European LeagueIt should have been a celebratory match for the Federation. However, Union Berlin thought otherwise on Thursday evening. The Germans ruined the party by pulling the longest end 0-1, after an early goal by Michel.
With his 13 out of 15 wins and the set win already in his pocket, Karel Geraerts could easily have chosen the rotation, but he didn’t do it on purpose. The win means that the Brussels side has the second-best Belgian result ever in the group stage, 16 out of 18. Union Berlin can still see Braga jump to second place, qualifying them for a winter’s European League. Enough effort by both teams to make it a fun evening of King Power at Den Dreef Stadium.
Giertes Nelson – the champion in Braga with two late and important goals – gave his chance right from the start. Boniface moved to the bank. As van der Heyden happened there. The defender received one yellow card from a suspension and was replaced by Sykes.
A rain shower before kickoff ensured that the grass was in perfect condition and the weather in the stands was good too, thanks to the “Vamos a la playa” and “C’est l’union qui sourit” warm-ups. You don’t have to teach unionists to make it a party. This party immediately suffered a serious blow. Union Berlin opened the scoring six minutes later. Becker hit the ball over Burgess and gave Michel the check to Morris.
The union struggled for control. Just fifteen minutes ago, Doekhi climbed to the top after a corner. His head fell on the surface of the goal. The homeowners reacted a few minutes later. Kendos just missed a sharp angle from Lenin. Halfway through the first half, Teuma found his moment. After a nice offside, his cross shot ended in the hands of goalkeeper Rono. Nelson took a closer look at his captain and decided to go on tour. Its explosion is blocked.
Nieuwkoop Vanzer sent out into the street five minutes before the break. Trimmel decided to pull the emergency brake, but referee Treimanis saw nothing wrong with that. Right after that, Adingra earned a chance point. Its ending was in line with the entire first half: poor. Ronnow stopped and there was also an intrusion flag.
Two new faces after the break. With the visiting goalkeeper, Ronnow was surprisingly replaced by Grill and at Union Boniface came to the famous Nilsson. Also a surprise in the stands. Some Union Berlin supporters entered the stadium at the start of the second half. Strange, because UEFA did not allow visitors to Leuven after Union Berlin’s misconduct in Malmö.
On the field, the home team was the first to poke its nose in the window after the break. Vanzer put in a good lead and Nieuwkoop managed to hit the ball at the far post. The roast was right on target. On the flip side, Morris stood upright on an attempt by a broken Baker.
With Eckert, El Azouzi, and later Labusin and Rodriguez, Geerts brought four new troops. In between, Union Berlin fans were turned away from the stadium. However, apart from the exciting final stage and some yellow cards, they didn’t miss a thing. Small damper in the great EU track so far, but then we’re pretty strict. What Gerets’ men actually showed was extraordinary. “Hissez haut les drapeaux” and starting in March please more of this!
Gerrts: “I feel sad”
We lacked accuracy in passing and technique,” Karel Gerats replies. “We must not forget that we played against a very good team, the captain of the Bundesliga, and they did not outdo us. They scored at the right time and we did not find the right speed to score. Although we could have equalized in the final stage.”
“We had a lot of possession, but unfortunately we didn’t do enough with it. Maybe we missed that five percent because it wasn’t necessary to win. However, we showed a lot of quality. We have our place in the group and that’s first place.”
“It’s a very painful feeling tonight not to finish the group stage unbeaten. I always demand to win every game. Not winning a beautiful duel hurts. I was born a winner. We have the taste of winning and you don’t want to give it up. Obviously I’m disappointed at the moment. No doubt we’ll realize tomorrow that we can be proud and proud of these 13 out of 18. We didn’t steal a single point out of those 13. It’s really good. We’re really looking forward to the next matches in March.”
“We are ending our European campaign for a few months. It is a good thing that we must and we can now focus on the Belgian League and the Belgian Cup. We still have three games left in the coming weeks to show the good things,” concludes Gerarts.
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