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Thursday, May 19, 2022

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    1. FC Union trembles and celebrates in fifth place

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    Urs Fischer was just looking in vain for words for the extraordinary performance that he and his players have achieved this season when the door suddenly opened. His entire team stormed the press conference and already gave their trainer the second beer shower of the day. After qualifying for the Europa League, there was no stopping 1. FC Union on Saturday afternoon and Fischer wasn’t really successful in finding the right word even after the involuntary refreshment. “Insane, fantastic, extraordinary,” tried the coach. “But even in Swiss German there is not one word that describes this situation.”

    It was once again a memorable last day of play in the sold-out stadium An der Alten Försterei. The fans had begun to bid farewell to this outstanding season long before kick-off. At half time, the Berliners were leading 2-0 against a harmless VfL Bochum, 1. FC Köln were behind in the parallel game, what could go wrong there? But in the 79th minute the stadium fell silent after Bochum equalised.

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    Suddenly Union was shaking again for the Europa League and the fans felt that the team was shaking. They switched from celebration to cheer mode. “Let’s go Union, fight and win,” rang out the ranks across the lawn. And Union fought and won. Taiwo Awoniyi scored the redeeming goal shortly before the end. With the 3:2 (2:0) against Bochum in front of 22,012 spectators, the Berliners finish the Bundesliga season in fifth place. “It’s unbelievable for a club like Union Berlin,” said Grischa Prömel after his last game for the club.

    When the final whistle marked the final whistle for Europa League qualification, a few hundred fans stormed onto the pitch, despite all the club’s requests, and sometimes got into serious arguments with the security staff. Many spectators in the stands didn’t like that at all and they shouted: “We are Unionists and you are not”. The big party mood was only briefly damaged. Later, like last season, we went to the stadium balcony, where players and coaches were cheered on by thousands of fans in the packed parking lot.

    However, the matchday didn’t just end emotionally, it also began that way. Before kick-off, five players were said goodbye: Bastian Oczipka, Anthony Ujah, Suleiman Abdullahi, Jakob Busk and Prömel. Especially Prömel was extensively celebrated. After kick-off, it wasn’t long before something happened that would probably have been dismissed as excessive kitsch by any screenwriter. Genki Haraguchi crossed perfectly into the penalty area and there it was, right, Prömel. “Such a reception from the fans, then the 1-0. Today is my day,” said the midfielder, who will play for TSG Hoffenheim next season.

    The Berliners had everything under control in the first half. At the end of a very successful season, it was all about nothing for Bochum and you could tell. VfL only got the first shot on goal in injury time, but Takuma Asano was ruled offside.

    Bochum played the party crasher, but only briefly

    Union had already increased to 2-0 at this point. The recently outstanding Sheraldo Becker had to be substituted early on with ankle pain and his substitute Sven Michel was again involved in a goal after a few minutes. After Prömel was thrown, he shot from 17 meters, Bochum’s Robert Tesche blocked and after brief contact with the video assistant, referee Marco Fritz ran to the sidelines to watch the scene again. He recognized a handball from Bochum and decided on a penalty. Awoniyi converted into the left corner.

    The already good mood of the fans was now even more exuberant, they jumped and sang about Europe. The 22 men on the field could not keep up with the force of the audience. It wasn’t a mild summer kick, but not much worth mentioning happened. The only excitement were two fouls by Michel in quick succession. Bochum demanded a dismissal, but Union’s striker got away with a yellow card and a stern warning. His coach didn’t stop at serious words and replaced Michel at the break.

    After the restart, things picked up a new pace. Awoniyi hit the side netting, while Asano also just missed the goal. It was obvious to the guests that they didn’t just want to be extras at the big Union party, and that was rewarded. Cologne had also equalized in the meantime and the big tremors began in Köpenick. Until Awoniyi scored again and the red and white party began.

    Source: Tagesspiegel

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