0-1, Bbeou 56'.
1. FC Union Berlin 0-1 Fortuna Düsseldorf: Bebou strike moves Fortuna up to third

1. FC Union Berlin 0-1 Fortuna Düsseldorf: Bebou strike moves Fortuna up to third

It wasn't pretty by any means but the visitors won't mind.

Jonathan Walsh

Fortuna Düsseldorf earned a huge 1-0 win over 1. FC Union Berlin on Saturday afternoon, thanks to a superb effort from their defence and Ihlas Bebou's tap-in.

Team news

Union, who had to go the distance with Borussia Dortmund and fell agonisingly short in the shoot-out, freshened things up with six changes.

Daniel Mesenhöler, Michael Parensen, Felix Kroos, Eroll Zejnullahu, Kenny Prince Redondo and Collin Quaner dropped out, as Jakob Busk, Dennis Daube, Stephan Fürstner, Damir Kreilach, Philipp Hosiner and Simon Hedlund all earned starting berths.

As for Fortuna, their mid-week DFB-Pokal outing was one to forget. In a bid to wipe that memory away as quickly as possible, Funkel opted for four changes. Marcel Sobottka, Alexander MadlungArianit Ferati, Maecky Ngombo came out of the side for Robin Bormuth, Jerome Kiesewetter, Axel Bellinghausen, Rouwen Hennings.

Stalemate from the start

Unsurprisingly, the meeting between two of the form teams in the league brought caution in the early stages. A magnificent choreo from the home fans was followed by plenty of possession from their side, and a neat touch round the corner from Hosiner found Hedlund but Michael Rensing stopped the Swede from giving the hosts an early lead.

Union were by far the better side throughout the first half hour but creating chances against the Fortuna defence was proving a problem; the 6-1 defeat against Hannover 96 in the cup not a true reflection of their strength. Even when they tried to go long in a bid to breakthrough, Rensing dealt with the aerial ball comfortably.

The hosts continued to press but Fortuna managed to force a few moments of their own towards the end of the half. Ihlas Bebou started to look more lively but a really promising run was brought to an end by Toni Leistner's block tackle. Both were unable to find a way through before the break, as the first half ended goalless.

Bebou breakthrough

Union began the second half with the same control in which they ended the first, and were unlucky not to take the lead when a free-kick was headed out to the edge of the area. Leistner was the man that the ball fell for, and his sweet half-volley curled just past the far post. Daube also had a shot on goal, though it was easy pickings for Rensing.

However, it was Fortuna who went ahead. With Christopher Trimmel off injured and Christopher Quiring his replacement, the visitors took full advantage before the latter got up to speed. Some superb play by Lukas Schmitz saw him square to Rouwen Hennings, but for Busk to save; Bebou was on hand to tap in the rebound from two yards.

Both sides would have chances to add to the score-line after that, as Bebou amost grabbed a second. Instead he slipped and saw his shot edge just past the upright. At the other end it was a determined block by the brave Bormuth that prevented the in-form Steven Skrzbyski from levelling the scores for his side.

Union had one more chance to get the crucial equaliser but Kreilach headed wide from a very promising position. Jens Keller's men battered the visiting goal and were still denied, in what was a superb performance from the Fortuna defence to end the hosts' superb run.