Bundesliga drama but fan thoughts too with Ukraine

BERLIN (AP) — Wolfsburg and Borussia Mönchengladbach played out a 2-2 draw in the Bundesliga as players and fans across the league showed solidarity with Ukraine following the Russian invasion.

“We condemn the attack on Ukraine and on the lives and homes of innocent people,” the German football league said on Saturday, suggesting clubs observe a minute’s silence before their matches. “War is unacceptable in any form and incompatible with our sporting values.”

In Fürth, visiting Cologne and the home team lined up behind a blue and yellow banner – the colors of the Ukrainian flag – with “STOP WAR” written in English and another anti-war message in German.

A fan at Union Berlin stadium held a sign showing a dove with the word ‘peace’, another at the Leverkusen game painted blood on his face, and it looked like fans at all stadiums were holding flags Ukrainians or made a personal symbol against the war.

Previously, Schalke’s second division played its first game in 15 years without Russian energy giant Gazprom as the main sponsor on the team’s shirts. The Gelsenkirchen club drew 1-1 at Karlsruher SC.

Wolfsburg keeper Koen Casteels made a superb save in added time to preserve his side’s 2-2 draw at Gladbach. Gladbach also saw a goal ruled out in injury time after VAR picked up a foul ahead of what would have been Matthias Ginter’s final winner.

The home side got off to a terrible start with Jonas Wind scoring in the sixth minute and Sebastiaan Bornauw making it 2-0 in the 33rd for Wolfsburg.

Marcus Thuram pulled one back before the break and was implicated again when Wolfsburg defender Maxence Lacroix was sent off in the 70th minute for preventing the French striker from scoring with his hand.

Alassane Plea crosses for Breel Embolo to equalize in the 82nd and Casteels prevents worse for Wolfsburg.

Union Berlin have bounced back from three games without a win or a goal since experienced striker Max Kruse left for Wolfsburg – with a 3-1 win at home to Mainz.

But the home fans’ patience was tested by a lengthy VAR check before Genki Haraguchi’s opener was cleared in the seventh minute. Sheraldo Becker scored a brilliant curling effort inside the right post in the 56th, then set up Taiwo Awoniyi to seal it in the 75th after Mainz had Dominik Kohr sent off on the hour mark with his second yellow card in as many minutes. Delano Burgzorg scored a late consolation for the visitors.

City rivals Hertha Berlin lost 3-0 at Freiburg to continue their dismal start to the year.

Bayer Leverkusen beat Arminia Bielefeld 3-0 and the latter Fürth fought back to draw Cologne 1-1.

Eintracht Frankfurt hosted league leaders Bayern Munich on Saturday. Frankfurt posted messages of solidarity with Ukraine ahead of kick-off.

Bayern’s stadium was lit up in blue and yellow on Friday night.


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Ciarán Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP