1.FC Union Berlin Bundesliga Season Review: Part One – Results

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1.FC Union Berlin ended their first-ever Bundesliga season sitting comfortably in mid-table. At the start of the campaign, their objective was simple – avoid relegation.

Although they only secured their top-flight status with three games remaining, Union were never in any real danger of going down. In the end, they finished level on 41 points with their city rivals Hertha, behind only on goal difference.

So let’s take a look back at what was a historical season for Union and their fans as they prepare for a second successive season in the Bundesliga.

1.FC Union Berlin Bundesliga Season Review

Opening Three Bundesliga Games

Union Berlin were faced with a relatively daunting opening fixture as title hopefuls RB Leipzig were the first side to visit the iconic Stadion An der Alten Försterei in the Bundesliga.

Despite the occasion of watching their side compete in the top flight for the first time in the clubs’ history, leading Ultras group Das Wuhlesyndikat protested against Leipzig, the club bankrolled to the top division by the Red Bull energy drinks company, by staying silent for the first 15 minutes of the game.

As soon as 15 minutes were over, the Union fans broke into song. However, it was short-lived as Leipzig scored just one minute later, before adding a further two before the break. The game ended 4-0 to the visitors.

Despite the defeat, Union recorded their first-ever top-flight point on matchday 2 away at Augsburg, with Sebastian Andersson etching his name in the history books by scoring Die Eisernen’s first-ever Bundesliga goal.

Unfortunately for Keven Schlotterbeck, he too will go down in the history book for becoming the clubs first player to be sent off in the top-flight seven minutes from time.

By matchday 3, Union returned home. However, they were again to be tested when as eight-time German champions Borussia Dortmund visited the capital.

Marius Bülter gave Union the lead, but Paco Alcácer levelled three minutes later. But a second goal from Bülter and a late strike from Andersson secured their first-ever top-flight win on a historic evening.

Four points from their opening three league games – three of which came against sides that finished in the top three come the end of the season – highlighted some positive showing for Union early on.

One Win From the Next Six

During the next six games, Union only managed to pick up one victory, suffering five defeats along the way.

Fischer’s side suffered home defeats against Werder Bremen and Eintracht Frankfurt alongside away losses at Bayer Leverkusen and Wolfsburg, before ended a four-game losing run with a 2-0 victory at home to Freiburg.

Bülter netted his third goal of the season, while Marcus Ingvartsen opened his Bundesliga account. Die Eisernen were unable to pick up points in their next fixture, despite a solid display as they lost 2-1 at eventual winners, Bayern Munich.

Berlin Derby and a Winning Run

Union’s display in Munich was more than credible, and they were unfortunate not to come away with a point after ending the game on top.

Undeterred, their next fixture would be the top-flights first ever Berlin derby between Union and Hertha. In what was naturally a feisty affair, Union secured the win from the spot three minutes from time from Sebastian Polter.

The following week, Union recorded their first away win of the campaign as Andersson scored twice in a 3-2 win at Mainz. Die Eisernen followed that up with a 2-0 win over table-topping Borussia Monchengladbach before losing at Schalke.

Mid-Season Inconsistencies

December brought just one win – 2-0 win at home to 1. FC Köln – before a draw at Paderborn and defeats against Hoffenheim and Fortuna Düsseldorf respectively.

The winter break gave Union time to reflect, but also time to look for improvements. Home form was clearly the strong point, with six wins from ten games. However, they had picked up just one win from nine away games, drawing twice.

They ended the winter break with a trip to Leipzig. Another defeat ensued, but they bounced back with victory over Augsburg.

Union were unable to repeat the heroics against Dortmund, falling to a 5-0 defeat. However, that would be their last defeat on the road before the coronavirus pandemic. Wins in Bremen and Frankfurt fell either side of an unfortunate defeat at home to Bayer Leverkusen, before picking up a point in a 2-2 draw at home to Wolfsburg.

There were cracks, however. Against Wolfsburg, Union let a two-goal lead slip, and they suffered defeat at Freiburg in the final game before the leagues’ suspension.

Union Berlin After Bundesliga Restart

It didn’t matter on the team, the form or the occasion, no one knew how one another would fare after the restart. And although the Bundesliga was the first of Europe’s ‘Top 5’ leagues to resume, there was still two and a half months without any action.

Despite that, Union opened up with a home game against Bayern. In what would have been an electric and intimidating atmosphere, Die Eisernen were unable to get past the visitors, who would have been slightly flattered by the 2-0 victory.

Including the Bayern loss, Union would fail to win in six games after the restart. However, the worst result would come after the Bayern defeat but in the same city.

Although Union won the bragging rights following the first-ever top-flight Berlin derby, Hertha taught the Reds a lesson or two at the Olympiastadion. Hertha, under new management after the break, saw off Fischer’s side 4-0, despite the game being goalless at the break.

Successive 1-1 home draws against Mainz and Schalke fell either side of a 4-1 drubbing at Monchengladbach.

Union got their first win after lockdown – a 2-1 victory at Köln – and their first victory in ten games. The result all but secured their Bundesliga status for a second season, but that was confirmed the following week with a 1-0 victory over Paderborn, sending their opponents down in the process.

Despite a 4-0 defeat at Hoffenheim, Union Berlin ended their Bundesliga season with a 3-0 win at home to Düsseldorf, also relegating them as a result.

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