1. FC Union Berlin lost 0-1 against SCC Napoli and suffered their third defeat in their third Champions League appearance.
This means that the Köpenickers are on the verge of elimination in the premier class; with three group games remaining, they are separated by six points from Napoli. With nine consecutive defeats, the Iron Men have set a new negative club record.
In a long-fought game, Giacomo Raspadori’s goal in the 65th minute made the decision. Union was the much more compelling team in the first half and only lacked the opening goal as a reward. Naples appeared clearly improved in the second half and efficiently used their best phase to score the winning goal. Union shouldn’t think of much after that.
Khedira supports coach Urs Fischer
“It doesn’t take much to lose against an opponent like that,” said Union captain Christopher Trimmel, explaining Naples’ efficiency in an interview with “DAZN” after the final whistle. Despite the result, the game was a “step in the right direction” for the right-back. The manner of the Köpenick appearance was good. “So it was a good answer to the Stuttgart game.”
Midfielder Rani Khedira also found the Union team’s performance appropriate. “We left our hearts on the pitch and showed all our virtues,” said the 29-year-old after the game. Nevertheless, he was annoyed that the Iron Men “did not defend a decisive action well.” According to him, Khedira does not allow a coaching discussion and publicly supports Urs Fischer. “He stays with himself, he stays objective. We will get out of this situation together,” he said.
Union starts powerfully
Fischer sought salvation in the pace of his team. Both the new double leadership of Sheraldo Becker and David Datro Fofana as well as the addition of Brenden Aaronsson should provide a lot of depth and dangerous moments in transition. And Köpenicker’s quick game immediately had an impact. Union looked very agile in the first few minutes of the game and played forward with determination. Opponents Naples struggled to set their own tone in the first ten minutes, but didn’t let any pressure build up.
In the minutes that followed, the Italians gained more control of the game through longer periods of possession. Union retreated a little further into their own half of the game and only occasionally had opportunities to attack. However, after 20 minutes there had not been any clear chances to score on either side, both defensive lines performed confidently – up to that point a balanced encounter characterized by duels. 72,000 fans watched in the rainy, red-lit Olympic Stadium.
Fofana almost gets what she deserves Half-time lead
An outstanding individual action by Union striker Fofana almost gave them the lead in the 24th minute. He dribbled his way through the Napoli defense on the right wing and set up for Janik Haberer. However, his goal was disallowed due to a narrow offside position.
Union played tactically disciplined and self-confident despite the series of defeats. The hosts repeatedly produced dangerous offensive moves – while Naples didn’t want to do too much with the ball. A lot of running, very active with the ball, always close to the opponent defensively – a good performance from Berlin. But useful chances from Fofana (37′) and Rani Khedira (39′) were not enough to take the lead at half-time. That would have been definitely deserved.
Napoli come out of the locker room clearly improved
Union also wanted to start the second half of the game visibly bravely, but the SSC (Società Sportiva Calcio) came out of the locker room significantly improved. Their players appeared more compelling, they got to the Union penalty area more quickly through more vertical play – the zone in which their offensive star Khvicha Kvaratskhelia can always be dangerous due to his dribbling strength. A more dynamic, wild exchange of blows developed within the first quarter of an hour than in the first half. However, there were no opportunities to score where the two goalkeepers would have had to intervene.
An exchange of blows that would work in Napoli’s favor in the 65th minute: Kvaratskhelia took advantage of the first scene in which he was not doubled by his opponents. After the SSC won the second ball, he prevailed on the left wing in a direct duel with Christopher Trimmel. The Georgian then moved unchallenged into the Union penalty area and fed Giacomo Raspadori. He only had to push in from a few meters. Naples thus took advantage of their best phase.
Union can no longer find an answer
The deficit seemed to have pulled the plug on the Berliners, who had previously been playing with passion. The triple substitution – Aissa Laidouni, Alex Kral and Kevin Behrens came into the game in the 70th minute – should no longer have any effect. The substitutions of Lucas Tousart and Kevin Volland in the 79th minute also faded. Naples clearly dominated the game, while Köpenick lost conviction and energy. And yet they almost equalized. The moved-up central defender Robin Knoche headed a cross from Trimmel just past the goal to the left (80th).
Naples carried the game confidently in the final phase. Standing low and with the help of various delays, the Italian champions stifled 1. FC Union’s last desperate attacks. Then it was over.
Broadcast: rbb24, October 25, 2023, 6 p.m