Three times behind, three times against: 1. FC Union Berlin has shown comeback qualities in the Europa League.

Joker Sven Michel saved the Bundesliga soccer team a draw in a thrilling round of 16 first leg and gave coach Urs Fischer’s team a chance to reach the quarter-finals. The Berliners once again struggled against Royale Union Saint-Gilloise at their home stadium An der Alten Försterei and ended up 3-3 (1-1). In front of 21,700 spectators, Victor Boniface (28th and 72nd minutes) and Yorbe Vertessen (58th) put the guests ahead three times. Josip Juranovic (42nd), Robin Knoche (69th) and Michel (89th) scored the respective equalizers for the Köpenickers.

Köpenicker need victory in the second leg

“3:3 is okay,” said captain Christopher Trimmel, but complained about the individual mistakes before the goals were conceded. It wasn’t all bad. “So we remain positive,” said the Austrian on the RTL TV station. His teammate Knoche criticized that the team had done two and a half of the three goals too stupid. “The opponent shoots three times on goal and three times we concede. That must not happen to us. Then in the end you are happy that you are still making it 3: 3. In the end there could have been more,” said Knoche, who scored a penalty missed and only converted the ball in the margin.

In the second leg in a week’s time at Anderlecht’s Lotto Park (9 p.m. / RTL), the Berliners now need a win to progress after regular time. A draw would mean extra time and a possible penalty shootout.

Berlin by train – Saint-Gilloise presents

Both teams met in the preliminary round. The Belgians won in Berlin in September. Union’s only home defeat this season. The Berliners won the second leg thanks to a goal from Michel. The third-placed Bundesliga player will play VfL Wolfsburg on Sunday (Sunday, 7.30 p.m. / DAZN).

The Berliners and the Unioners from Belgium went into the game with different signs. The Irons had not scored in four of their last five games. Saint-Gilloise, on the other hand, conceded ten goals in four games.

Unlike in the first two duels, when there was a lot of fighting and midfield banter, the Berliners took control from the start. Sheraldo Becker’s bounce after a cross from Juranovic, who, like before against 1. FC Köln, started as a temporary left-back, was repelled by Anthony Moris in the Belgian goal (9′).

It was significantly more train in the offensive game of Berlin than in the past games. However, the precision demanded by coach Urs Fischer was often lacking. The Belgians initially focused on defending. When they got stuck in the FCU penalty area, Boniface pulled from the left half. Kevin Behrens deflected his shot into the right corner of the goal, making it untenable for Union keeper Frederik Rönnow.

Joker Michel brings third comeback

As a result, the guests were able to adapt better to the attacking efforts of the home side. So it took a free kick, which the fouled Juranovic circled into the goal himself from a good 18 meters.

Even after the change, the Bundesliga club remained game-determining. But in the 58th minute, captain Christopher Trimmel played the ball unchallenged into the Belgians’ feet. The guests switched quickly. Vertessen was released by Loïc Lapoussin alone in front of the Rönnow goal and completed with a precise shot.

But the hosts stepped it up a notch. The outstanding Moris parried two headers from Danilho Doekhi (66’/67′). In the second situation, Christian Burgess was on the ball with his hand. Moris also initially fended off the penalty that was due. But Knoche was successful with the margin. But the joy was short-lived. Boniface completed an exemplary counterattack before substitute Michel equalized again.