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Union's European woes continue with another 0-1 loss

By Peter Vice   @ViceytheSS

Bundesliga table-toppers 1. FC Union Berlin continued their poor start to their European campaign on Thursday, dropping their second consecutive 0-1 fixture to Sporting Braga at the Municipal in Portugal.
Urs Fischer.
Urs Fischer.Photo: Илья Хохлов, Football.ua, CC BY-SA 3.0
FC Union Berlin may be entering the 2022/23 German Bundesliga's 7th matchday as league leaders, but their inaugural Europa League campaign remains a complete bust. Seven days after falling 0-1 to Union St. Gilloise on the home turf, Urs Fischer's Köpenickers have lost to Sporting Braga in Portugal by the same scoreline. Braga and St. Gilloise lead the Europa League's Group D with six points, while Union and Sweden's Malmö FF remain pointless.


Eisernen trainer Fischer made just one change to his outfield from this weekend's narrow 1-0 win over Köln. Polish defender Tymoteusz Puchacz finally made his competitive debut for the club this season in the left-wingback slot. Squad captain Christopher Trimmel began on the bench. In-between the sticks, Danish keeper Frederik Rønnow was already back-in-action after having to sit out the weekend encounter with a knee knock. Rønnow started over Lennart Grill.

The German guests certainly began proceedings with a healthy impetus forward. A lack of coordination in the attack was nevertheless apparent as the the Köpenickers had difficulty staying onside. Braga were also playing a tight offside trap that snapped shut whenever the ball came near attackers Becker or Jordan. Union weren't able to generate a chance that counted until former Braga loanee Diogo Leite headed a corner wide in the 15th.

Quality chances remained rare throughout the opening 45. The FCU's American striker headed wide in the 25th. Puchacz and Andras Schäfer were able to furnish some minor opportunities before it was time to head into the tunnel. At the other end of the pitch Rønnow was able to ensure that the half-time scoreline remained 0-0 with a skillful foot save at 45+2.

Julian Ryerson spurned a gilt-edged opportunity one minute after the restart. The Norwegian sent a powerful shot from the half-right just wide after Jordan himself took too many touches on a well-played ball into the box. Unfortunately, the rigors start to proceedings didn't translate to a better half. the game degenerated into a sloppy and foul-laden mess with little of note to discuss.

The Portuguese hosts were finally able to break through in the 77th. Rønnow parried a long range shot directly into the path of young winger "Vitinha". Braga's no. 99 happily accepted the gift and pounded the ball into the room of the net. Union were unable to muster up a response despite the fact that Trimmel later came on and furnished a few decent set-piece services.


In the other Thursday 21:00 kickoff involving a German team on the European stage, there was a wild six-goal affair over at Köln's RheinEnergieStadion. Steffen Baumgart's Geißböcke blew a 2-0 half-time lead, but were still able to secure a 4-2 victory in the Conference League. Earlier in the day, SC Freiburg continued their perfect start to their UEL campaign with a 3-0 win over Olympiacos 

So it was that another mixed week for Bundesliga sides representing the Bundesrepublik on the European stage concluded. The round got off to a near perfect start on Tuesday with Bayern, Frankfurt, and Leverkusen all winning their Champions' League matchday 2 ties. Julian Nagelsmann's FCB made a profound statement with their 2-0 win over FC Barcelona.

In a match that was somewhat marred by unfortunate scenes in the stands, the German Eagles of Eintracht were able to secure their first-ever Champions' League win 1-0 over Marseille. Leverkusen earned just their second victory across all competitions this year with their 2-0 win over Atletico. Leverkusen head back to work against Bremen this weekend, second-to-last in the table.

It was heartbreak for Dortmund on Wednesday when former BVB striker Erling Haaland scored the late winner against his former team. Edin Terzic's presumed title challengers have now lost two on the spin heading into the weekend's big "Revierderby Reunion with newly promoted side FC Schalke 04. The team that bested Dortmund last weekend, RB, Leizpig, also fell 0-2 to Real Madrid.


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