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Union lose at Greuther Fürth

Away defeat:

Sun, 12. December 2021
Union lose at Greuther Fürth

1. FC Union Berlin suffered defeat at Greuther Fürth as Havard Nielsen shot his side to their first-ever Bundesliga victory.

The newly-promoted side succeeded in holding off the Köpenick club with Nielsen's finish on 56 minutes separating the teams at the Sportpark Ronhof.

Greuther Fürth: Burchert; Meyerhofer, Griesbeck, Bauer, Willems; Christiansen, Seguin, Tilmann (Seufert 84); Hrgota (Itten 71), Abiama (Leweling 61), Nielsen (Dudziak 86)

1. FC Union Berlin: Luthe; Ryerson, Gießelmann, Knoche, Baumgartl (Voglsammer 73), Jaeckel; Prömel, Haraguchi (Teuchert 82), Kruse (Awoniyi 63); Becker, Behrens (Endo 82)

Union returned their focus to the Bundesliga following Thursday's final Group E match in the UEFA Europa Conference League against Slavia Prague. Urs Fischer made five changes: Andreas Luthe, Paul Jaeckel, Julian Ryerson, Genki Haraguchi and Kevin Behrens came in to the side. Marvin Friedrich was missing for the match having picked up an illness. Fischer looked beyond Greuther Fürth's league position in the pre-match press conference and remarked how Union have been warned based on Stefan Leitl's side's performances. Branimir Hrgota fired an early shot at Andreas Luthe to put the visitors on the back foot at the Sportpark Ronhof. Max Kruse broke past former Union midfielder Sebastian Griesback on 12 minutes but goalkeeper Sascha Burchert closed the angle. With the match played in front of no supporters, the game lacked the usual edge. Union entered the Fürth danger zone with some nice combination play without causing huge problems. On 19 minutes, Kruse shot at the goalkeeper before Haraguchi watched as his volley went over the target. The strongest spell of a scrappy first 45 minutes came as the half entered its final 10 minutes in Fürth. Kevin Behrens, with one Bundesliga goal to his name this season, put himself about in a physical sense to get Union into the game. On 37 minutes, Niko Gießelmann's inswinging free-kick set up Behrens for a chance but Maximilian Bauer intervened. As Union returned the ball back into opposition territory, Behrens was in on Burchert's goal but the goalkeeper showed good reactions to sniff out the danger.

Seven minutes into the second half and Union carved out a half-chance on the goal of Sascha Burchert. A clearance from a bouncing ball fell to Haraguchi but the midfielder fired wide of target. The visitors took advantage of a set-piece opportunity on 56 minutes to take the lead. There were claims of a foul on Kevin Behrens but referee Sven Jablonski waved away claims. The ball fell to Nielsen around seven yards out and fired past Luthe. Urs Fischer's team showed resilience to keep pushing away but the breakthrough wasn't forthcoming. Behrens' header was saved by Burchert who was in strong form for the hosts. The hosts got off lucky as Grischa Prömel's first touch didn't let him in on goal from Sheraldo Becker's cross. Ryerson fired wide from range as Union found themselves up against a motivated defence. Fischer looked for inspiration from the bench with Keita Endo and Cedric Teuchert handed the opportunity to turn the game around. On 83 minutes, Gießelmann passed up a promising opportunity. The left back shot the first time but it was deflected and the second attempt went over. Two minutes later, Keita Endo fired wide after a clearance from a corner kick. Union continued to push and should have levelled the scores in the final minute when Gießelmann's cross wasn't turned home by substitute Awoniyi. Voglsammer was next to try his luck but shot over into stoppage time as Union went down by a single goal at the Sportpark Ronhof.