Behrens grabs hat trick, Ronnow saves two penalties as Union Berlin beats Mainz
BERLIN (AP) — Kevin Behrens cycled home — just like he would any other day — after scoring three goals for Union Berlin in the Bundesliga.
Behrens grabbed a hat trick while Frederik Rönnow saved two penalties for Union to start the league season with a 4-1 win over Mainz on Sunday.
Then Behrens hopped on his bicycle and went home, Union shared on social media.
United States midfielder Brenden Aaronson started for his league debut and was involved from the off as he sent Jérôme Roussillon through with a clever backheel. Roussillon crossed for Behrens’ first headed goal in the first minute.
Aïssa Laïdouni crossed for Behrens’ second in the ninth, and substitute Sheraldo Becker crossed for his third in the 70th.
“Today was outstanding,” the 32-year-old Behrens said of his first hat trick in the Bundesliga. “I always try to give full throttle and help the team. It worked out very well for me today.”
Mainz defender Anthony Caci had scored with a fine volley in the 64th, prompting Union coach Urs Fischer to make a double substitution with Robin Gosens coming on for his debut along with Becker, who effectively sealed the result with his precise cross for Behrens.
Former Germany forward Kevin Volland went on late for his debut and he set up fellow substitute Miloš Pantović to wrap up the scoring with the last kick of the game.
Union has had a busy offseason reinforcing the squad in preparation for its first season playing in the Champions League. The Köpenick-based team surprisingly finished fourth last season to clinch its place in Europe's premier club competition.
Aaronson, on loan from relegated Leeds, was one of three new signings who started for Union along with Czech Republic midfielder Alex Kral and Ivory Coast striker David Datro Fofana.
It was the 22-year-old Aaronson’s fourth league debut in five years after his stints at Philadelphia Union (MLS), Salzburg (Austrian Bundesliga) and Leeds (Premier League) before coming to Union.
Fofana, on loan from Chelsea, impressed with his pace and technique. Fofana saw a powerful shot saved by Mainz captain Robin Zentner, then struck the crossbar with a free kick in the 33rd.
The second half sparked to life when Union defender Diogo Leite conceded a penalty for a foul on Brajan Gruda. Rönnow saved Ludovic Ajorque’s spot kick in the 62nd, then repeated the feat in the 88th.
“It was crazy. It was also the first time that I saved a penalty in the Bundesliga at all,” the Danish goalkeeper said.
KOLO MUANI'S FAREWELL?
Randal Kolo Muani's first-half strike was enough for Eintracht Frankfurt to beat promoted Darmstadt 1-0 in their derby, amid speculation linking the player with a move away.
Frankfurt reportedly turned down a 65 million euro ($71 million) offer from Paris Saint-Germain for its star forward and was holding out for 100 million ($110 million).
Sporting director Markus Krösche confirmed before kickoff that Frankfurt had received an offer for Kolo Muani, who scored in the 40th minute to give coach Dino Toppmöller a winning start.
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