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Stoppage time defeat against Leverkusen

Late blow for Union:

Sat, 15. February 2020
Stoppage time defeat against Leverkusen

Christian Gentner and Marius Bülter struck for 1. FC Union Berlin as Urs Fischer's team went down 2-3 at home to Bayer Leverkusen.

Gentner opened the scoring after seven minutes with a piledriver from 25 yards, which left Lukas Hradecky with no chance. Leverkusen recovered and put themselves ahead through Kai Havertz then substitute Moussa Diaby in the second half.

But Union threw everything at the visitors in the end to get something. Marius Bülter pulled a sensational goal out of nowhere to level with three minutes of the 90 remaining. But Karim Bellarabi squeezed home a winner for Peter Bosz's side in the fourth of seven minutes of stoppage time.

1. FC Union Berlin: Gikiewicz; Schlotterbeck, Friedrich, Subotic (Polter 83); Trimmel, Lenz, Gentner (Prömel 75), Andrich; Malli (Ingvartsen 75), Bülter, Andersson

Bayer Leverkusen: Hradecky; Weiser (Diaby 45), Tapsoba, Tah, Wendell; L. Bender, S. Bender; Havertz, Amiri (Bellarabi 75), Bailey (Aranguiz 45); Volland

Marvin Friedrich was restored to central defence in place of Florian Hübner after sitting out a one-game suspension for the win at Werder Bremen last week. Despite Leverkusen’s push for a place in next season’s Champions League, 1. FC Union Berlin laid down an early marker. After three minutes, Robert Andrich fed the ball into Sebastian Andersson, the Swedish striker firing agonisingly past Lukas Hradecky’s goal. The home crowd didn’t need to much longer than four minutes more to celebrate a deserved opener at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei. Marius Bülter made headway down the left-wing, drilled the ball across goal and Leverkusen could only clear as far as Gentner who rattled the ball into the top corner. Hradecky counted his lucky stars as Keven Schlotterbeck headed into his grasp from close range in the 13th minute. As Leverkusen built up the next phase of play, Christopher Trimmel was shown a yellow card and the captain will miss the next game at Eintracht Frankfurt. On 22 minutes, the visitors levelled the scores, arguably against the run of play in the first half. The Union backline failed to deal with a long ball and Kai Havertz beat Neven Subotic to the ball and lobbed Rafal Gikiewicz. One defensive switch-off aside, Fischer’s team turned in one of their best performances of the Bundesliga campaign. Union packed the penalty box consistently, forcing Peter Bosz’s side to focus more on defensive work than dominating possession. Andrich, Subotic and Bülter all shot wide, while Friedrich headed over on 41 minutes from Trimmel’s well-taken corner kick. Then at the end of the first-half, Union passed through the Leverkusen block and missed a glorious chance. Gentner opened the play to bring in Bülter, who had switched to the right, and the 26-year-old’s cross was a centimetre ahead of Andersson who missed the target.

Leverkusen returned to the field with two substitutions made in the interval — Moussa Diaby and Charles Aranguiz replaced Nadim Amiri and Mitchell Weiser. Yunus Malli ran clear of the Leverkusen defence after the restart but was denied his first Union goal by the recovering challenge of Wendell. Pyrotechnics in the away section halted proceedings for a while and would lead to seven minutes of additional time after the 90. Referee Harm Osmers eventually took the players off the field after 63 minutes but they returned two minutes later. Grischa Prömel and Marcus Ingvartsen came on with about a quarter of an hour to play as Fischer looked to inspire some impetus in the home side’s performance. A few short minutes after Andrich blazed wide with a volley, Kevin Volland set up substitute Diaby to put the visitors in front. Sebastian Polter was given time to rescue a point for the home team and two minutes later, Union had cause to celebrate. Bülter beat Lars Bender one-against-one and somehow found the top corner under pressure in the box. As the match went into additional time, one mistake or one moment of magic could swing the scoreline either way. Unfortunately for Union, Bellarabi dribbled into the box and bundled home Leverkusen’s third of the afternoon to no reply.

Union couldn't make it a seventh home win of the Bundesliga season and Fischer's team have a chance to pause and prepare for next Monday's trip to Eintracht Frankfurt.