A brace inside 21 minutes secured three points for Union Berlin as they brushed aside Borussia Dortmund at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei. A picture perfect performance, Urs Fischer’s side top the Bundesliga and begs the question as to whether Die Eisernen can go all the way. There’s also question marks about BVB.
It’s not just a mentality problem for Borussia Dortmund
For the first time this season, Edin Terzic opted to setup his Borussia Dortmund in a 3-5-2 formation to mirror Union Berlin. Speaking to DAZN pre-match, Terzic said that he wanted compete with their opponents in the duels. Unfortunately for them, Gregor Kobel’s slip allowed Janik Haberer to score into an empty net after eight minutes. After 21, Haberer had his second of the afternoon, scoring from outside of the box after Union capitalised from Karim Adeyemi losing the ball in midfield.
For some time, Borussia Dortmund’s mentality has been questioned. With four 1-0 wins in their opening seven Bundesliga games, it was suggested that we’d seen a shift and that they could in fact win ugly. In truth, BVB haven’t improved despite four wins from their opening five league games but in fact, they lack the quality. Under Terzic, BVB are still finding an identity. And 10 games into the Bundesliga season, that’s quite worrying.
Against Union, Terzic fielded just two attacking players (Karim Adeyemi and Youssoufa Moukoko). On the bench: Marco Reus, Julian Brandt, Donyell Malen, Thorgan Hazard and Gio Reyna. Against a team that knowingly like to sit in a low block, Borussia Dortmund lacked creativity and quality when in possession. Too often we’ve seen them lack ideas in the final third and their latest performances have been no different. Granted, they’re playing a game every three days, but so are Union. With upcoming games against Stuttgart, Eintracht Frankfurt and Bochum, the next three fixtures are a must win.
Can Union Berlin win the Bundesliga?
At the time of writing, Union Berlin are five points clear of the Bundesliga. Should Bayern Munich beat Freiburg, who currently sit second, then that lead would still be four. Four of the top five are currently playing European football and so their schedules are packed but with fewer internationals, as Manuel Veth of the Gegenpressing Pod points out, the World Cup break in December could play in Union’s favour and begs the question, can they win it?
A back three of Timo Baumgartl, Robin Knoche and Diogo Leite ahead of Frederik Rønnow, Union have conceded just six goals in 10 Bundesliga games this season, boasting the league’s best defence. Going forward, Jordan Siebatcheu and Sheraldo Becker have created quite the understanding and are proving difficult for opposing defenders. In midfield, András Schäfer (23) put in a phenomenal performance against Borussia Dortmund and just doesn’t stop running. Urs Fischer’s side have taken seven points off Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig and with upcoming games against Bochum, Borussia Mönchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen, what’s to say this run couldn’t go on for a little long. Come May, Union Berlin may well just be up there at the end of the season. The dream lives on for Union fans.
GGFN | Daniel Pinder