Bellingham scores in the last minute and saves Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu.
Photo: Oscar del Pozzo/ AFP
Real Madrid 1×0 Union Berlin
Real Madrid took the field with: Kepa; Lucas Vázquez (Kroos), Rüdiger, Nacho Fernández (Fran García), and Alaba; Tchouaméni (Valverde), Modric (Brahim Díaz), and Camavinga; Bellingham; Rodrygo and Joselu.
While Union Berlin started the match with: Ronnow; Doekhi, Bonucci (Jaeckel), and Diogo Leite; Juranovic, Kral, Tousart (Kemlein), Laïdouni (Aaronson), and Gosens; Becker (Fofana) and Behrens.
The Champions League is part of Real Madrid’s annual calendar, the competition’s record-holder with 27 consecutive seasons as champions. For Union Berlin, Wednesday’s game at the Santiago Bernabéu marked their debut in the world’s premier club competition.
On the pitch, the team led by Urs Fischer, who has been in charge since the German second division in 2018, aimed to surprise the mighty Real Madrid with a top-notch defensive system.
As the game kicked off, it was the Germans who posed the first threat. In the 2nd minute, Bonucci found Becker free on the right wing, who crossed to Behrens in the box. The shot was crucially blocked by Rüdiger.
In the following minutes, Joselu had two heading opportunities. In the 3rd minute, Bellingham crossed, and the striker headed behind the defense, leading to a comfortable save by Ronnow. Then, in the 5th minute, Lucas Vázquez crossed, and he outjumped Doekhi to head near the post, causing danger.
Photo: David S. Bustamante/Getty Images
In the 5th minute of the second half, Real Madrid had three opportunities in a single play. First, Rodrygo won the duel with Diogo Leite, entered the box, and blasted a shot at the opposing goalkeeper’s chest. On the rebound, Modrić quickly passed it to Lucas Vázquez, who crossed it into the area. Rodrygo executed a sensational volley, and the ball hit the crossbar. Finally, Camavinga took a dangerous shot from outside the box.
In the 8th minute, Camavinga went down the wing and received from Modrić. He passed it back, and Joselu struck the ball, but Ronnow made the save.
Striker Joselu posed a significant aerial threat. In the 17th minute, Rodrygo crossed to Joselu at the penalty spot. The Spanish striker rose beautifully and hit the post.
In the 23rd minute, Modrić attempted a left-footed shot from outside the box, and Ronnow made a good save, pushing it out for a corner.
In the 29th minute, Rüdiger was left alone in the small area after a corner kick but sent the ball wide, off target.
In the 37th minute, once again, Joselu came close to scoring. Bellingham crossed into the area, and the Spanish center-forward attempted an acrobatic finish, generating danger even though he had his back to the goal. The ball passed inches from the left post.
In the 40th minute, Valverde combined with Brahim Díaz, who crossed into the area. Rodrygo controlled it with his heel, evaded the defender, but his shot lacked power, resulting in an easy save for Ronnow.
After persistent efforts, Real Madrid scored the winning goal in injury time. In the 48th minute, Valverde received the pass from the short corner, cut inside, and unleashed a rocket. With the ball bouncing around in the area, it fell to Bellingham, unmarked and with no goalkeeper to beat, to bulge the net. For the third time in six games, the Englishman scored a late-game winning goal in the final 10 minutes.
Photo: REUTERS/Isabel Infantes
1st Round Champions 23/24
Galatasaray 2 x 2 Copenhagen; Bayern Munich 4 x 3 Manchester United
Arsenal 4 x 0 PSV; Sevilla 1 x 1 Lens
Real Madrid 1 x 0 Union Berlin; Braga 1 x 2 Napoli
Benfica 0 x 2 Red Bull Salzburg; Real Sociedad 1 x 1 Inter Milan
Feyenoord 2 x 0 Celtic; Lazio 1 x 1 Atletico Madrid
Milan 0 x 0 Newcastle; PSG 2 x 0 Borussia Dortmund
Young Boys 1 x 3 RB Leipzig; Manchester City 3 x 1 Red Star Belgrade
Shakhtar Donetsk 1 x 3 Porto; Barcelona 5 x 0 Royal Antwerp
Written by Henry Miller.