Bülter blasts Union forward
Union Berlin 2; Bülter (1.), Ingvartsen (84.)
After spending the morning in one of Berlin’s fine clubbing establishments I headed to the Union Tanke to meet up with a few lads I first met on an away day last season to have a bit of a lunchtime session. The Tanke is yet another part of going to the match that just adds to the charm of Union. There’s not much to describe about it really, as it is essentially an outdoor courtyard serving beer that doubles up as a meeting place for many Union fans. Thus our little lunchtime session. Union have previously talked about their ‘no frills’ attitude to football. This fundamentally comes from the fans themselves so it should be no surprise that it’s something that extends to outside the stadium too. It should be quite hard to mess up going to the football - though plenty of clubs still manage it - as the beauty lies in its simplicity. Let fans gather, let them have a drink, and let them get excited about what should be the highlight of the weekend.
And as we’re sat at the Tanke there is a lot of excitement. The mood is positive and pretty much everyone among the group is feeling pretty bullish about the chances of getting a result, even if we are playing a Freiburg team club flying high this season. There’s certainly no way you’d notice that this is a group of fans who’ve seen their team lose four on the bounce. There’s also been no discontent in the local press either and the whole thing feels pretty refreshing. I am certainly now an outsider looking in when it comes to England but I can’t help fight the feeling the atmosphere there would be a lot different and far more negative. Maybe it was the morning spent in the club that slightly loosened my emotions but there didn’t feel much pressure for what was a game most fans would have eyed up when the fixture list was announced as a game in which Union really should be picking up points.
I’ve had the honour of seeing some absolutely stonking long range goals at the Alte Försterei. Prömel against Hamburg and Polter against Kaiserslautern both immediately spring mind from recent years. There’s another one that unfortunately I have no idea who scored it, who it was against, or what season. I just know it was at the opposite end of the pitch to me but it went flying into the top right corner as you look at the goal from about 30 yards out. It’s so vivid I barely have to close my eyes to recall it. I only hope it did actually happen because it was an absolute belter. But this here’s a new one I can remember. You can add Bülter against Freiburg to that list, and quite frankly every list should have a 30 yard screamer inside the opening minute on it. The stadium, as always, went crazy.
From that point on the excitement levels only went one way. Union hit the post ten minutes later with another long shot, had a perfectly fine goal chalked off when Andersson had the temerity to simply jump higher than the goalkeeper – someone who can use their hands let’s not forget – to beat him to a deep cross, as well as forcing said goalkeeper into other good saves throughout the first half. This continued into the second half where Union dominated a Freiburg team who seemed to have given up all attempts at scoring a goal. The most pleasing aspect of all that was even after dominating the chances, a 1-0 lead could breed a lot of nervousness both on and off the pitch. However that nervousness never really materialised and the hard work was finally rewarded with another long range shot from Ingvartsen close to fulltime. Job done and the lunchtime session could be extended for another few hours.
In the build up to the game manager Urs Fischer said that it was time to get the points that the performances against Wolfsburg and Frankfurt had deserved. Likewise sporting director Oliver Ruhnert made a point of saying that Union could only keep talking about losing by the odd goal for so long, at some point they actually need to win games. This was an important test for Union and one they passed. The confidence that flowed through the team suggests that the four losses hasn’t had too much of a negative impact but also showed the players still have a real desire to show they can perform at this level and get the results they deserve.