BERLIN (AP) – The legend of Union Berlin continues.
Janic Haberer scored twice for Union to beat Borussia Dortmund 2-0 on Sunday and consolidate their lead in the Bundesliga for the first time in a season.
Haberer’s two first-half goals handed Dortmund their fourth defeat in 10 games so far and moved the union five points clear of second-placed Freiburg ahead of a visit to 10-time defending champions Bayern Munich later on Sunday. Union are now seven points ahead of Dortmund.
“The champion of Germany will only be FCU (Union Berlin)” chanted Union fans as their team finished their fifth straight weekend with 23 points from 10 games.
Union coach Ares Fischer said supporters had a right to celebrate and dream but the club’s target remained 40 points and Bundesliga survival.
“I think if you set a goal you should reach it before setting a new one,” said Fischer, who led the association to Bundesliga promotion through the play-offs in 2019. “We are not the ones to dream, but the ones who have to stay focused.”
Union went ahead from the start and Haberer got the first reward in the eighth minute after a foul from Dortmund keeper Gregor Kobel. Cobell slipped at an inopportune moment to give the sneaky Haberer an easy finish.
The Union midfielder got his second goal in the 21st with a low shot inside the left post after Jordan Peacock put the ball back after a good interception involving Sheraldo Baker.
Union should have scored more goals as the home team dominated the first half.
Dortmund were limited to just two chances in the first 45 minutes, with the home team constantly harassing them and forcing concessions and mistakes from the visitors. Union players challenged at every opportunity, won most of them, and every 50-50 ball went their way.
It was exactly how Fischer wanted his team to play. The Union coach received the loudest cheers of “Fobalgot (Football God)” from the appreciative home fans before kick-off.
Dortmund’s rival Edin Terezich reacted with three changes at the break, including bringing on captain Marco Reus to return from an ankle injury sustained in the Ruhr derby win over Schalke on 17 September.
Perhaps unexpectedly, Union’s intensity dropped and Dortmund had even more of the ball, although Fischer’s team still created good chances.
Fischer was forced to make a change in the 67th when American forward Peacock left the field with an undisclosed injury. The coach later said he didn’t know how serious it was and was still waiting for an update from the medical staff.
Union fans rose to their feet to cheer their team on for the final minutes, then celebrated by singing about winning the title.
Earlier, Cologne beat Augsburg 3-2 with a late goal from Stefan Tiggs.