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Union Berlin stuns Leverkusen 1-0 to move 4th in Bundesliga

Substitute Cedric Teuchert scored late for Union Berlin to stun third-placed Bayer Leverkusen 1-0 and move to fourth in the Bundesliga on Friday.

Teuchert came on for the injured Sheraldo Becker midway through the first half and missed chances before finally beating Leverkusen goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky in the 88th minute after a brilliant through ball from Christopher Lenz.

“A few good counterattacks before we eventually get the goal. An amazing win,” Union forward Marcus Ingvartsen said.

Union Berlin coach Urs Fischer speaks in an interview before the start of the Bundesliga soccer match between Union Berlin and Bayer Leverkusen at Stadion An der Alten Forsterei in Berlin, Germany, Friday Jan. 15, 2021. (Andreas GoraPool via AP)

Leverkusen dominated possession but lacked efficiency and slumped to its third defeat in four games. Peter Bosz’s team had been unbeaten before losing at home to Bayern Munich 2-1 on Dec. 19 and it hasn’t won since.

Union is surprising many in its second Bundesliga season, a season in which it had been expected to be fighting relegation. It has already taken points from Bayern, Borussia Dortmund, Borussia Mönchengladbach, and Wolfsburg. It has the second best offense with 32 goals. Only Bayern has more.

“We stepped up this season a lot. Our organization is perfect almost every game,” Ingvartsen said after Union stretched its unbeaten run to six games. “We know our basics and we’ve been much better on the ball this season. We create much more. We come out as another team (compared) to last season. I think every one, as an individual and as a team, has developed.”

Berlin's Sheraldo Becker, center, fights for the ball against Bayer Leverkusen's Kerem Demirbay, left, and Julian Baumgartlinger during the Bundesliga soccer match between Union Berlin and Bayer Leverkusen at Stadion An der Alten Forsterei in Berlin, Germany, Friday Jan. 15, 2021. (Andreas GoraPool via AP)

Union came closest to scoring early on when Marvin Friedrich’s header touched the outside of the left post in the 15th minute.

The home side had to bring on Teuchert for Becker in the 24th after the speedy forward injured his left ankle in a tussle for the ball with Edmond Tapsoba.

Union went even closer early in the second half, when Teuchert found himself totally free in front of Hradecky and aimed for the right corner, only to see his shot come back off the inside of the post and rebound across the goal-line before grazing the other post.

Berlin's Taiwo Awoniyi, center, goes down in action with Bayer Leverkusen's Jonathan Tah, left, and Daley Sinkgraven during the Bundesliga soccer match between Union Berlin and Bayer Leverkusen at Stadion An der Alten Forsterei in Berlin, Germany, Friday Jan. 15, 2021. (Andreas GoraPool via AP)

Teuchert went close again in the 61st after some fine play from Ingvartsen to set him up, and the near miss spurred the visitors to respond. Leon Bailey and Patrik Schick were both blocked.

Teuchert’s persistence finally paid off, however.

The game ended on a sour note with Leverkusen defender Jonathan Tah telling broadcaster DAZN that teammate Nadiem Amiri had been verbally abused by an opponent. Union coach Urs Fischer attempted to console the furious Amiri after the whistle.

Daley Sinkgraven of Bayer Leverkusen, left, and Berlin's Robert Andrich during the Bundesliga soccer match between Union Berlin and Bayer Leverkusen at Stadion An der Alten Forsterei in Berlin, Germany, Friday Jan. 15, 2021. (Andreas GoraPool via AP)

“I heard there were words on the pitch that have no place on the pitch,” said Fischer, who said he missed the alleged incident. “I heard from both sides that words were exchanged between two sides.”

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Coach of Bayer Leverkusen Peter Bosz speaks in an interview before the start of the Bundesliga soccer match between Union Berlin and Bayer Leverkusen at Stadion An der Alten Forsterei in Berlin, Germany, Friday Jan. 15, 2021. (Andreas GoraPool via AP)