Union has one foot in the next round
Courageous, good game, ripped off: Union Berlin gave an excellent business card at its first international appearance in 20 years and can plan further European Cup nights. The iron won the play-off first leg in the new Conference League against the Finnish cup winner Kuopion PS 4-0. Moving into the group phase in the second leg in a week at the Berlin Olympic Stadium should only be a matter of form.
Attackers Taiwo Awoniyi (7th and 31st), Max Kruse (29th) and Andreas Voglsammer (90th + 2) scored the goals for the Bundesliga club, who was superior from the start. Above all, ex-national player Kruse, who six months ago hadn’t been “in the mood” for the Conference League, shone with his joy of playing. Kruse, involved in all three goals, was even more involved in building up the game after the departure of midfield boss Robert Andrich to Bayer Leverkusen.
Around 500 euphoric Union fans traveled to the far north despite the Corona requirements. Some of them set fire to Bengalos several times in the block, and a banner was unfurled there with the inscription: “Can’t Stop Fans – UEFA = Mafia”.
Coach Urs Fischer had spoken of a “very special game” for the club in advance, so the Swiss almost sent his top team onto the pitch. Only the two newcomers Tymoteusz Puchacz and Levin Öztunali moved into the starting line-up compared to the Bundesliga start against Leverkusen (1: 1).
Above all, the inclusion of the Polish left-back Puchacz paid off early: After his sharp cross, Awoniyi spitted the ball over the opposing goalkeeper Johannes Kreidl, formerly active at Hamburger SV and 1. FC Nürnberg, into the goal.
Union did the leadership visibly well, especially on the left side dangerous attacks were initiated again and again. Puchacz, who moved from Lech Posen to Berlin for 3.5 million euros in the summer, was an invigorating element and even had the second goal under his belt (16th). That was done by Kruse, just two minutes later Awoniyi even increased to 3-0.
The hosts, currently runner-up in the table of the Finnish Veikkausliiga, did not have an answer. After the break, Union took it easy, but still had scoring opportunities. Union was lucky in the closing stages when Henri Toivomäki hit the bar (90th). Then Voglsammer took care of the final score. (afp)
Here you can find the other results of the playoffs in the Europa League and the Conference League.