First victory for Max Kruse (33) in his ex-weeks!
After the 2: 2 against his former club Gladbach, there is a 1: 0 against Union Berlin in the first reunion since his winter move to Wolfsburg. Freiburg, the next ex-club, will be waiting next Saturday.
Four days after entering the cup semi-finals (2-1 against St. Pauli), Union is experiencing a Bundesliga damper in the fight for Europe.
Strong anti-war action: The peace sign is chalked in the kick-off circle. As the players arrive, John Lennon’s “Give peace a chance” will be played. Wolfsburg wears the peace sign on the shirt chest instead of the VW logo.
Before and during the game (almost) everything revolves around Kruse.
When the video screen shows Kruse and the Wolfsburg players getting out of their team bus at 2:53 p.m., there are whistles from the Union block with around 2,500 fans. Exactly at 2.55 p.m. when Kruse and colleagues come out on the lawn to warm up.
3:24 p.m. it gets loud again: When Kruse is mentioned when the team line-ups are read out, there is another whistling concert from the Union supporters. As with every Kruse ball contact in the game.
The Berlin fans have not forgiven their former darling of the audience for the change on January 30th. Kruse played 38 Bundesliga games for Union, scoring 16 times, making him the historical top scorer for the “Iron” in the Bundesliga.
Among other reasons for the change: At VfL Kruse collects almost twice as much (around 3.8 million euros). In addition, his relationship with coach Urs Fischer was strained.
3rd minute: Schlager, who is making his comeback from the start after tearing his cruciate ligament, hits the ball against the Union post from around 18 meters.
14 minutes: Heintz had a chance right in front of goal — saved by Casteels.
22 minutes: Wolfsburg’s Bialek hits it — nice Luthe parade!
24 minutes: Bialek again! Header from five meters – another strong reaction from Luthe!
The corner right after: Arnold fires the ball in front of the goal — and striker Awoniyi deflects the ball into his own net at the first post with his head. The 1:0 in front of 15,703 spectators! Luthe comes out but can’t get the ball.
Awoniyi of all people, who was his storm buddy at Union until Kruse changed, gave Wolfsburg the win.
55 minutes: Becker shoots the ball in after Awioniyi preliminary work. Goal? No! Referee Ittrich decides that Awioniyi has fouled Arnold. As the saying goes: You can give, but you don’t have to…
62 minutes: Super header by Awioniyi — Brilliant save by Casteels.
69 minutes: Nmecha at the post from an acute angle. One of the few relief attacks by Wolfsburg. Union puts a lot more pressure.
85 minutes: Kruse is substituted. Union whistles again, but cheers from the VfL fans.
90th minute + 3: Union throws everything forward, even Luthe comes forward with the corner kick. It stays with the Wolfsburg victory…