Union Berlin will be playing European football next season after Die Eisernen ended their Bundesliga campaign in seventh place. It’s a remarkable achievement for the club, having only reached the top flight for the first time in their history at the start of last season. Union Berlin in Europe – it’s happening!
Union Berlin in Europe: Club Qualify for Europa Conference League
From Lower Echelons of German Football to European Qualification
As recently as 2009, Union Berlin were playing their football in the 3. Liga. Fast forward 12 years and Die Eisernen have secured European football in just their second-ever top-flight season.
Led from the second tier under the stewardship of Urs Fischer, the Swiss manager also guided the club to a respectable position in their maiden Bundesliga campaign.
This season, Union have finished the campaign in seventh place, just two points behind Bayer Leverkusen in sixth.
Late Drama in Win Over RB Leipzig
Their quest for European qualification went down to the final day but it was in Union’s hands. Union just needed to better Borussia Monchengladbach’s result to qualify for next season’s European Conference League.
With Die Fohlen winning 4-2 at already relegated Werder Bremen, Union had the difficult task of facing second-placed RB Leipzig.
With the scores level at the break, Union fell behind just ten minutes into the second half. However, with supporters in attendance at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei, the home spirit was crucial.
An equaliser from defender Marvin Friedrich epitomised that spirit before Max Kruse, the man of the season, sealed the win in stoppage time.
No Second Season Syndrome
For many newly promoted sides, a sense of overachievement in their first season is often followed by a poor second campaign. However, at Union, it has almost been the opposite.
Although the club were never in fear of relegation last season, it was a campaign of struggles at times. But this season, the club have grown, the signings have been better and there has been a general sense of improvement on all levels, which has been shown by their results on the pitch.
Home Form Key to Impressive Campaign
The majority of those results on the pitch came at home, where Union lost just once from their 17 league matches at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei.
Only four teams in the division lost fewer than Unions’ eight losses all season, while Die Eisernen also had the fourth-best defence in the Bundesliga.