Effective in the first “final”: Union wins a special away game

Effective in the first “endgame”
Union wins special away game

Union Berlin has to win in order to keep the hope of European wintering. And the Bundesliga team delivers: Against Maccabi Haifa, a weak game remains exciting until the last second. Far from home one never cheered.

1. FC Union Berlin has kept the chance to advance in the Europa Conference League. At Maccabi Haifa, the Bundesliga team prevailed 1-0 (0-0) and is now facing a final for a place in the knockout phase. Hibernation in international competition would succeed with another win in the last group game on December 9th against Slavia Prague in the Berlin Olympic Stadium. After their second success in Group E, the team of coach Urs Fischer now has six points on their account. The decisive goal in Israel was scored by the Norwegian international Julian Ryerson (66th minute).

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120 kilometers away from Tel Aviv, Union started powerfully, but was unable to create clear chances for too long. As in the 3-0 in the first leg, Fischer bet on the Dane Frederik Rönnow, regular goalkeeper Andreas Luthe had to go on the bench. The Swiss coach did not want this to be seen as a demotion of Luthe, but as a deserved reward for Rönnow. Overall, after the 2-0 win in the Berlin derby against Hertha BSC last weekend, four positions were changed, including captain Christopher Trimmel and striker Cedric Teuchert due to suspensions.

24,000 spectators in the sold-out Samy-Ofer Stadium, including around 600 Union fans, ensured a great atmosphere, but the professionals on the pitch offered far too little. Both Israel’s second-placed Haifa and the Bundesliga’s Fifth Union left a lack of creativity for a long time. In addition, the decisive passes in front of the gate were too imprecise. Shortly after the break, Maccabi increased the pressure and Unions Ryerson was able to clarify in dire need just in time (47th).

“Deep need” on a very special journey

And what was Berlin doing? Against the well-organized defense block of the Israelis, Max Kruse tried with a shot from 25 meters (55th), but this missed the goal. Ryerson made it better with a header after the submission of Sheraldo Becker, who had just been substituted. After that, both teams continued to watch each other and Union brought the narrow lead over time. Rönnow steered a dangerous free kick in stoppage time over the goal.

Hours before kick-off, a delegation from 1. FC Union visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial. “It was a deep need for us to use our official trip to Israel to visit this special place and I am very grateful that we could be here,” said club president Dirk Zingler. During the first leg there had been anti-Semitic incidents and attacks on fans of the Israeli champions in Berlin. The club condemned the assaults sharply in September.

For the Berliners it was a club-historical encounter – namely the most distant competitive game since the fall of the Berlin Wall that Union has to contest. 2794 kilometers as the crow flies lie between Berlin and Haifa. The previously furthest distance was Helsinki at 1104 kilometers as the crow flies, where Union laid the foundation for the group stage with a 4-0 win over Kuopio. 20 years ago, the trip to the Bulgarian Lovech meant the furthest distance to a venue at 1,340 kilometers as the crow flies.

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