On Sunday afternoon Union Berlin celebrated fifty years of being named Union and, in doing so, managed to celebrate in fine style by dispatching their guests, Hannover 96 and grabbing all three points in a 3-1 win.
Hannover 96 travelled to the Stadion An der Alten Försterei knowing a win would see them jump from third to first in the table. Despite having that prize dangling in front of their eyes Hannover had to be careful against Union side that sat in sixth place and hasn't tasted defeat at home for almost a year, their last loss at home came on the 24th of October 2015.
Intense first half fails to provide goals
The game got off to an excellent start as the ball quickly ended up in the back of the Union net inside the first minute, a cross from the right saw Felix Kroos direct the ball into his own net. Fortunately for Kroos and his side, a free-kick was correctly awarded after Iver Fossum pushed the midfielder.
The first real threatening effort on goal came in the fourteenth minute and it fell to the home side, Kroos delivered an excellent corner which allowed Roberto Punčec to leap the highest and his header rattled the crossbar before going over. In doing so the Croatian clashed heads and needed a moment to recover.
A minute after Union's chance Hannover came close to scoring themselves, Kenan Karaman crossed from the left and his lovely ball found an unmarked Artur Sobiech, the Pole failed to test Jakob Busk Jensen after only getting minimal contact on the cross. Fossum was at the back post to play the ball back into the danger area, however the Norwegian was just offside.
Both sides were not showing how you should play the passing game as both failed to keep hold of possession and the passing accuracy was rather poor, however luckily for the home side they had Kroos on the pitch to provide some quality. Just after the half hour mark Kroos picked up the ball out on the right and his delightful ball picked out Damir Kreilach at the far post, unfortunately the midfielder wasn't quite tall enough and directed the cross wide.
The last chance of the first half fell to Union Berlin and it was the closest both sides came to an opener. Kroos switched the play with his freekick and given space was Steven Skrzybski, who was allowed to control and fire towards goal, his effort swerved towards the near post and was saved by the fingertips of Philipp Tschauner.
Keller's killer move work's wonders
Early in the the second half provided a couple of half chances for both sides, however none that threatened either keepers, the second half wasn't as intense as the first and more chances were created. Sadly ten minutes into the half play was stopped after a pyro show from the away supporters caused smoke to make it's way onto the pitch.
Once play resumed the entertainment continued and the away side came agonisingly close to opening the scoring. Just after the hour mark Felix Klaus fired in a wonderful low ball across the Union area and at the back post Fossum slid in, however he couldn't get enough contact to direct the ball on target.
The stop in play thanks to the Hannover fans was disappointing, however the game did improve after, the game was less intense and their were plenty more chances as both team's pushed for the three points.
As the game edged towards the last fifteen minutes both sides made changes and it was Union's change that proved to make the difference. Collin Quaner replaced Kenny Prince Redondo and a minute later he scored the opener. The ball came in from the right and after Quaner and Christopher Trimmel got in each other's way the ball fell perfectly for Quaner and the forward brilliantly finished past Tschauner.
Things went from bad to worse for Hannover as some poor defending lead to Union doubling their lead four minutes later. Quaner once more was at the heart of the move as he wonderfully steamed forward beating a number of players before cutting the ball back across goal, Skrzybski narrowly missed the ball, nevertheless Philipp Hosiner was unmarked towards the back post and his job was easy as he calmly slotted the ball home.
The officials added on eight minutes of injury time and as the game entered the added on time Skrzybski came very close to making it three, his effort from range narrowly flew just wide of Tschauner's post.
Hannover did manage to get themselves on the score sheet, however it was left too let. Sobiech managed to keep hold of possession before picking out Klaus who fired past Busk with his right-footed effort.
The game came to end soon after Hannover's goal and it was an opportunity missed for the former Bundesliga side as they missed out on the chance to go top, they still stay third however only by goal difference. Union Berlin go level on points with their opponents today with the victory and now find themselves just two points off top spot.