BERLIN: Union Berlin fans rose to their feet to applaud their team despite Leipzig substitute Benjamin Sesko scoring twice to end Union’s long unbeaten run at home in the Bundesliga with a 3-0 defeat on Sunday.
Sesko’s second goal in the 87th was his second in three minutes and it confirmed Union’s first league loss at Stadion an der Alten Försterei after 24 games — a club record.
“It’s a strange feeling,” Union midfielder Robin Knoche said. “I don’t really like it, I have to admit. But that’s football, we have to accept it.”
Xavi Simons let fly from the edge of the penalty area to open the scoring in the 51st minute.
Former Germany forward Kevin Volland made his first start for Union and was sent off in the 64th for a foul on Mohamed Simakan, when he clipped the back of his ankle. The Leipzig defender was substituted shortly afterward.
“We didn’t manage to get forward and attack enough, to put Leipzig under pressure in the final third,” Union left back Robin Gosens said. “The red card was the fatal blow.”
It’s Leipzig’s first win over rival Union in the Bundesliga at the fifth attempt. Union won their previous four meetings, all by scores of 2-1.
Dutch defender Danilho Doekhi captained Union despite breaking his cheekbone in the previous game, while new signing Leonardo Bonucci remained on the substitutes’ bench after his transfer from Juventus.
The home fans stood immediately after Sesko’s second goal and for six minutes of injury time, clapping as they sang: “FC Union, our love, our team, our pride, our club.” They had earlier stayed largely silent for the first 15 minutes in a protest aimed at its rival, which they see as a marketing tool for the energy drinks manufacturer Red Bull.
The fans broke their silence when Volland had a good header saved by Janis Blaswich in the 13th.
Simons had another effort saved by Frederik Rönnow at the other end shortly afterward. They were the best chances either team had in the first half as an intensive battle developed in midfield with both defenses on top.
But Simons broke the deadlock with a sweeping shot after Union’s defense failed to stop either Kevin Kampl or Benjamin Henrichs, who set the Dutch youngster up, and Volland’s sending off was another blow.
Rönnow made two good saves to keep the home team’s hopes alive until Sesko grabbed his first two Bundesliga goals.
French defender Niels Nkounkou scored on his debut after going on as a substitute to rescue a 1-1 draw for Eintracht Frankfurt against Cologne.
Florian Kainz’s penalty was enough for the visitors to lead at the break, but Frankfurt’s pressure finally paid off in the 87th when American midfielder Paxten Aaronson found Nkounkou free on the left. The 24-year-old Kainz unleashed a powerful shot inside the far post.
It was Frankfurt’s first game since losing star forward Randal Kolo Muani to Paris Saint-Germain in a club-record 95 million euro-sale ($102.5 million).
Defending champion Bayern Munich beat Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-1 on Saturday. Bayer Leverkusen is the only other team to have won its first three games. The two meet in the fourth round on Sept. 15.