Union wins 1-0 in Haifa to organize December showdown for UECL knockouts
Europe: Europa League Conference
Sammy Ofer Stadium0-1
A hard-fought 1-0 in Israel on Thursday night leaves Union Berlin a clear path to the knockout stages of the UEFA Europa Conference League, provided they can defeat group leader Slavia Prague in Berlin on Saturday night.
The elimination contest turned out to be very tight, but substitute Sheraldo Becker managed to set Julian Ryerson up for the game-winning goal in the 68th.
Eisern Union traveled to Haifa for what would be a crucial UEFA European Conference League Premier game on Thursday evening. Although their Israeli hosts gave German European club representatives a hard time, Urs Fischer’s side managed to win with a 1-0 victory.
Before the match, as usual for German clubs visiting Israel, representatives of the Union attended ceremonies in the country’s capital.
Following anti-Semitic incidents involving Union ultras during the home game, Union President Dirk Zingler and a club delegation visited the Yad Veshem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem on Wednesday. While club administrators laid a wreath in the memorial hall, other club dignitaries toured the museum. FCU President Zingler deplored the fact that “anti-Semitism remains present in our society” and reflected on “the Union’s deep need to make this trip”.
Union coach Fischer made four changes to the starting XI that beat Hertha on Saturday night in the Berlin derby. Julian Ryerson and Tymoteusz Puchacz came in for Niko Gießelmann and yellow-red suspended captain Christopher Trimmel. Fischer also opted for Kevin Möhwald over Grischa Prömel and gave substitute keeper Frederick Rønnow a start in goal. The formation resembled Fischer’s normal 3-5-2, although wingers Puchacz and Ryerson were deployed further and further.
With both teams facing a safe elimination with loss, both teams proceeded cautiously in a tense first half. Union was able to control the possession play most of the time in the opening 15 minutes, but there were numerous passing errors and a noticeable lack of forward momentum. Luckily, goalkeeper Rønnow’s playing error on a pass from behind was not penalized. Ryerson and Puchacz managed to pass on their respective flanks. The organized ranks of Haifa still prevented them from creating opportunities in their space.
After a first half that produced no clear scoring chance on either side, the two teams began to pull themselves together in a more exciting stretch between the 50th and 60th. The two head coaches made several changes just past the hour. Haifa’s Barak Bakhar went for a double change while Fischer pulled the trigger on a triple change. Prömel, Gießelmann and striker Sheraldo Becker relieved Möhwald, Puchacz and Genki Haraguchi in the 64th.
Becker asserts himself immediately. The Suriname international, who also looked crisp in relief on Saturday, fought hard to keep the ball in play before finally crossing into Ryerson in the box. The Norwegian returned home for a 1-0 lead in the 66th minute. With his back to the wall, Haifa did everything possible to organize a response. There were some slightly nervous moments (80th and 86th), but the Israeli hosts were unable to top off decent attacking streaks with shots that tested Rønnow.
Die Eisernen climbs to third place in the first group E of the UECL. The capital of Köpenick now has a clear path to European club football in the spring of 2022. If Fischer’s men can beat Slavia Prague on December 9, that will be enough to advance to the knockout stages. A draw will not be enough.
Elsewhere in the 6:45 p.m. European club competitions involving Bundesliga clubs, Celtic Glasgow’s visit came close to avenging Bayer 04 Leverkusen for their ruined “Paradise Party” in September. The visiting Scots retained a 2-1 advantage until the 82nd minute. A second goal from Robert Andrich and a brilliant finish from Moussa Diaby in the last two minutes of regulation time nevertheless saw the Werkself win 3-2.
German phenomenon Florian Wirtz was involved in Leverkusen’s three goals in the evening as part of a brilliant game. The captivating comeback victory allows Germany’s Red Company squad to advance to the knockout stages of the Europa League.
|3||Sean Goldberg ↩85|
|8||Dolev Haziza ↩71|
|16||Mohamed Abou Fani ↩61|
|ten||Tjaronn Chery (C)|
|11||Donyoh divine path ↩61|
|21||Dean David ↩71|
|7||Omer Atzili ↪61|
|9||Ben Sahar ↪71|
|17||Taleb Tawatha ↪71|
|4||Ali mohammed ↪61|
|33||Maor Levi ↪85|
|6||Julien ryerson ?? ↩86|
|5||Marvin Friedrich (C)|
|26||Tymoteusz Puchacz ↩64|
|24||Genki Haraguchi ↩64|
|30||Kevin mohwald ↩64|
|14||Taiwo Awoniyi ↩74|
|9||Andreas Voglsammer ↪74|
|27||Sheraldo Becker ↪64|
|3||Paul jaeckel ↪86|
|23||Niko Gießelmann ↪64|
|21||Grischa Prömel ↪64|