Wolfsburg's Patrick Wimmer celebrates his late equaliser against Union Berlin
Wolfsburg (Germany) (AFP) - An 84th-minute equaliser from Wolfsburg’s Patrick Wimmer helped his side snatch a point at home in a 1-1 draw against Union Berlin on Sunday.
Despite Wolfsburg having the better of a less-than-inspiring encounter, a 72nd-minute penalty from former Celtic wing-back Josip Juranovic had Union on course for victory until Wimmer’s late goal.
Union forward Sven Michel said his “exhausted” side have “invested so much” due to their Europa League run alongside their league efforts and “can be satisfied with a point.”
Freiburg’s win earlier on Sunday meant Union, who have been in the top four for much of the season, had slipped to fifth before kick-off.
The home side had the better of a dour opening half, carving out a handful of half-chances against the dogged Union defence.
Wolfsburg midfielder Mattias Svanberg rattled the bar with a free-kick after 17 minutes. Omar Marmoush should have given the home side the lead when one on one with Union goalkeeper Frederik Ronnow, but the Egyptian winger blasted wide.
The two players duelled it out again early in the second half, with Ronnow diving to keep out Marmoush’s low header.
In a rare foray from Union, Josuha Guilavogui clipped Aissa Laidouni’s foot in the box, giving the visitors a spot-kick.
Juranovic sent the ball straight down the middle for his first league goal in Union colours.
Union seemed to have secured another trademark underdog win, but Wimmer’s low strike with six minutes remaining levelled the scores.
Guilavogui said “we wanted to pick up three points and put more pressure on the top six. That unfortunately didn’t happen.”
- Freiburg deepen Hoffenheim woes -
Earlier on Sunday, Freiburg’s Japanese winger Ritsu Doan scored late to secure a 2-1 home win over under-pressure Hoffenheim.
Trying to keep on track for their first ever taste of Champions League football, Freiburg scored early through Maximilian Eggestein, who pounced on a loose ball after a swerving delivery from Vincenzo Grifo.
Hoffenheim hit back early in the second half thanks to a low drive from midfielder Angelo Stiller.
Hoffenheim defender Ozan Kabak picked up a second yellow card with six minutes remaining for throwing the ball away, handing Freiburg the advantage in the closing stages.
Doan took the initiative and scored in the 89th minute, threading the ball into the corner of the net to give the home side a valuable victory.
Frustrated Hoffenheim ‘keeper Oliver Baumann said the red card was the “turning point”, telling Sky “we simply can’t end a match like this with 10 men”.
Hoffenheim’s loss leaves them stranded alone on the bottom of the table on 19 points and in danger of relegation for the first time since their promotion in 2008.
Bayer Leverkusen kept their unlikely push for European football going, winning 3-2 at Werder Bremen with goals from Mitchel Bakker, Jeremie Frimpong and Adam Hlozek.
Leverkusen were dealt a blow before kick-off when star midfielder Florian Wirtz and striker Patrik Schick were ruled out with tiredness and injury respectively.
Bremen’s Marvin Ducksch opened the scoring midway through the opening half but Leverkusen equalised just four minutes later through Bakker.
The visitors hit Bremen on the counter 10 minutes into the second half, Dutch defender Frimpong finishing off a length-of-the-field move to give his side the lead.
Hlozek glanced in a superb header from another counter attack to make it 3-1 with seven minutes remaining, but a late Niclas Fuellkrug penalty gave the home side hope of snaring a point.
Bremen continued to push but Leverkusen held on, chalking up their fourth win in their past five matches.