Soccer-Union Berlin cruise past Stuttgart 3-0 to stay in the title hunt

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - 1. FC Union Berlin v VfB Stuttgart - Stadion An der Alten Forsterei, Berlin, Germany - April 1, 2023 1. FC Union Berlin's Christopher Trimmel celebrates with teammates after the match REUTERS/Annegret Hilse

BERLIN (Reuters) - Union Berlin struck three times in 17 minutes in the second half to cruise to a 3-0 victory over struggling VfB Stuttgart on Saturday, tightening their grip on third spot and staying in the mix for the Bundesliga title.

The sensational Berliners, who are playing their best ever season, scored on the break with Sheraldo Becker's eighth league goal of the campaign six minutes after the restart.

Kevin Behrens then doubled their advantage from close range in the 65th. His effort was initially overruled by VAR but that decision was subsequently corrected and the goal stood.

Only three minutes later Behrens broke clear down the right wing and whipped the ball into the box only for Stuttgart midfielder Genki Haraguchi to slide in and send it into his own goal as he tried to clear it.

Union, the only team along with Bayern Munich to remain unbeaten at home this season, are on 51 points, one behind the second-placed Bavarians who face league leaders Borussia Dortmund, on 53, in Der Klassiker later on Saturday.

Freiburg lost ground after their 1-1 draw against Hertha Berlin, leaving them in fourth on 47 while fellow Champions League hopefuls RB Leipzig suffered a shock 3-0 home loss to Mainz 05 to stay fifth on 45.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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