Real Madrid 1-0 Union Berlin: Jude Bellingham saves the day with last minute drama

Today’s date will be permanently etched into the history of Union Berlin, as it marks the first ever UEFA Champions League fixture for the club, after playing in the Conference League and Europa League in successive seasons.

They arrived in Madrid having lost their past two games, and while they’d be hoping to get something out of this game today, their opposition would certainly make that difficult. Real Madrid have won their first five league games, conceding only three goals thus far. A decisive Real Madrid victory would certainly be expected tonight, but Union wouldn’t roll over and gift the three points to los Blancos. 

RMA: Kepa; Alaba, Nacho, Rüdiger, Vázquez; Camavinga, Modrić, Tchouaméni; Bellingham; Joselu, Rodrygo

FCU: Rønnow; Leite, Doekhi, Bonucci; Gosens, Laïdouni, Král, Tousart, Juranović; Behrens, Becker

The opening fixture of Group C started quickly, with opportunities for both sides arising in the first few minutes. Union’s first chance came when Becker received a through ball, beating the back line. He tried to square the ball to Behrens – but Rüdiger managed to recover.

Real Madrid then quickly responded with Joselu’s header almost finding the corner of the net, but Rønnow’s fast reactions meant he could get down and keep the ball out. 

The subsequent 15 minutes were much quieter – Madrid held onto the ball for most of the period, but struggled to find any openings within the solid Union defence. Things began to heat up just before the break with the home side getting a number of shots off, however nothing came from these chances. With only one of Madrid’s 14 first-half shots on target, it wasn’t a shock that the game was goalless going into half time. 

The second half began with an Union chance but Die Eiserner couldn’t turn it into a goal, with Gosens’ effort slamming against the side-netting. Some quick counter attacking football almost then led to a Madrid goal, but the cross was just out of Bellingham’s reach. The pressure then continued and, after a flurry of shots, Rodrygo struck the post. 

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Despite Madrid’s domination in the second period, Union’s defence held on determined to hold onto the point. It remained goalless after 90 minutes, and a draw looked almost inevitable. Union continued to defend desperately, powered on by their travelling fans who had been drowning out the home supporters for the entire game. 

In the 93rd minute, Real Madrid finally prevailed after a defensive slip up from the away side. A corner was played to Valverde and the closing Fofana slipped, leaving the Real Madrid midfielder with an acre of space. He powered an effort towards goal, and after a series of deflections and blocks, the ball fell to Jude Bellingham who was now only a couple of yards away from the open net. He slammed the ball into the empty net to make the score 1-0, crushing the hearts of the Union players and fans. 

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In the end, it was a deserved win for Real Madrid who had dominated most of the game and los Blancos will be grateful to have all three available points going into their potentially challenging clash with Napoli on the 3rd of October.

Despite the result, Union Berlin will be reasonably content with the result, as many people expected them to be in for a thrashing and they’ll definitely be going into the Braga fixture hopeful of being able to win their first Champions League game.