Union 3 Bochum 2FT
-Stadion Försterei, Berlin
It is the final matchday in one of the most dramatic and intriguing Bundesliga seasons; as we approached Match Day 34 in the German Top Flight, many unanswered questions and many potential storylines were yet to be written. The incredible attention on Europe’s Most insane European Chase with the champions picture as hectic as any. The Europa League and the conference still up in the air as we’ve had to wait until the final matchday to draw the conclusions. The relegation picture at the bottom also as dramatic and tight with the potential of so many moving parts. With the potential to have an absolutely crazy final matchday in the Bundesliga. With so many things yet-to-be-determined, we are here in Berlin with to add a chapter to the surge of Union Berlin with a return to Europe within their grasp. Union Berlin lost their spirit and leader Max Kruse as he departed to return to Wolfsburg to help them escape the bottom. After his departure, they had a rough start but started picking up the necessary points to arrive here. 22000 passionate and emotional supporters filed in the seats at Stadion Försterei. You could hear the passion and the emotion of the crowd, the sea of red and White spreading throughout on a momentous day as Union Berlin looks to qualify for Europe yet again, with the Europa League a possibility. They welcomed Bochum into Berlin. Bochum has beaten Dortmund in front of their yellow wall and managed to get the best out of Bayern Munich. They were going to be a worthy Challenger to test Union Berlin in their European Journey. Union Berlin would control what they could control with the eyes on Bayer Leverkusen vs. Friedberg kicking off. If Union Berlin took care of business and Bayer Leverkusen defeated Friedberg, the red side of Berlin would qualify for the Europa and finish top 5. So much action with everything on the line as the events began in Berlin.
Following preparations and predictions, the match kicked off in Berlin as the final matchday of the Bundesliga season got underway. Bochum didn’t have anything to play for. The newly-promoted side already had confirmed their safety and was just on the stage to present a challenge for Union Berlin. Meanwhile, for Union Berlin, this was going to mean everything; the performance had to be perfect and needed a little bit of help from their friends at the Bay Arena. Started someone how we would have expected Bochum was going to try to dictate with possession and try to slow down a very fired-up Union Berlin with eyes on Europe. The match ended up getting off to a roaring start as the fans in Berlin were about to explode. In the fifth minute, Haraguchi, while pushing forward, sends a ball into the box from the right flank Griasha Promel catches the cross with his head directing it into the back of the net as his header rips through the top left corner giving Union Berlin a 1–0 lead after 5 minutes.
Promel’s header gets Union off to the races scoring in his last game
Promel scored perhaps his final goal for the club as he is departing Union Berlin for Hoffenheim at the end of the season. However, he wants to go out on top, helping his team get into Europe with a beautiful goal of breaking the game open. Freiburg and Leverkusen were goalless at that moment as they moved up to fifth. These supporters couldn’t have asked for a better start as the passion was felt throughout Berlin as the fans were creating quite an atmosphere. The game opened up so quickly for Berlin throughout the next stretch became more controlled football. The visitors were trying to use possession, not entirely playing keep-away, keeping them in control of how the game was played. However, it was a brutal performance, at least in the early part of the first half; it could have worsened. Bochum didn’t possess the creativity they have shown in many of the big games this season. They came out relatively flat, and the only thing going for them for the possession. On the other hand, Union Berlin had an aggressive approach feeding the ball into the attacking areas and pushing themselves forward when they had the ball. It looks like a team determined to get into Europe. A few minutes past the 20-minute mark hit Haraguchi, strikes from the side of the box but was unable to capitalize as he was denied. It did appear that there was an alleged handball in the play. Union Berlin protested; following a video review, the referee made no mistake pointing straight to the spot. Awoniyi, in the 22nd minute, steps up and converts sliding into penalty into the bottom-left corner as Union Berlin took a 2–0 lead.
Awoniyi drills home the Penalty as Union off to a flying 2–0 start
It would be his 14th goal in the Bundesliga as the Nigerian has been one of the breakout stars this season. Union Berlin was very handily taken care of their business while the score at the Bay Arena remained goalless, keeping their spot in the top five; if it sent, they would qualify for the Europa League. It became even louder at the 22,000 in attendance, making their presence felt even further; they’re edging closer to European football with a fantastic early performance as the first half was coming to a close, Union Berlin for granted another opportunity to put the game away for good. As together and intensely as they are playing, Bochum has shown this season air quality and that they are never out in the game. However, Union Berlin tries to put it out of their reach indefinitely. Coming off a set-piece, Bastian Oczipka drilled his free-kick with power, but a little too much power as his attempted strike went well over, not challenging the goalkeeper. Bochum had no attacking creativity whatsoever and was being played off the park by Union Berlin. They were on the verge of going through the first half of the season without a shot. Robert Tesche connects on strike from Deep in the final minute of the first half but unable to test the goalkeeper. After the opening 45 minutes, Union Berlin was a step closer to European football as it remained scoreless as it hit halftime at the Bay Arena.
