Al Ittihad loses against Rotterdam
“We beat ourselves up”
The defeat 1: 2 against Feyenoord Rotterdam leaves 1. FC Union disappointed. Individual errors and a negative preliminary stage cost the iron important points in the European Cup. Not the best, but the most mature football team won. Written by Till Opperman
If you want to sum up Union Berlin’s former European Cup appearance with a slogan, it reads “Professional Training Money”. The narrow 1:2 game Thursday night against Feyenoord Rotterdam on day four of the UEFA Conference League was the third avoidable defeat for Irons in this competition.
At the start of the Bundesliga season with 34 matches, you could easily allow yourself such difficulties at first. Because, as is known, six European Cup matches determine the progression to the next round, the Federation faces a difficult task. Midfielder Rani Khedira is aware of this too, and after the final whistle at the Olympic Stadium he took a look at the remaining matches against Haifa and Prague: “We have to move on and try to take advantage of our little chances.”
The union lacks the necessary discipline
Just like Khedira, who was disappointed when he answered the reporter’s questions in a low voice and muddy pants, his coach Urs Fischer also sounded frustrated. “Above all, I don’t like it at all,” grumbled the Swiss, referring not to any of the many individual destructive mistakes made by his supporters, but rather to “the two red cards.” Halfway through the final stage, when the Berlin players pressed the equaliser, captains Christopher Tremmel and Cedric Teuchert received two unnecessary sending-offs for not exercising within two minutes.
Because Trimmel threw a ball away and saw his second yellow card and Teuchert came five minutes after being substituted, both not only missed the next important game, but also robbed their team of a tie chance in the remaining minutes. This lack of discipline was the union’s biggest flaw in comparison to the hacked Dutch.
Compared to Feyenoord, a regular guest in the European Cup, as well as in the first leg, Iseren lacked important features in his game such as focus, calmness in facing the ball and taking chances. On Thursday, it wasn’t the best soccer team that won, but the most mature soccer team. Urs Fischer analyzed the course of the match in the usual direct way: “If you do not score goals and then call your opponent, you lose the international matches.”
Tactically, Union learned little from the first leg
Even in the early stages, the impression arose that Fisher and his players had not learned enough from defeating Go. Because already two weeks ago it was revealed that Feyenoord is blessed with combinable attacking players such as Linsen, Sinisterra, Thiel or Torrenstra, but the defense around center backs Senese and Trainer tend to make mistakes. However, the Federation refrained from aggressively approaching the opponent’s half in order to apply pressure. Negative pressure from the midfield gave Rotterdam enough space to build the match calmly. The Federation was rarely able to engage opponents in one-on-one battles during this phase. Instead of an effective annoyance, Fischer-Elf passively moved backwards. “We slept for the first 25 minutes,” quipped Marvin Friedrich, who has recovered from Covid.
This realization is especially bitter when you take a closer look at the first goal against Sinisterra. Across the scene, unionists were in reverse motion. Initially, neither striker Kevin Burns nor midfielder Levin Oztunali in the back area bothered Feyenoords Coco, who was then twenty meters from the goal and was able to choose which of his teammates he wanted to use. Because at the same time, Union defender Paul Jekyll, the last member of his idle squad, slipped too deep into the penalty area, Kokjo played Linsen, whose end rested undisturbed from a spin on the post. Then Sinisterra turned the sidelines. Robin Knoshi, who was the only Kopenicker to react to the rebound, came in late.
In the end, the union outdoes itself
Only after falling behind did Berliners seem to remember Rotterdam’s weaknesses. While Union hit an often unattainable long ball into the opposing half in the first 20 minutes after each duel win, the team, led by roaring midfield engine Genki Haraguchi, began to steadily combine and put more pressure on the Rotterdam build despite of her weakness. Space conditions after continuous rain Thursday.
Successful, because before the break, one of the stages of pressing was rewarded after several passes in the penalty area and quick victories for the ball in the opposing half. Captain Tremmel equalized with a superb long-range shot. With a sense of accomplishment in their backs, the team came out from the first half really well, said Friedrich, but: “We had a lot of chances, but we didn’t use them.” There was also a lack of focus when evaluating the opportunities and the many counterattacks, many of the trades being too hectic or too inaccurate.
And so it came as it should come. After goalkeeper Andreas Loth frustrated the first row of pressure for Feyenoord with a chip shot at Frederick in the 71st minute, Frederick did not play forward, but decided to play back despite poor space conditions and Rotterdam’s lead.
After one stop, the ball returned to Luthe, who slipped and thus gave the Feyenoord Dessers forward an easy opportunity to score the winning goal. Khedira defended him: “Something like this happens in a place like this.” Every iron fan can only hope that the team discusses the reasons for the defeat as well. Because the defeats against Feyenoord did not result from a lack of football in the ranks. Robin Knosh began: “We have outdone ourselves.”
Broadcast: rbb24, 04.11.2021, 9.45 pm