Bundesliga: Taiwo Awoniyi scores winner for Union Berlin to beat Gladbach 2-1
Former Liverpool striker Taiwo Awoniyi scored a brilliant goal to help Union Berlin upset Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-1 for its first Bundesliga win of the season on Sunday.
The 24-year-old Awoniyi, whose loan move Union made permanent in the off-season, combined with Max Kruse to score what proved to be the winning goal in the 41st minute.
'I feel good, but the most important thing is the team," said Awoniyi, who has now scored in each of Union's opening three games. Union drew with Bayer Leverkusen 1-1, then 2-2 at Hoffenheim.
Union, which is playing in its third season in Germany's top flight, stretched its unbeaten run at home in the Bundesliga to 18 games with the win over Gladbach.
The Köpenick-based team had five new signings in its starting lineup with Leven Öztunali, Paul Jaeckel, Rani Khedira, Genki Haraguchi and Timo Baumgartl – all signed in the offseason among others to make up for the departures of Robert Andrich, Nico Schlotterbeck, Christian Gentner, Petar Musa and Joel Pohjanpalo.
A mistake from Gladbach defender Louis Jordan Beyer led to the opening goal. Beyer lost the ball to Kruse and Haraguchi produced a pin-point cross for Niko Gießelmann to score with a header in the 22nd.
Gladbach tried to respond but was caught on a counterattack when Awoniyi surged forward. Facing three defenders, Awoniyi passed to Kruse and ran through for the weighted return, taking the ball past Yann Sommer with his first touch before slotting in with his next.
"He's just an exceptional player," Awoniyi said of Kruse, who was playing against his former club. The former Germany striker scored 23 goals in 66 league games for Gladbach between 2013-15.
"He has a lot of experience in the game. He knows everything he wants to do every time he has the ball," Awoniyi said.
"Once you play with him, he knows where you are, you know where he is, and I think this has helped me to learn a lot… it’s good for both of us at the moment.'
Jonas Hofmann drew a good save from Andreas Luthe in response, and Florian Neuhaus should have scored from the rebound, but he dragged his shot wide.
Gladbach didn’t look much like mounting a comeback until Hofmann scored off a rebound in injury time. Luthe had saved Laszlo Benes’ shot but couldn’t secure the ball before Hofmann got to it.
Patrick Herrmann then hit the side netting. It as close as Gladbach got to an equalizer as it slumped to its second successive defeat. Adi Hütter’s team lost 4-0 to Bayer Leverkusen last weekend.
Wolfsburg was hosting fellow Champions League participant Leipzig in the late game.