Union suffers first defeat in the Europa League, but pushes through as group winner

Union suffers first defeat in the Europa League, but pushes through as group winner

Union has lost its final match in the group stage of the Europa League: against Union Berlin it went 0-1 after a goal from Michel, although the inhabitants of Brussels will not lose any sleep over it: the group win was already a fact. The fact that Union does not end the group stage unbeaten is only a minimal damper on the Brussels revelry. 13 out of 18 remains a brilliant result.

Union had to go to Leuven one more time in 2022 for a European home game: the inhabitants of Brussels were already certain that it would return to Den Dreef at least once in 2023, because they already assured themselves of the group win and wintering in the Europa League last week. . For Union Berlin there was still a lot at stake: only a victory offered certainty in the next round, if there was a loss of points it had to wait and see what Braga did.

The Germans seemed to realize that a victory was actually necessary: ​​a pass from Becker ended up with Michel, who deviated past Moris after just five minutes. Union started enthusiastically, but Berlin showed itself, just like in the Bundesliga – where it is currently first – extremely efficient. No, even after the 0-1 it was not the case that the Germans were the better team: Union certainly didn’t play badly, but creating chances turned out to be very difficult. In terms of chances, we were left hungry: only Adingra came close to a goal in the first half, but he also failed in eye with the Berlin goalkeeper. The party would have been canceled anyway, because the Ivorian was offside. You didn’t really miss more goal danger in the first half – except for a blocked shot by Nilsson.

Few chances

And Union Berlin? No, they didn’t really play like a team currently leading the Bundesliga. In the second half, however, it received unexpected support from a few dozen supporters: the Berlin fans were not welcome in Leuven due to misbehavior in previous European matches, but during halftime they made their way inside. But anyone who thought that the extra support would provide extra momentum for the visitors was disappointed. It created very little itself and left possession of the ball to the home team, which showed a lot more enthusiasm. Purely on that basis, Union might have deserved the equalizer, and on the hour it was almost price: Vanzeir found Nieuwkoop with a perfect pass, but the Dutchman’s volley was parried by Grill. A big warning, but the Germans also stuck their noses at the window immediately afterwards: a good parade by Moris was needed to prevent Becker from scoring.

Union Berlin also continued to play in saving mode afterwards, and it seemed as if it was no longer necessary for the home team: only Boniface came close in the final, but his shot was turned on the line. The defeat was a fact, but you can’t blame Union: with 13 out of 18, Union played a very strong group stage, which means that it only has to play European again in March in the eighth final. The possible opponents? Barcelona, ​​Ajax, Juventus, you name it. And whether Union can celebrate this, despite the defeat.


Union SG: Moris, Sykes, Burgess, Kandouss (72′ Lapoussin), Nieuwkoop, Lynen, Teuma (72′ Rodriguez), Lazare (65′ El Azzouzi), Adingra, Nilsson (46′ Boniface), Vanzeir (64′ Eckert)

Union Berlin: Ronnow (46′ Grill), Doekhi, Leite, Knoche, Trimmel, Haraguchi (62′ Schafer), Haberer (62′ Thorsby), Khedira, Ryerson, Becker (89′ Leweling), Michel (62′ Behrens)

Goals: 6′ Michel 0-1

Gel cards: 9′ Becker, 48′ Haberer, 78′ Adingra, 80′ Eckert, 90′ Trimmel

Red cards: none

Referee: Andris Treimanis

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