Union fights in vain: Bayer makes you forget early shock

Union fights in vain
Bayer makes you forget the early shock

Bayer Leverkusen fell behind early on against Ferencvaros Budapest, and the Bundesliga side had an unfortunate start to the Europa League season. But Leverkusen managed the turnaround. Also because a goal is denied shortly before the break. For Union Berlin, the trip to Prague ends bitterly.

Young star Florian Wirtz gave Bayer Leverkusen the important opening win in the Europa League. The 18-year-old international scored the winning goal (69th minute) in the 2-1 (1-1) against the Hungarian record champions Ferencvaros Budapest and the long-time Cologne coach Peter Stöger and secured a successful European Cup debut with Bayer for the new coach Gerardo Seoane. After the founding of the Conference League and the downsizing of the starting field, the group win is more important than ever, because the first in the table save the second round against the relegated from the Champions League and move straight to the round of 16. Ryan Mmaee gave the Stöger team an early lead in front of 11,013 spectators (8th). The Argentine Ezequiel Palacios equalized with his first goal in the 25th competitive game for Bayer (37th).

Seoane had made four changes compared to the 3: 4 spectacle against Borussia Dortmund in the league, including the French Amine Adil (22) made his starting eleven debut for Bayer. The requirement remained the same: be offensive and dominant. But the weaknesses to the rear quickly became apparent. Jeremie Frimpong had moved too far on the right, the fast Tokmac Nguen served Mmaee and he pushed the ball over the line. Stöger accepted the hit stoically with a slight smile. Bayer was visibly shocked and was lucky not to catch the second goal. After 20 minutes, goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky was infected, who threw a throw into Nguen’s feet, but saved his shot.

The first big chance for the Bundesliga club had Kerem Demirbay, whose free kick from 25 meters was barely fished out of the corner by goalkeeper Denes Dibusz (25th). The Ferencvaros goalkeeper also parried a shot from Lucas Alario (31st). Now Bayer got security, the compensation by Palacios after the removal of Frimpong was the logical consequence. Less than two minutes later, Ferencvaros supposedly cheered the 2-1, but Balint Vecsei had jumped the ball before the successful shot on the arm. A Bayer goal by Jonathan Tah (45th) was also canceled for foul play.

After the change Leverkusen ran up, Budapest was low and hardly made any relief attacks. However, the Hungarians had a strong keeper in Dibusz who, among other things, fended off a header from Adil (59th). After 66 minutes, Seoane put everything on one card with a triple change – and was rewarded two minutes later.

Union fights in vain

First decimated, then combative and in the end frustrated: 1. FC Union was unable to continue its astonishing invincible series at the start of the group phase in the Conference League. At the Czech champions Slavia Prague, the Berliners lost 1: 3 (0: 1) after being long outnumbered.

The goals of Alexander Bah (18th minute), Jan Kuchta (84th) and Ivan Schranz (88th) ended a series of nine competitive games in three competitions without a defeat since mid-May. The interim equalization by Kevin Behrens (70th) was ultimately useless.

After the yellow-red card for Paul Jaeckel (40th), Union fought for more than 50 minutes on the grass softened by the constant rain – too big a mortgage. After the false start in Group E of the new European Cup, a win must now be in the first home game against Maccabi Haifa in two weeks, so that the chance of getting into the knockout phase does not quickly lose sight of the field.

A good 3,000 Union fans in the Sinobo Stadium with the no less enthusiastic Slavia supporters ensured an atmosphere that was absolutely worthy of the European Cup. “I think it is important that what we do is fun. And we are all looking forward to it,” said club boss Dirk Zingler at Nitro before kick-off about the still good Union mood. Palpation was therefore not the thing to do. And Union could quickly take the hosts by surprise. Genki Haraguchi and Max Kruse (3rd) lacked the necessary precision in the end in the best position. Slavia quickly found its way back to normal. Berlin goalkeeper Andreas Luthe had to intervene courageously for the first time when Lukas Masopust (12th) shot.

The early yellow cards against Jaeckel (6th) and Taiwo Awoniyi (15th) by the petty whistling Portuguese referee Fabio Verissimo noticeably irritated the iron. Suddenly the tension and concentration decreased. And Prague punished this lack of international cleverness coldly. Bah’s long-range shot after a corner hit flat in the corner of the goal.

Now the Berliners ran behind in most of the duels. And when Jaeckel had to foul tactically in midfield, the dismissal was inevitable. Annoying: Shortly before, Kruse (31st) had finally made it into the Slavia penalty area on his own, but decided to play Awoniyi, who slipped past the ball.

When outnumbered, more defensive order was required. Nevertheless, Union still had opportunities for quick counterattacks. Rani Khedira (55th) shot past the goal. Awoniyi (58th) was offside for a goal and refused to admit it. Behrens then struck on a counterattack, but that did not save the series of the Iron, because Slavia had the double answer from Kuchta and Schranz late.