The staff-troubled VfB Stuttgart prevented 1. FC Union Berlin from jumping to a Champions League place when they were outnumbered.

Thanks to a late goal by substitute Wahid Faghir, VfB scored 1-1 (0: 1) on Sunday against the Berlin team, who had previously won the Bundesliga three times.

Taiwo Awoniyi (31st) had put the guests in the lead with his seventh goal of the season.

When VfB midfielder Atakan Karazor saw the yellow card twice within a few seconds in the 57th minute and had to leave the field, everything seemed to amount to a Union victory.

But then Faghir struck for Stuttgart.

The staff troubled Stuttgart cheered after the final whistle.

Although they are still stuck in the lower half of the table, the hardly expected equalization provided relief.

Midfielder Atakan Karazor saw two yellows within a few seconds and was sent off by referee Florian Badstübner in the 57th minute.

And once again Awoniyi meets

VfB had hardly been able to crack the compact Union formation with a tie, but it was even harder for a long time when they were outnumbered. Without Max Kruse, who received a break after the 1: 3 in the Europa Conference League at Feyenoord Rotterdam, Union also delivered a less spectacular performance. Again and again the Stuttgart tried to crack the compact defensive around the former VfB professional Timo Baumgartl. Except for a header from Marc Oliver Kempf (34th), the Swabians hardly had good chances.

Instead - again - Awoniyi struck. After one of the rare ball losses by VfB captain Wataru Endo in midfield, the guests initiated a quick counterattack, Sheraldo Becker laid across the Nigerian, who finally slipped the ball into the corner. The 24-year-old's seventh goal of the season was also his twelfth Bundesliga goal for the Iron, which he caught up with Union Bundesliga record goal scorers Sebastian Andersson and Kruse. With Kruse, he should therefore have a hot duel for sole leadership in the next few months.

Awoniyi's efficiency was also exactly what made the difference in a rather mediocre game for a long time. For the first time since the outbreak of the corona pandemic in March 2020, VfB was allowed to completely fill its stadium again on Sunday. But instead of the up to around 60,000 possible viewers, only about half came. VfB did not do the hoped-for self-promotion for more fans in the arena in the future. Probably also because without the long-term injuries Sasa Kalajdzic and Silas Katompa Mvumpa two top-class strikers are still missing, the ailing Omar Marmoush was also out at short notice.

And then coach Pellegrino Matarazzo's team weakened itself. After receiving a yellow card in the 56th minute, Karazor straddled Rani Khedira a few seconds later and consequently saw yellow and red.

Then the guests controlled the ball and the opponent, but in a hectic final phase the Stuttgart were still successful.