Promel and Awoniyi builds a 2 Two-goal first-half lead as they close in on Europe
Union Berlin couldn’t a scripted a better first half; even though they did not have the advantage in possession, they were in utter control throughout the opening 45 minutes showing their attacking mentality, and even though maybe there weren’t a lot of chances in the first half when they fell to them they made no mistake. On the other hand, Bochum needed to find a quick way back into the game. Even though they weren’t playing for anything meaningful, they still wanted it to end the season on a high note, and they had the quality in their team to do, so it certainly needed a quickfire start to the second half, if anything was going to change. Union Berlin went to their bench bringing in Andreas Voglsammder & Bochum brought it, Lowen. A few minutes into the second half, Awoniyi looked for a third connecting on strike from the side of the box, coming close but unable to find the touch he needed misfiring. Only to get an immediate reply from Bochum as Takuma Asano directs from outside the box, hitting it high to the left; however, Bochum was starting to gather a little bit of momentum for the first time in the match. Shortly after, their way back into the game was all right in the 55th minute. Daniel Sorears sent a cross into the box, connecting with Simon Zoller and getting his head on the end of it before sending it into the bottom corner to minimize the deficit.
Simon Zoller’s header gives Bochum a lifeline for a way back in.
All of a sudden the visitors we’re energized as they with the silencing the Berlin crowd offering a way back in. However, they were given some good news from the Bay Arena in the 58th minute of that game Patrik Schick makes a beautiful run separating himself from the Run of play with the ball at his feet forcing the goalkeeper to come out as the Czech Republic International then lays into Lucas Alario scoring an open goal as a buyer Leverkusen takes a 1-0 lead against Friedberg.
55′ Lucas Alario GOAL 1–0 Leverkusen (Assisted by Schick)
Schick’s run and lay off to Alario sees Leverkusen in front as Union put in position for top-five finish.
The news traveled to the Berlin Arena as these supporters continued to make noise. Union Berlin tries to push forward to re-establish himself as the dominant team in the game. Awoniyi picks out a cross for Andreas Voglsammer, getting his head on the end of it, but the goalkeeper manages to make the save. Not long after both teams went to the bench again, Geritt Holtman comes in Bochum while Schaef enters the game for Berlin. It looked like Union Berlin was about to break through again with three rapid chances. Awoniyi denied from close; Christopher Trimmel worked it from the outside again, finding Robin Knoche following through on a header Inside the Box, but the goalkeeper saved it again. Then Schaef hits a powerful strike from Inside the Box but couldn’t muster a different result as the goalkeeper came up with another play. Throughout this game, Union Berlin was the better team; they had the crowd’s energy behind them, and they were playing exceptionally well; however, you can never count out Bochum considering their quality. In the 79th-minute, Takuma Asano orchestrated a chance for the substitute Lowen as he found the bottom corner pull to draw level.
Takuma Asano engineers the leveler for Lowen as Union Berlin slides down to 6th.
Union Berlin had all the momentum and control and just surrendered a two-goal; the response from this was going going to be very defining on this season and their quest for Europe. Freiburg would still be losing at the Bay Arena. Still, they had a two-point Advantage above Union Berlin going into the game, meaning Freiburg was now in fifth place, and Union Berlin slid down to 6th temporarily. Less than 10 minutes to go to Define their entire season Union Berlin went after it. Levin Öztunalı tries to trickle the ball past the goalkeeper into the bottom corner but makes the save. Shortly after, another chance from Union Berlin missed the target. Then, Levin Öztunalı, again looking to convert from inside the box with a keeper, made the important save on a long-range effort. Quickly switching over to the Bay Area it was the 88th minute there Janik Haberer scored the Equalizer Union Berlin now needed to win the game to get into the Europa League.
