The club celebrated a surprise promotion to the Bundesliga, but as October arrives Union Berlin face a tough truth about their chances of staying in Germany's top flight.
Union Berlin 1-2 Frankfurt
(Ujah 86' - Dost 48', Silva 62')
Despite having nearly 700 Bundesliga games of experience in the spine of Neven Subotic, Christian Gentner and Anthony Ujah, Union Berlin haven't been able to transfer their strong summer of recruitment into results. The season is still young but as the warmth of summer is replaced by the cool breeze of autumn, Union will be concerned that the historic victory at home against Borussia Dortmund aside, they haven't really looked like a side capable of getting the points they need to survive. "We just weren't good enough today," Subotic said afterwards to DAZN afterwards. The fear is that this will be Union's problem all season.
Rafal Gikiewicz might be blamed for pushing the ball into Bas Dost's path for Frankfurt's opening goal, but the slow reaction of his defenders was more troubling. Frankfurt's second was well executed, but Union's inability to stop the cross or prevent Andre Silva from getting to a header in the box ultimately proved the difference in quality.
Ujah great but late
That is to take nothing away from Frankfurt, who got the win expected of them in a professional and composed manner. However, Union will be disappointed that at home against a team competing in Europe, they didn't ask more questions. Ujah and Sheraldo Becker added some much needed impetus off the bench. Becker forced a good save out of Kevin Trapp and Ujah grabbed his first Bundesliga goal for Union, sweeping home after a low cross from Becker. It was a moment of brilliance, but it was just a moment and one that came too late.
Getting here was such an achievement for this iconic club from Berlin, and it's likely that many fans will enjoy the adventure rather than worry about relegation. Not for the first time this season, thousands of home fans stayed behind long after the final whistle to cheer on their team. Winning, at least for many in the stands, appears of secondary importance.
For the football team though, the reality of staying in the Bundesliga looks more daunting than ever. Four points after six games is a worrying start, but if there's one thing that can give Union hope it's their fixture list. Having played RB Leipzig, Augsburg, Dortmund, Bremen, Leverkusen and now Frankfurt, it's fair to say the newly-promoted club has been thrown in at the deep end somewhat. With Wolfsburg, Freiburg, Bayern and the long-awaited Berlin derby to come, things aren't getting easier though.
The list of teams that won't punish Union for their mistakes, or in turn will be exposed by this attack, is short. It's up to Urs Fischer and his team to make it long enough for this team to get enough points.