcel Hartel took Felix Kroos’ spot in midfield. It was Union’s number seven, who was at the heart of the game’s first scoring opportunity — he cushioned a neat pass from Polter before his right-foot shot was blocked by Bochum left-back Danilo Soares. Robin Dutt’s team spent most of the half posing the questions of the Union half, but the home side’s defence stood resolute. Anthony Losilla’s shot struck the post on 16 minutes and a few moments later, Rafal Gikiewicz took a heavy knock and received treatment on his knee. Nevertheless, the Polish goalkeeper got the better of his opponent on a number of occasions, saving from Soares on 28 minutes and then later from Hinterseer. Bochum ended the half with a decent chance, but Losilla ballooned his effort over the crossbar from the edge of the area.

Although Union returned to the field without any changes, the home side emerged with a spring in their step. Fischer’s men took the game to Bochum in the early exchanges of the half and forced a succession of corner kicks within two-to-three minutes. On the hour mark, Polter was emptied in the box by Tim Hoogland and referee Matthias Jöllenbeck pointed straight to the spot. The Union number nine sent Riemann the wrong way and put Union in front. Fischer had changed to a straight 4-4-2 in the second period and added Sebastian Andersson to the forward line on 67 minutes. The Swedish striker was played through on goal a minute after his introduction but was thwarted by Riemann. Zulj was inches wide of sending a 25-yard free kick into the top corner but the Union midfielder would not be denied his first goal for Union Berlin. With two minutes left, the 26-year-old rounded off a fine second-half performance, breaking the Bochum offside trap and sliding the ball under Riemann to secure all three points.

Union coach Urs Fischer said post-match: "It was a very strong Bochum, especially in the first half. We lacked the last determination, especially in the one-v-one situations. In the first half we did not have the necessary luck in challenges, which you also need against a strong opponent like Bochum. We have addressed this in the half-time break, and we know what the team is capable of if the attitude is right. We played much better in the second half. In the end, it was a deserved victory, for me."