BERLIN (AP) — Union Berlin’s fairy tale continues but Bayern Munich is lurking.
Janik Haberer scored twice for Union to upset Borussia Dortmund 2-0 and consolidate its early-season Bundesliga lead, while Bayern enjoyed a 5-0 rout of Freiburg on Sunday.
Haberer’s two first-half goals dealt Dortmund its fourth defeat from 10 games so far. The win lifted Union four points clear of Bayern at the top after 10 rounds – and seven points ahead of Dortmund.
Serge Gnabry, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Leroy Sané, Sadio Mané and Marcel Sabitzer all scored for Bayern to end Freiburg’s 11-game unbeaten streak across all competitions and replace the visitors in second place.
“Super Bayern, super Bayern,” the home fans sang as the Bavarian powerhouse emerged as Union’s main challenger even without the injured Manuel Neuer and Thomas Müller.
UNION ENJOYING THE MOMENT
Union coach Urs Fischer said supporters were entitled to celebrate and dream of winning the title but the club’s target remains 40 points and Bundesliga survival.
“German champion will only be FCU (Union Berlin),” the Union fans sang as their team stayed top for the fifth consecutive weekend with 23 points.
Fischer remains more cautious.
“I think if you set a target you should reach it before setting new ones,” said Fischer, who led Union to Bundesliga promotion through a playoff in 2019. “We’re not the ones who should dream, but who should retain focus.”
Union pushed forward from the start and Haberer got an early reward thanks to a mistake from Dortmund ’keeper Gregor Kobel in the eighth minute. Kobel slipped at an inopportune moment to give Haberer an easy finish.
The Union midfielder got his second goal in the 21st with a low shot inside the left post after Jordan Pefok laid the ball back after good interplay involving Sheraldo Becker.
Union should have gone on to score more goals as the home team dominated the opening half.
Dortmund was restricted to just two chances in the first 45 minutes, with the home team’s constant harrying forcing concessions and mistakes from the visitors. Union’s players challenged at every opportunity, winning most, and every 50-50 ball seemed to go their way.
It was exactly how Fischer wants his team to play. The Union coach received the loudest cheer of “Fußballgott (soccer god)” from appreciative home fans before the game began.
Dortmund counterpart Edin Terzić reacted with three changes at the break, including bringing on captain Marco Reus for his comeback from an ankle injury sustained in the Ruhr derby win over Schalke on Sept. 17.
Perhaps inevitably, Union’s intensity dropped and Dortmund had even more of the ball, though Fischer’s team still created the better chances.
Fischer was forced to change in the 67th when American forward Pefok limped from the field with an unspecified injury. The coach said afterward he didn’t know how serious it was and was still waiting for an update from medical staff.
Union’s fans rose to their feet to urge their team on for the final minutes, then celebrated by singing about winning the title.
BAYERN MOVES SECOND
Bayern has never been beaten at home in the Bundesliga by Freiburg. Sunday’s win was its 20th from 23 meetings between the teams in Munich.
Bayern stayed four points behind Union, which was one of the teams to frustrate the 10-time defending champion during its four-game run without a win earlier this season.
Earlier, Cologne came from behind to beat Augsburg 3-2 with a late goal from Steffen Tigges.