Union Berlin managed their first Europa League win at the third attempt. Becker scored the lucky punch against Malmö after an almost 30-minute stoppage.
Union coach Urs Fischer, who had only been able to get out of the Corona quarantine in the morning, made changes in four positions after the 2-0 defeat in Frankfurt, bringing on Doekhi, Knoche, Ryerson and Schäfer for Jaeckel, Baumgartl, Gießelmann and Thorsby.
Union started bravely and attacked from the kick-off, but could not surprise the Swedes with an early goal as no finish found its way on goal. After an initial period of pressure, the visitors let Malmö have the ball and retreated in their usual manner to lurk on the counterattack. However, none of these switches bore fruit and the first dangerous goal was the home side’s. Ceesay missed from close range. Ceesay, however, missed the big chance from close range and found his master in Rönnow (16th).
The longer the game lasted, the more the Eisern dared to come out of their own half. It was almost logical that they created their own chances. Becker was the first to score (27th) after a counterattack; Haberer had the best chance when he shot just over after Becker’s artistic pass (37th).
Schäfer’s momentous stumble
The real excitement came just before the break when midfielder Schäfer, alone in the centre circle, stumbled and put the ball in the back of the net with his heel. Malmö captain Christiansen was quick as a flash, grabbed the ball – and could only be stopped by Schäfer pulling his shirt. Because he was the last man standing, the Hungarian was consequently shown the red card (45th).
Despite the dismissal, Union went into the second half unchanged, with Becker initially withdrawing a little and taking over the Hungarian’s position. Malmö were initially unable to capitalise on their superior number of players, the visitors continued to defend consistently and made their own pinpricks. Christiansen had the best chance for the Swedes, but Rönnow was again on the spot with a strong reflex (53rd).
Fireworks fly onto the pitch – referee Meler interrupts the game
However, sporting matters were once again pushed into the background: because fireworks flew onto the pitch, referee Meler had to interrupt the game (57th). Only after a break of more than 25 minutes, during which the stewards cleared an entire block and the groups of fans had to be calmed down, could the ball start rolling again.
After a short warm-up phase, the ball could roll again – fortunately for the guests. Out of a phase of pressure from Malmö, the Köpenicker counterattacked cleanly via Becker, who, after a dream pass from Knoche, appeared free in front of goalkeeper Diawara. From close range, the striker didn’t need to be asked twice and shot in for the lead (68th).
Rallies fail to materialise – Union land first win
The Swedes failed to put the decimated Berliners under any more pressure in the closing stages – a dangerous finish on Rönnow’s goal was not possible. The result was Union’s first Europa League win, while Malmö remained without a point at the bottom of the table.
The Swedes continue their Swedish league campaign on Sunday at 3 pm against IFK Värnamo. The Eisern are also challenged on Sunday: They travel to Stuttgart for an away match. In the Europa League, the two teams will meet again in just one week for the second leg (13 October, 9 p.m.).