Union Berlin go top of Bundesliga with win

·2-min read

American forward Jordan Pefok had a penalty saved but Union Berlin have held on to win 1-0 at previously unbeaten Cologne to move top of the German Bundesliga for the first-ever time.

"I haven't seen a team play as well as Union here for a long time. You have to recognise that," Cologne coach Steffen Baumgart said after their defeat.

"The plan we had didn't work out at all."

An own-goal from Cologne defender Timo Huebers in the third minute was enough for the capital club to finish first after the sixth round - one point ahead of Freiburg, who were held 0-0 by Borussia Moenchengladbach in the late game on Sunday.

Ten-time defending champions Bayern Munich, Hoffenheim and Borussia Dortmund are two points behind the new leaders, who drew with Bayern 1-1 last weekend and previously scored eight goals over two wins against Schalke and Leipzig.

Pefok was back in Union's starting lineup after missing two games with a muscle injury. He had a chance to add to his two league goals so far when Cologne's Luca Kilian was harshly penalised for handball after a VAR review. Justice was arguably served when Pefok shot down the middle and saw Marvin Schwaebe save his effort in the 10th minute.

Sheraldo Becker had another Union goal ruled out for offside but it didn't matter as the visitors saw out their fourth win.

"I'm satisfied, a compliment to my team," Union coach Urs Fischer said.

"We wound it down without allowing Cologne to pose any danger."

Kilian was sent off in the 81st after a second yellow card as Cologne slumped to their first loss.

Union, the only club in the Bundesliga to have played in the old East German league, were only promoted to the reunified country's top division in 2019. Expected to promptly return to the second division, instead they have steadily improved, finishing 11th, seventh, then fifth last season to qualify for the Europa League.

"We're on a run but we know there are many things that are not going so well," captain Christopher Trimmel, who insists the aim this season is still to avoid relegation, said.

"I saw before the game that we're the team with the least possession. But we've played Leipzig and Bayern so the statistics lie a bit."