A new coach, old suffering – and a lot of frustration afterwards: In Nenad Bjelica’s first appearance, Union Berlin squandered a potential liberating blow despite leading for an hour, and after being eliminated from the Champions League, they may also have missed the minimum goal of qualifying for the Europa League.
The Berlin side finished 1-1 (1-0) in their away match against Sporting Braga on Wednesday, and as bottom of Group C, their chances of surviving the European Cup winter are very slim.
Robin Goossens recognizes the first handwriting of new coach Nenad Bjelica
The Union’s losing streak continues
In addition, the dreaded negative streak of 16 games without a hat-trick continued. Ahead of their final appearance in two weeks against Real Madrid, Union is two points behind the third-placed Portuguese, who are booking their ticket to the Europa League.
Union were already thinking about success: national player Robin Gosens (42nd) gave the Iron Men the lead after Braga’s Sikou Niakate received a red card (31st). Alvaro Gallo (51) scored for Braga at the beginning of the second half.
Gosens was sent off accordingly after the final whistle: “Now we have an all-or-nothing game against Real Madrid,” the veteran said. “The Champions League game is at home and we will give everything we have again, leaving our lives on the field again and hopefully we can somehow “There’s no getting the three points across the finish line.” DAZN.
Goossens: “Dying for others on the field”
Considering the influence of the new coach who has not yet been used: “It is not possible so quickly, two days will not help, it takes weeks.”
What we need now is “the mentality, the discipline, and the sheer will to die for the other person on the pitch.”
Bjelica, who was introduced on Sunday as successor to club icon Urs Fischer, made four changes to the starting line-up. The 52-year-old had declared that he wanted to play with great intensity and that high pressure would make Union a “very annoying opponent” again.
Bjelica faces the number zero at Union
The federalists tried hard to implement the Croatian’s instructions. The Union disrupted Braga deep in the opposition half. However, as recently as before, the Berliners have had difficulty handling the ball in a disorganized initial phase. Counter-attacks were poorly played, long balls often ended up in the home side’s hands, and Union barely got into the final third.
Braga, which has the best attack in the Portuguese League, also struggled deep down the pitch, but still had a good first chance. A sharp cross from Ricardo Horta fell to the foot of Simone Panza.
Left-back Jerome Roussillon blocked a direct shot from the defeated Frederic Renault (16th place). A little later, the Berliners were lucky when Gallo headed wide from an unmarked position (28th).
As Union became more vulnerable defensively in a sloppy first half with numerous interruptions, Niakate’s sending off gave room for more initiative – and Union took advantage.
The Union leaves its surplus unused
Roussillon was launched on the left wing and goalscorer Gosens served up – the Berliners could see the relief. The Köpenickers defended successfully collectively until the end of the first half.
Al-Ittihad lost momentum immediately after the break. The Berlin strikers counterattacked and Gallo equalised.
The uncertainty suddenly became noticeable again, as Braga narrowly missed out on Diallo (59th) and Horta (61st). Despite the majority, Berlin often lagged behind.
With Sports Information Service (SID)
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