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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

24th matchday: 1-1 in Wolfsburg: Union Berlin again without a win

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A few weeks ago, Union Berlin was still level with FC Bayern. After four league games without a win, the deficit is now seven points. Even winning a point in Wolfsburg is happy.

Union Berlin will not be disappointed that quickly. Several thousand fans celebrated the team like a winner after the 1-1 (0-0) win at VfL Wolfsburg.

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A late goal by Patrick Wimmer in the 84th minute gave the Unioners their fourth winless game in a row in the Bundesliga. The surprise team of this season has slowly said goodbye to the championship race. And she is currently only in a Champions League spot because she has the better goal difference than SC Freiburg, who are fifth in the table with the same points.

“We couldn’t do more today, I’m honest,” said Berlin’s Robin Knoche. Coach Urs Fischer was also satisfied with the point: “The team fought passionately, showed willingness and deserved this point with the necessary luck in the competition.” In front of 23,554 spectators in the Volkswagen Arena, even one point was rather happy from a Berlin point of view. A converted penalty kick by Josip Juranovic was Berlin’s first chance of the game in the 72nd minute.

Tired Unioner let VfL grant

VfL, on the other hand, missed several good opportunities, as they did a week ago in the 2-2 win against Eintracht Frankfurt. “We clearly have to leave the field as winners today,” said Wolfsburg coach Niko Kovac on DAZN. “It’s the little things that decide whether you play internationally or not. You have to win games like that.”

In the 15th minute, a free kick from Mattias Svanberg hit the crossbar. Just a minute later, Union goalkeeper Frederik Rönnow parried a shot by Kilian Fischer (16′), who had broken through on his right side. Shortly before half-time, Omar Marmoush ran all by himself towards the Danish keeper (45′). But the Egyptian shot wide of the target. In the second half, the VfL striker missed two more good chances (59th/76th).

Kovac was right in his assessment: The hard-running VfL actually looked fresher and more dynamic than their opponent because Union was between two Europa League games on Sunday evening. The first game against Saint-Gilloise only took place on Thursday evening in Berlin (3:3). The second leg in Belgium follows exactly one week later. “Sure, it’s exhausting, but we still invested a lot today,” said Unions Sven Michel.

Wolfsburg chance plus remains unused

How great the respect for the Unioners was, was shown by the key personalities in Wolfsburg that evening. For the first time in 23 months, VfL played a Bundesliga game without their suspended captain Maximilian Arnold. However, Kovac did not replace the central defensive midfielder from the right position, but deployed two security forces in front of the defense in Josuha Guilavogui and Felix Nmecha.

Since Union also likes to condense the center, a predominantly balanced game developed with many duels and little space gains. The only difference between the two teams was: Union only needed a clear chance to score, VfL half a dozen.

And so a Wolfsburg pattern emerged again: For the fifth time in the new year, VfL played against one of the top six teams in the Bundesliga. And for the third time they remained without a win despite a clear increase in chances. The wolves missed the hoped-for jump to seventh place, which might be enough for a place in the Conference League at the end of the season.

Source: Stern

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