Still reeling from their damaging 7-1 defeat to FC Cologne at the weekend, Werder provided their supporters with the perfect response after 13 minutes, taking the lead against the odds.
Glancing home a Marvin Ducksch whipped cross, Amos Pieper’s first goal in over 50 Bundesliga appearances looked as if it was going to put the European chasers back on track.
Instead, as had been the case against Cologne on Saturday, defensive errors would end up costing Werder, with goalscorer Pieper at fault for Union’s equaliser.
Selling goalkeeper Jiří Pavlenka short with a misjudged backpass, Janik Haberer was on hand for the visitors to slide home into an empty net, restoring parity for Union just four minutes after falling behind.
In need of a bit of luck, the home side would be handed a fortunate reprieve just before the break, when Sheraldo Becker’s wonder strike from 20 yards out was chalked off because of a handball in the build-up.
With the warning signs already there before the interval, Union’s eventual second, this time deemed legal by the referee, came as little surprise.
Undone by a set piece, Kevin Behrens rose highest inside the box, converting Josip Juranović’s corner kick with relative ease.
Juranović, who was making his first appearance for Union since joining from Celtic, had been delivering teasing balls into the penalty area all evening, with the Croatian eventually rewarded for his efforts.
The victory keeps Union in contention for UEFA Champions League football – a remarkable feat for a side that was promoted to the top flight for the first time in their history just four years ago.
Continental football is by no means out of the equation for Werder, but after worrying back-to-back defeats, the River Islanders will need to improve their on-the-pitch performances throughout the rückrunde.
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