Best dream goal ensures Heidenheim win against Union
Union ends September without a point after a defeat in Heidenheim. The promoted team, on the other hand, is busy collecting in the relegation battle – and can rely on a standard specialist.
Coach Urs Fischer’s team lost 0-1 (0-0) at 1. FC Heidenheim thanks to a dream goal from Jan-Niklas Beste and therefore remained without a point for the entire month of September. The best free kick taken (59th minute) in front of 15,000 spectators decided a Bundesliga game at eye level, in which Union, as in previous weeks, lacked penetration.
On Tuesday (6.45 p.m.) in the premier class against Sporting Braga and next Saturday (3.30 p.m.) in the league against Borussia Dortmund, the Köpenickers are already under increased pressure to succeed before the international break. Heidenheim, on the other hand, secured their second home win and moved past Union in the table. With seven points, the promoted team has now noticeably distanced itself from some of the more highly ranked teams.
For the capital city residents who traveled from the metropolis of four million inhabitants and most recently played in Madrid’s Santiago Bernabéu, the trip to tranquil Heidenheim must have felt unusual. A narrow street leads up to the Schlossberg, where the promoted team and Union met for the first time ever in the Bundesliga. After a 2:3 against Hoffenheim and a 4:2 against Bremen, the Heidenheim fans were hoping for goals and spectacle in the third home game in league history – at least the latter was on offer from the start.
Heidenheim acts courageously
Coach Frank Schmidt’s team immediately acted courageously. Offensive player Eren Dinkci (3rd) had the first chance. But Frederik Rönnow saved his shot, which was barely visible because of the pyrotechnics set off by Union fans. Tim Kleindienst (16th) also later missed an opportunity when he only hit the side netting. In general, the encounter became a game of goalkeepers early on. Not only Rönnow was convincing, but also Heidenheim’s Kevin Müller on the other side.
The veteran repeatedly defused shots from the Union offensive, which was agile but lacked the necessary precision and consistency in the penalty area. Müller thwarted the best chances against David Datro Fofana (15th), Kevin Behrens (34th) and Alex Kral (37th) and thus guaranteed a goalless draw at halftime. Fofana is emblematic of Union’s attack in recent weeks: The youngster is active and trying, but the last bit is missing – it’s been like this for a few weeks.
Hot after the break
After the break things got heated: a duel in the penalty area between European champion Leonardo Bonucci and Marvin Pieringer caused debate. Pieringer called for a penalty, Bonucci a warning for swallowing. Referee Sascha Stegemann let the game run its course. Union’s star signing Bonucci caused a penalty against Hoffenheim just a week ago.
Shortly afterwards, set-piece specialist Beste’s big moment came: the 24-year-old shot a free kick from 20 meters perfectly under the crossbar into the top left corner of the goal. The Dane Rönnow had no chance. Union didn’t give up and tried to bring about a late turnaround with a three-man change. But in the end, Köpenick’s attack once again had zero.