Gotta get some coffee ...

Union clinch vital win in Haifa

UEFA Europa Conference League:

Thu, 25. November 2021
Union clinch vital win in Haifa

Julian Ryerson's winning goal has given 1. FC Union Berlin a chance to qualify for the next stages of the UEFA Europa Conference League.

The Norwegian full-back headed the decisive goal after 66 minutes to secure a 1-0 win at Maccabi Haifa on Matchday 5 of the Conference League group stages.

The win keeps Union's hopes alive on progression with Slavia Prague at the Olympic Stadium standing in the way of Urs Fischer and his side.

Maccabi Haifa: Cohen; Meir, Planic, Gershon, Goldberg (Levi 85); Haziza (Tawatha 69), Rodriguez, Fani (Mohamed 61); Chery, David (Sahar 69), Donyoh (Atzili 61)

1. FC Union Berlin: Rönnow; Knoche, Friedrich, Baumgartl; Ryerson (Jaeckel 80), Haraguchi (Prömel 64), Khedira, Möhwald (Becker 64), Puchacz (Gießelmann 63); Kruse, Awoniyi (Voglsammer 74)

1. FC Union Berlin were targeting a first away victory in Group E irrespective of what happened in Prague between Slavia and Feyenoord. Three points would be most likely set up an opportunity to have a chance of qualification against the Czech champions on Matchday 6 of the group stages. Urs Fischer rotated in a few positions with Frederik Rönnow starting in goal, Julian Ryerson and Tymoteusz Puchacz taking the full-back roles and Kevin Möhwald adding fresh legs to the midfield. Puchacz has shown his power and attacking threat in European games so far, the Polish international leading the Union push on Cohen's goal. Despite the Bundesliga side not turning dominance into chances, Puchacz's early threat in deliveries and wing play had Maccabi Haifa on the back foot. After 11 minutes, the home side had Union scrambling to protect a clean sheet after a few consecutive mistakes on the ball. Chery intercepted one of those passes and forced Rönnow into an important save. Union Berlin enjoyed a good phase after around 20 minutes with some dangerous attacks from deep. Both Ryerson and Puchacz were direct and able to break into Haifa territory, without reward. On 25 minutes, the Pole's first attempt at goal was heading for Cohen's goal but it was blocked by the home side. Tjaronn Chery, Maccabi Haifa's number 10, was booked for a clash with Puchacz after half an hour and the home side's first attempt from David before the half was out went wide over the crossbar.

After a frustrating first 45 minutes, the away side required a goal to take all three points and give themselves a chance of qualification for the next round of the Europa Conference League. Maccabi Haifa created the first sight at goal with David shooting over from close range on 47 minutes – credit to Ryerson for the pressure to turn the Israeli striker off target. Both Kruse and Puchacz pushed for Union and fired off target. Urs Fischer knew his side needed some inspiration and made three changes after 64 minutes. Off went Puchacz, Haraguchi and Möhwald with Becker, Prömel and Gießelmann taking their places. Shortly after his introduction, Becker's run in behind was the decisive action of the second half. The Dutch winger found space and crossed for Ryerson, heading into the corner to put the visitors ahead. Andreas Voglsammer, who scored in the 3-0 win over Haifa at home, took the place of Taiwo Awoniyi with 74 minutes on the clock. In a similar fashion to the first opportunity, the ball landed to Kruse on 84 minutes for a counter-attack but the number 10 struck over the crossbar. A final change saw Paul Jaeckel shore up the defence in place of the goalscorer with the final 10 minutes to go. Planic headed over for the home side with Maccabi Haifa's European campaign on the line. The final minutes were expectedly in the direction of Rönnow's goal, but the Union rearguard held firm at the Sammy-Ofer Stadium. The 600 travelling supporters who travelled from Berlin celebrated with the players as Union set up a winner-takes-all match in Group E at home to Slavia Prague next month.