Thursday, June 20, 2024

Union Berlin survive Bundesliga relegation after stoppage-time winner against Freiburg

SoccerNews in Bundesliga 18 May 2024

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Union Berlin scored a stoppage-time winner against Freiburg to secure their Bundesliga safety, despite missing two penalties on a dramatic final day.

Marco Grote’s side, who participated in the Champions League during the first half of this season under former coach Urs Fischer, occupied the relegation play-off spot heading into the final day of the campaign.

Just three points clear of 17th-place Koln, who travelled to Heidenheim, they welcomed Freiburg to Stadion An der Alten Forsterei, knowing a defeat could spell the end of their five-year stay in the German top flight.

Mainz, two points clear of Union in 15th, moved themselves out of the relegation picture with a commanding 3-1 win at Wolfsburg.

That meant one of Union, Bochum or Koln would join already relegated Darmstadt in the second tier. One would have to settle for a play-off place, while the other would survive.

Koln went down 4-1 at Heidenheim, while Bochum’s defeat at Werder Bremen by the same scoreline meant Union could leapfrog them with victory over Freiburg.

The hosts, for whom Josip Juranovic missed a first-half penalty, broke the deadlock in the 68th minute through Benedict Hollerbach.

However, they looked set for a relegation play-off when Ritsu Doan equalised for the visitors with five minutes remaining, before substitute Kevin Volland struck the post with his spot-kick early in stoppage time.

Nevertheless, there was to be a dramatic late twist as Janik Haberer struck in the 92nd minute to catapult Union out of the bottom three and to safety in 15th place.

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