Off to Barcelona or Manchester: 1. FC Union Berlin has crowned its sensational season with a place in the Champions League. It is the biggest success in the club's history to date, exactly four years to the day after promotion to the Bundesliga. Rani Khedira's goal (81st minute) was redeemed by Urs Fischer's team on Matchday 34 on Saturday in front of 22,012 spectators at the sold-out An der Alten Försterei stadium in a 1-0 (0-0) win against Werder Bremen. SC Freiburg, Union's last rival for the fourth Champions League place in the league, lost 1-2 (1-0) at Eintracht Frankfurt after taking the lead for a while and could no longer pass.
For the third time in a row, Union qualifies for international business. That much was already clear before the game. So now it's time for the first time in the premier class. A huge success for the club, which plays in one of the loudest, but also the smallest stadium in the league and is far from the top in terms of budget. In the first half of the season, the Köpenickers even led the table for several weeks. Only after two matchdays did the team not stand in a Champions League place. A key to success is home strength. Union have not lost in the league for 23 games at the Alte Försterei.
The newly promoted team from Bremen had already secured their place in the league last weekend against 1st FC Cologne and can plan for at least another year in the Bundesliga.
Union Berlin with high intensity
Exactly four years after the decisive Bundesliga relegation match against Stuttgart, everything was ready for another red and white holiday. Well over two hours before kick-off, the pubs around the Alte Försterei were full. On the square in front of the grandstand, everything was set up for the big party. The Berlin fans made it clear on a banner that pure results are not everything for them: "Whether in Europe or on the brink, whether with joy or frustration. Infinite pride through the coat of arms on the chest."
His team had to find a mixture of tension and looseness, not to tense up, Fischer had wished. The team, in which defensive boss Robin Knoche started again after his infection, went into the game with high intensity. It was almost all about the goal of Bremen. Kevin Behrens (2nd) and Sheraldo Becker (8th) missed from good positions.
Subsequently, the hosts continued to press, but were less likely to become really dangerous. The many crosses and corners were often too inaccurate, as were the headers. The visitors hardly took place offensively, but always got a foot or head in between. It was a game with lots of long balls and crashing header duels.
Freiburg's half-time lead in Frankfurt increased the need for a goal for Union – and the hosts threw everything forward. A goal by Becker did not count because of a previous offside position (55th). Christopher Trimmel's free-kick sailed just past the post (62nd). A header from Danilho Doekhi was stopped by Marvin Ducksch from the line (67th).
In parts of the stadium, the unrest grew until substitute Sven Michel fixed the ball in the penalty area and played to Khedira. The goal caused pure football ecstasy in the Alte Försterei.