88′ Janik Haberer 1–1 Freiburg Equalizer
Then in a blink of an eye, in the same minute of the game, Union Berlin broke through at the very death in the 88th minute; Awoniyi gets his break using his brute strength to get inside the box before sliding the strike into the bottom corner as Union Berlin took a 3–2 lead just minutes to spare. The minutes were winding down as they were going to hold off a late surge from the visitors, then there was another update at the Bay Arena as we were minutes away from the full-time whistle in Berlin. In stoppage at the Bay Arena, Ezequiel Palacios took advantage of Friedberg pushing up for a corner after coming very close at the end as a goalkeeper tried to run back into his net; Palacios launched a strike from the halfway line into an empty net has Bayern Leverkusen confirm a 2–1 victory over Friedberg.
90+7 Ezequiel Palacios GOAL 2–1 Levkerkusen FT
Back to Berlin couple of late chances and the time had run out the full-time whistle blew as Union Berlin finished fifth in the Bundesliga this season and qualify for the Europa League. Just their third season in the return to the Top Flight last year they confirm a conference League place with a stoppage-time victory against RB Leipzig. This season in the 88th-minute score a winner takes them Within the top 5 passing up Freiburg to secure Europa League place. It is a celebration in the red side of Berlin and what turned out to be a fantastic match of football and a historic day for a union Berlin team as they make Europe for the second season in a row.
A fantastic finish to the season in all aspects of it. Union Berlin lost their leader and best player, Max Kruse, in January. All the momentum was with him driving, and towards Europe, he departed for Wolfsburg. The Bundesliga Veteran Striker had an opportunity to return to the wolves and help them escape relegation. Max Kruse goes to Wolfsburg and makes an immediate impact as they confirm safety following his influence after Wolfsburg lost wout Weghorst, who joined Burnley. There was a negative ripple effect on Union Berlin following his departure; they struggled to get the results necessary to keep the momentum going. They went through a genuine rough patch it seemed insurmountable as they were as low as 10th in the table before a late surge where they started turning things around. Picking up some crucial points and victories in the season’s closing stretch saw them climb into the top 6 with a month of the season remaining. They came in today’s game in 6th Place, a victory and a favorable result elsewhere needed for a top-five finish. That’s exactly what happened. Bayer Leverkusen was able to do them a favor, and Union Berlin together a performance of adversity to win late and confirm the Europa League status for next season. This has been a truly incredible season for Union Berlin but mostly for this European Chase that was as gripping as any in European football. Freidberg, the surprise Challengers for the Champions League, slipped from 4th to 6th yet still qualified for the Europa League. A Champions League confirmation for them would have been exceptional, and I feel a bit bad for them in hindsight as they have put together a tremendous season and deserved Champions League football next season. Still a remarkable campaign as they are six Place finishers this season. RB Leipzig locked up Champions League football for next season; after a rough start to the campaign, they changed their manager and caught fire, and never looked back. Christopher Nkunku, arguably the player of the season in the Bundesliga, helps Leipzig fight for that Champions League spot alongside Andre Silva and Conrad Laimer. It was a real fight to the Finish for that Champions League spot, but the RB Leipzig grabbed it. On the 21st, we should have an incredible Cup Final between both of these teams. Friedberg and RB Leipzig will battle for the German cup. Considering Friedberg could not qualify for the Champions League, I sincerely hope they lift the trophy. The relegation battle got significant intrigue. Stuttgart got a draw with Bayern Munich last weekend and a win today as Sasa kalajdzic, who missed a good portion of the season, came up and delivered for Stuttgart as they avoided the relegation playoff. We saw the last sighting of erling haaland in the Bundesliga, scoring a penalty in his last game for Dortmund. The red side of Berlin is celebrating the blue side of Berlin has to hold on for dear life. After scoring early against Dortmund, Dortmund came from behind to beat them, and because Stuttgart got their points, it puts Hertha Berlin in 16th Place, meaning they will have to endure a very tense relegation playoff against either Hamburg or Darmstadt to stay in the league. Armenia bfl dip in form over the last month has severely cost them as they are relegated to Bundesliga 2. Furth has been relegated as well. At the top, Robert Lewandowski scores his 50th goal of the season in a draw with Wolfsburg as Bayern Munich wins their 10th title in a row, as it was confirmed a few weeks ago. Dortmund is our second-place finishers. Bayern Leverkusen, one of the surprises of the season led by Patrick Schick, outperformed erling haaland in the League this season and was one of the best players could be the guy to replace Robert Lewandowski at Bayern Munich next season as he’s expected to leave upon request to go to Barcelona. A lot of drama, excitement, and what was a terrific Bundesliga season and what was a Non-Stop drama-filled campaign from the best league in the world.