A fabulous tit-for-tat showdown at the Stadion An der alten Försterei ended with Eintracht Frankfurt and 1. FC Union Berlin splitting the difference.
|Martin Hinteregger (right).||Photo: Werner100359, CC BY-SA 4.0|
Tensions ran high in the SGE camp after trainer Adi Hütter threw down the gauntlet and expressly forbade his team from losing a crucial encounter. Hütter returned to his trademark 3-5-2 formation, yet still surprised many by selecting both Erik Durm and Djibril Sow for the second successive week. Union coach Urs Fischer stuck with exact same XI from last week's 2-1 win over Köln.
It only took two minutes for the Köpenick hosts to rush out in front. A howler from Eintracht keeper Kevin Trapp left Martin Hinteregger and Robert Andrich in a footrace to tend to a ball headed towards an unguarded net. Andrich got their first for the 1-0.
Less than two minutes later, Hinteregger hauled down Berlin's Taiwo Awoniyi in the box. After a VAR review, Max Kruse converted the ensuing penalty in the 6th to put Frankfurt 0-2 behind. Cameras fixated on the Eintracht coach as he shook his head in disbelief.
For his part, keeper Trapp recovered and ultimately prevented Union from running away with the match. Saves on Awoniyi in the 11th and 15th preserved the scoreline. Kruse got a monster chance in as well.
The SGE settled down and begun to build their own attacks around the 20th. Filip Kostic unleashed a laser, unfortunately inadvertently blocked by teammate Bas Dost. André Silva would pull a goal back in the 27th. Daichi Kamada's diagonal ball set the Portuguese striker up. Union backstop Andreas Luthe might have done better on the play.
Ten minutes later, Silva would head home the equalizer with a very flashy swivel header off of Kostic's free-kick. Union had blown a two-goal lead, surely earning the ire of their coach as they headed into the dressing room.
Whatever Fischer told his crew over the break, it appeared to work. The Eisernen began the second half shot out of a cannon. Multiple quality attacks yielded a string of uninterrupted goal-scoring chances between the 47th and 51st. Kostic and Dost linked up to generate a quality shot on target at the other end after a 52nd minute counter.
A lull then gave way to a rather destructive period between the 57th and 73rd. Players on both sides fought hard physical battles, resulting in six caution cards being shown by referee Tobias Reichel. After Silva delivered two loud knuckle wraps on the door in the 68th and 75th, Kamada picked out Bas Dost with a fine cross in the 79th. The Dutchmen suddenly put die Adler ahead with their third unanswered goal.
Max Kruse simply wasn't having it, however. The Bundesliga's arguably most on-fire player latched onto a Christopher Trimmel service and supplied a jaw-dropping technical finish from 20 meters out. The sides traded more chances after the 82nd minute equalizer, but simply could not be separated on this day.
Elsewhere around the Bundesliga's 15:30 kickoffs, a brave Stuttgart team held their own against record champions FC Bayern München before falling 1-3. RB Leipzig held off pesky challengers Bielefeld to prevail 2-1. Augsburg and Freiburg also couldn't produce a winner. The two sides drew 1-1.
In the biggest news of this Saturday afternoon, die Geißböcke of 1. FC Köln finally snapped their 18-match-winless streak against the most unlikeliest of opponents. Ellyes Skhiri nabbed a brace with tallies off of two corners as Markus Gisdol's men bested Borussia Dortmund 2-1.