Union Berlin draws 1-1 with Leverkusen in Bundesliga opener

Promoted teams Greuther Fürth and Bochum made losing starts to the league season

Union Berlin's Taiwo Awoniyi (second from left) celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the Bundesliga match against Bayer 04 Leverkusen in Berlin on Saturday.   -  AP

Bayer Leverkusen and Union Berlin drew 1-1 in their opening Bundesliga game on Saturday, while promoted teams Greuther Fürth and Bochum made losing starts to the league season.

Pellegrino Matarazzo’s Stuttgart team routed Fürth 5-1, and Bochum had a player sent off in the fourth minute before losing 1-0 at Wolfsburg.

Union’s stadium was half full for Leverkusen’s visit under new regulations after a season in which it was shut out due to coronavirus restrictions, with supporters once again milling around, drinking beer and enjoying grilled sausages and steaks before the game. A huge banner facing the field called for an end to restrictions and stadiums to be filled.

However, some Union fans whistled when Leverkusen players Nadiem Amiri and Jonathan Tah’s names were read out during the lineup announcements. Amiri was insulted by Union’s Florian Hübner in the sides’ previous game, when Tah made allegations of racist abuse.

READ MORE: Wolfsburg struggles past promoted 10-man Bochum for winning start to season

Taiwo Awoniyi gave Union a seventh-minute lead, but Leverkusen answered with a period of pressure and Moussa Diaby equalized in the 12th.

Both sides missed chances to win the game.

It was the first time Union avoided defeat in its opening Bundesliga game of the season at the third attempt.

Also, Hoffenheim won 4-0 at Augsburg and Freiburg drew 0-0 at Arminia Bielefeld.

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