Germany: Bundesliga
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Union Berlin
Schalke 04
By Ultan Corcoran@UltanCorcoran

Schalke resilient as Union miss chance to go top

After Bayern’s slip up in Gladbach, Union Berlin were afforded the chance to regain command of the Bundesliga summit when they hosted Schalke today.

Although Schalke’s form has seen improvement, they faced a stern test in the German capital for Matchday 21 as Union remain unbeaten in 2023.

However, the Köpenick side couldn’t get past a resilient Schalke defence who held out for yet another 0-0 draw. As a result, Union passed up their chance to return to the top for the first time since Matchday 12.
The majority of threat inside the opening quarter of an hour came through Union skipper Christopher Trimmel. The wing-back’s deliveries from the flank placed Schalke’s defence under a lot of pressure. However, Fährmann wasn’t required to act until the 23rd minute, tipping over a menacing Doekhi strike destined for the top corner.

There was disappointment for Schalke winter signing Jere Uronen as his involvement was curtailed by injury – Thomas Ouwejan deputised thereafter. While Schalke never looked like scoring, Reis’ men were doing a fine job of disrupting Union’s play. It remained deadlocked at the break after an uneventful half which boasted only five combined shots between the teams.

The opening 15 minutes showed no sign of offensive improvement for Union so Urs Fischer was forced to act. Sheraldo Becker, who was rested after their midweek Ajax encounter, replaced Sven Michel up top. It wasn’t long before Laidouni and Behrens made way for Seguin and Jordan Pefok too.

Ex-Unioner Marius Bülter, with his direct running, proved to be a real bright spark for ‘Die Königsblauen’. Union’s first big chance of note in the second-half came on 78 minutes – Seguin stung the hands of Fährmann but it was as routine as it got for the 34-year-old. The game continued in a very fragmented manner right until the final minute of normal time. With Trimmel’s final corner and Roussillion’s last-gasp effort blasted into a crowded penalty area, it finished in stalemate and a share of the points in Köpenick.

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