Borussia Dortmund welcomed Union Berlin to the Signal Iduna Park on Saturday afternoon, as part of the Bundesliga’s Super Saturday that also saw Bayern Munich travel to SC Freiburg. With all of the top four teams playing each other, there was the very real possibility that these two fixtures could dictate the standings at the end of the season.
BVB: Kobel; Guerreiro, Hummels, Süle, Ryerson; Brandt, Can, Bellingham; Adeyemi, Haller, Malen
FCU: Rønnow; Doekhi, Knoche, Jaeckel; Gießelmann, Haberer, Khedira, Thorsby, Juranović; Becker, Behrens
Niklas Süle was penalised with in the first few minutes for a foul on Union Berlin’s Sheraldo Becker – and that served as a potential indicator for the feisty clash we could see unfold in front of over eighty-thousand fans at the Signal Iduna Park.
It was die Schwarzgelben that had the first chance to open the scoring as Robin Knoche’s clearance sent the ball out for a corner – which Raphaël Guerreiro delivered to the near post, but Mats Hummels’ headed effort was sent high and wide of the target.
Dortmund were shown the second yellow card of the game, as Karim Adeyemi found himself in the referee’s book for simulation. The forward had surged into the box, and looked to cut back inside before falling to the floor after supposed contact with Paul Jaeckel – but replays showed that the contact was minimal and the BVB frontman went down far too easily.
Jude Bellingham felt that the hosts should have been awarded a penalty with just over twenty minutes on the clock, as the Englishman found his way into the box before being caught by Knoche. Unfortunately for die Borussen, the contact was outside the area.
Another chance followed soon after for BVB though, as they won a free-kick on the right touchline. Julian Brandt’s delivery found Hummels at the far post, but the defender’s header was sent back across the goalmouth before being cleared by Danilho Doekhi.
Dortmund’s pressure finally paid off in the 28th minute, as Donyell Malen fired home to put Edin Terzić’s side ahead. Jude Bellingham initiated the play, finding Guerreiro on the left flank – and the Portuguese wing-back’s cross into the box was met beautifully by Malen at the far post. That goal could prove to be huge, not just in this fixture but for the title race!
That seemed to give the hosts even more confidence to probe further forwards, and they nearly found a second soon after as Guerreiro’s strike whistled just over the crossbar. Union forced Gregor Kobel into action too though, as the Swiss ‘keeper punched Juranović’s cross away from danger.
Dortmund’s search for a second before half-time continued, as Bellingham worked his way forwards before laying the ball off to Donyell Malen. The goalscorer opted to cross it back to Sébastien Haller, but the striker’s header from a central position was caught comfortably by Frederik Rønnow.
Guerreiro was having a brilliant game on the left flank for Dortmund, and he looked to get involved once again before the break as he sent a pacy cross to Haller at the far post. Rønnow was able to deny the Ivorian’s headed effort – but Malen picked the ball up on the edge of the penalty area. The goalscorer looked to bag a first-half brace, but his low strike was sent wide of the left post.
Kevin Behrens and Sheraldo Becker both picked up yellow cards at the start of the second half for two separate incidents, but Urs Fischer won’t care all too much about that as Behrens found the equaliser in the 61st minute. The striker flicked the ball on towards Becker, before receiving it back after making a great run. Behrens then tucked it past Kobel, sending the away end at the Signal Iduna Park into raptures.
Union Berlin seemed much more threatening after that goal, and they looked for a second ten minutes later as Becker received a long ball. The forward prepared to shoot, but Guerreiro was once again ready to make a sliding challenge and clear the danger for die Schwarzgelben’s defence.
Haller came close to restoring the hosts’ lead a few moments later, rising highest inside the box to meet Julian Brandt’s corner – but his headed effort deflected off the shoulder of Paul Jaeckel and into the safe hands of Rønnow.
Marco Reus found Youssoufa Moukoko free in space, playing a lovely through ball to the young forward – who tucked his strike round Rønnow to put Borussia Dortmund ahead once more! The visitors had been impressive in the second half though, and with just over ten minutes left to play, they could well bag another leveller.
It wasn’t meant to be for die Eisernen though, and they were lucky not to concede a third as Jamie Bynoe-Gittens’s late strike was tipped past the post by Frederik Rønnow. Ultimately though, Edin Terzić’s side ran out 2-1 winners after an impressive performance in front of a packed home crowd. BVB remain second in the Bundesliga, while Union Berlin hold on to their third-place spot.
Dortmund will travel to VfB Stuttgart next weekend, while Union Berlin welcome VfL Bochum to the Stadion An der Alten Försterei. Bochum sit in fourteenth, while Stuttgart are rock-bottom in the standings – so it’s yet another great opportunity for both Dortmund and Union to pick up key points.