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Union get a point closer to 40 with draw

Stuttgart equalise late:

Sat, 12. March 2022
Union get a point closer to 40 with draw

1. FC Union Berlin were pegged back at home to VfB Stuttgart by a last-minute equaliser from Sasa Kalajdzic.

The Stuttgart number 9 fired in Borna Sosa's cross to give The Swabians a share of the spoils at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei.

Taiwo Awoniyi's 11th goal of the season from the penalty spot put Urs Fischer's side ahead four minutes before half-time.

1. FC Union Berlin: Rönnow; Trimmel, Gießelmann (Oczipka 89), Jaeckel, Knoche, Baumgartl; Khedira, Prömel, Möhwald (Schäfer 66), Awoniyi (Voglsammer 73), Becker (Michel 73)

VfB Stuttgart: Müller, Anton, Endo (Coulibaly 85), Mavropanos (Stenzel 59), Kalajdzic, Karazor, Marmoush, Tomas (Mangala 59), Führich, Sosa, Ito

With Andreas Luthe, Kevin Behrens, Genki Haraguchi and Levin Öztunali in quarantine, Urs Fischer made two changes to his starting line-up. Danish goalkeeper Frederik Rönnow deputised for Luthe between the sticks as he has done already in three different competitions, while Kevin Möhwald was given the nod to take up Haraguchi's role in midfield. Julian Ryerson was a late drop out from the squad due to a stomach bug. Union head coach Urs Fischer marked his 150th game in charge of the club with the visit of Stuttgart, who his side defeated in the promotion play-off back on 27 May 2019. The former Stuttgart midfielder Rani Khedira almost fired Union in front after three minutes with a rasping long-range drive which fired narrowly over the bar. Both teams were hard to separate for the first 20 minutes of the half and neither goalkeeper faced a ton of pressure. Rönnow and Florian Müller on the Stuttgart side had more touches of the ball by and large from goal kicks instead of attacking action. Grischa Prömel, born in Stuttgart, set the tone for Union's play when he joined up with Awoniyi and Sheraldo Becker in forward areas. On 27 minutes, Prömel's run in behind created the opportunity for Niko Gießelmann to smash a shot straight at Müller from the left. The following corner kick was cleared only as far as Möhwald who couldn't direct his speculative volley on target. Through this period of the match, Union were dominant and crisper in turning defensive interceptions into attacking play. Prömel attempted another strike at goal on 30 minutes but Müller held firm. Pellegrino Matarazzo's side picked up a lucky break on the flank when Gießelmann was punished for a handball offence. The cross put Union on the back foot and Wataru Endo headed into the ground from a few yards out instead of at the goal. That missed opportunity could have shifted the momentum of the game, but instead it was Union who ended the half in the driving seat. Becker knocked the ball in behind for Awoniyi on 38 minutes but Robert Hartmann blew up for offside as the Nigerian fired past Müller. A minute later, Baumgartl's shot was blocked and it wasn't long before Stuttgart succumbed to intense pressure. Prömel picked up the ball on the edge of the box, shot at goal and Konstantinos Mavropanos held out a hand, leaving referee Hartmann with a clear penalty call. From 12 yards, Awoniyi sent Müller the wrong way to make it 11 goals for the Bundesliga season so far.

The second 45 at the Alte Försterei started in the same fashion as the first 20 minutes. Neither side were able to create goalscoring opportunities with referee Hartmann having to deal with a lot of niggly fouls. Mavropanos needed to be replaced after injury on 56 minutes with Pascal Stenzel coming on for Stuttgart. Möhwald's race was run after 66 minutes and Andras Schäfer returned to the field with the Hungarian international still looking to get up to speed. A second for Union would have killed the game but Gießelmann couldn't head in a great chance on 69 minutes following a terrific cross on his weaker side from Becker. Omar Marmoush fired wide with an ambitious effort, while Robin Knoche headed over after 79 minutes. Sven Michel and Andreas Voglsammer replaced the front two with Union struggling to get a grip of the contest. The last 15 minutes saw Stuttgart pile on the pressure after finding some energy. A pass in behind from Endo cut the Union defence open but Kalajdzic shot against the post with six minutes to play. After scoring last week to turn over Borussia Mönchengladbach, the Austrian striker wasn't going to pass up another bite at the cherry. Sosa whipped in a dangerous ball and Kalajdzic fired past Rönnow to give the visitors a point.

It's back on the road for Fischer's team next week as Union head to league-leaders Bayern Munich on Saturday.