Victory and top: Unions Baumgartl celebrates emotional return

Berlin (AP) – Coach Urs Fischer stretched his thumbs up in front of the euphoric fans, but Timo Baumgartl received the biggest applause on the lap of honor of the surprising Bundesliga leader.

The central defender of 1. FC Union Berlin experienced a very special return just over four months after his testicular cancer became known. “That’s exactly what I dreamed of all the time during the chemo,” Baumgartl said after the 2-0 (0-0) home win against VfL Wolfsburg , “These are emotional moments for me.” And not only for him.

“It’s also for everyone I met on the oncology ward,” said the 26-year-old at DAZN and reported: “So many have written to me that they are proud and that it gives them positive input that I I’m back on the pitch now. I did it for all of them.” When asked whether he was still missing something to be able to perform at his best, Baumgartl answered jokingly with a counter-question: “Apart from my second testicle, you mean?”

Union five points ahead of Bayern

Baumgartl’s 62-minute return was just good news for Union. With the hard-fought, but in the end deserved victory, the Köpenickers successfully defended the lead in the table they had conquered the previous week. The team goes into the international break with a two-point lead over Borussia Dortmund and even five points over record champions FC Bayern Munich.

The performance was “impressive”, said Fischer afterwards, “we were greedy in the penalty area again.” This was particularly true of the new dream duo of the Berliners: First, Sheraldo Becker prepared Jordan Siebatcheu’s opening goal (54th minute), then the 27-year-old scored the goal to make it 2-0 himself. “The coach said: Go more one-on-one, and that’s what I did,” said Becker.

14 games without defeat across the season

The Irons are now unbeaten in the league for 14 games across all seasons. Like last weekend against Cologne, they immediately found their way back to success after a Europa League defeat on Thursday. “You can tell that we have self-confidence and that a defeat like in the European Cup won’t knock us out,” said Baumgartl.

Wolfsburg, on the other hand, suffered a setback after their first league win against Frankfurt a week ago and slipped down to a relegation zone. “We played far too well,” criticized VfL coach Niko Kovac, “we were too harmless up front.” Captain Maximilian Arnold is hoping for a change of mood in the next two weeks: “It’s hurting at the moment. We have to collect ourselves during the international break and then we can continue.”

Union fans scoff: “Without Kruse you have no chance”

Max Kruse, who only moved from Berlin to Wolfsburg in the winter under a lot of attention, was not seen in the stadium in the game against his ex-club. “You don’t have a chance without Kruse,” sang the Union fans mockingly.

Kovac, a native of Berlin, had warned of Union’s intensity before the game – and yet his players seemed surprised at first. After just 42 seconds, Janik Haberer tested VfL keeper Koen Casteels with a volley after a long ball. Shortly thereafter, Becker shot over the goal from a corner from the edge of the penalty area (4′).

Even after that, the Berliners retained control, but the offensive efforts on both sides remained too imprecise. The Wolfsburg were harmless, Josip Brekalo’s attempt from a tight angle was the best chance for the Wolves in the first half (32nd).

In the second half, the Berliners became significantly stronger and their storm duo struck: Becker crossed from the left wing, Siebatcheu placed his header perfectly into the corner. The third league goal for the 26-year-old, Becker’s third template. Becker then made the decision after a nice pass over the defensive line from substitute Paul Seguin.

© dpa-infocom, dpa:220918-99-808616/6

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