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Sunday, March 26, 2023

19th matchday: Pressure on Bayern: Union jumps to the top

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Union Berlin is again leaders – at least for one night. What else is possible for the Köpenickers this season? The opponent from Mainz trusts them to do anything.

After the jump to the top of the table, the fans of 1. FC Union Berlin sent a message to Munich. “Take off the Bavarians’ lederhosen,” rang through the sold-out An der Alten Försterei stadium.

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The Köpenickers, who had held the place in the sun for several weeks in the first half of the season, are back in first place in the Bundesliga for the time being. Series champion FC Bayern Munich needs a win at VfL Wolfsburg (5:30 p.m. / DAZN) on Sunday to overtake the Berliners again.

“We’ll take the games as they come, one after the other. But it’s true, today we’re at the top of the table and we’ll do everything we can to stay there,” said winning goalscorer Jordan Siebatcheu after the 2-1 ( 1:0) against FSV Mainz 05 on Saturday. With every success, the Iron Ones become a bit more of a serious title contender. They have won all five competitive games this year. The Unioners have been unbeaten in their Alte Försterei for 15 league games.

Siebatcheu sealed Union victory

In front of 22,012 spectators, Kevin Behrens (32nd minute) gave the hosts the lead. Ex-Unioner Marcus Ingvartsen (79th) equalized for coach Bo Svensson’s guests with a penalty kick before Siebatcheu (84th) scored his first goal since September for the victory of the Berliners.

It was again a close game in which the Köpenickers had the happier end in the end. Lots of duels, few chances to score. “The team puts in effort, tirelessly. Then there is the necessary luck. But you don’t get that for nothing,” coach Urs Fischer praised his team. “The team is willing to push themselves to the limit every matchday.” She now has a certain self-confidence thanks to her strong performances this season.

Fischer has more and more alternatives. The squad is wide. Behrens scored in the cup against VfL Wolfsburg to win and now also against Mainz. But then Siebatcheu, who has been so unlucky for months, comes into play and puts his name on the top scorer list. Now the Swiss is still spoiled for choice as to who will attack next to Sheraldo Becker. “It will go on. They leave me no choice, the two of them,” said Fischer with a smile. And further: “I’m especially happy for Jordan today that he was finally able to score again. But Kevin did a very good job again.”

Substitutes trump

But the Köpenickers are not only deep in attack. Three substitutes were involved in equalizing. “You saw the bench they have today,” said Mainz sporting director Martin Schmidt. You saw how much power and quality could still come into play with the Berliners.

He attested to his team’s decent performance. “The 1-1 would have been fair in sporting terms, but Union’s efficiency has shown that they need few chances to win games,” he said. The Mainzers are currently missing something. “We’re a bit lacking in conviction. That’s what we have to work on.”

Due to the defeat, the guests from Rheinhessen remain in the lower middle of the table with 23 points. Mainz got four points from the first four league games of the year. Coach Svensson said: “It’s disappointing that we can’t at least get a draw from these two close games against Dortmund and Union.” But he couldn’t really blame the team, they balanced the game.

Schmidt, on the other hand, sees the Köpenicker with realistic chances of winning the title: “I think you have to trust Union with everything at the moment.” After two English weeks, the Köpenickers can catch their breath before the top game in Leipzig next Saturday (6.30 p.m. / Sky). With 39 points, the Berliners are close to their official goal for the season of 40 points and staying up.

Source: Stern

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