Union Berlin 1-0 Paderborn: Berlin secure Bundesliga status as Paderborn are relegated
Grischa Prömel of Berlin battles for the ball with Streli Mamba of Paderborn. (Photo by Pool/Kay Nietfeld/Pool via Getty Images)

nionIt was an evening of contrasting fortunes at the Stadion An der Alten Forsterei where Union Berlin beat Paderborn 1-0.

The joy was evident on the faces of the Union players and staff, who have given the club a wonderful chance to establish themselves as a top-flight side for years to come.

Joy and despair in Berlin

It is a remarkable achievement by Urs Fischer to guide his side to Bundesliga safety with two games to spare. The only downside for Union is that they could not share this historic moment with their fans in the stadium many of them had built with their own hands.

It is a result however that means Paderborn’s Bundesliga journey has come to an end, and they will be playing 2. Bundesliga football next season. The writing has been on the wall for some time, but that does not make it any less painful for the players and fans.

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Union Berlin looked comfortable 

Union always looked in control during the first half. The clearest chance fell to left back Ken Reichel. He latched onto Sebastian Andersson’s pass after a sweeping move and shot at Leopold Zingerle.

The keeper parried, and Reichel then hit a tame follow up into Zingerle’s arms, even though a furious Marcus Ingvartsen was in acres of space to Reichel’s right.

The breakthrough came for Union in the 26th minute, with Christopher Trimmel continuing his remarkable assist record. He floated a free kick in from the left, which ended up being glanced into the far corner by Paderborn forward Ben Zolinski.

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That was Trimmel’s ninth assist of the season from a set piece, which is more than anyone else in Europe’s top five leagues. The next best is Liverpool’s Trent Alexander Arnold with seven.

The second half started with a bang, quite literally for Union defender Keven Schlotterbeck. A powerful shot from Sebastian Vasiliadis hit the Union man right where no man wants to be hit, and it took him a short while to recover.

Paderborn’s clearest chance came just before the hour mark when Marlon Ritter played a gorgeous defence-splitting pass to Zolinski, but his shot was saved.

Paderborn continued to apply pressure and put up a spirited fight, but they didn’t have the quality to break Union down. It was clear the players knew their fate.

Robert Andrich and Ingvartsen both missed great chances to seal the points towards the end of the game, but Union always looked comfortable that they could see the game out.

The hunt for Hertha

Union now sit in 12th place and are level on points (38) with city rivals Hertha Berlin. This means the objective of finishing above Hertha is still there to be achieved.

Their two remaining fixtures are away at Hoffenheim and at home to Fortuna Dusseldorf, so it’s possible they could have a very strong finish to the campaign.

For Paderborn, the table makes for grim reading. They’ve registered only 20 points, and the gap to 15th is 11 points. By tomorrow evening, that gap could be up to 14.

Man of the match - Marius Butler

It was a game that lacked stand out performers, but Union's Marius Bulter was very threatening despite only playing 60 minutes. 

He tested Zingerle in the Paderborn net multiple times in the first half, and glanced a good header just wide from distance. 

His tenacity and work rate was key to Union's effective pressing, and it put Paderborn's defenders under constant pressure.

All in all, it was a very solid showing from Butler.