After Bayern Munich’s loss against Mönchengladbach on Saturday, a win for second-place Union Berlin against Schalke on Sunday could make Jordan Pefok's team league-leaders with a two-point gap.
If you’ve lived under a rock for the first half of the European season — or just completely disregard anything happening in the Bundesliga (rightfully so after 10 straight league titles for Bayern) — you’re probably not aware that Union Berlin actually has a shot at the title this season.
The Iron Ones came off an impressive 2021-22 season, finishing fifth in the Bundesliga and qualifying to the Europa League for the first time in club history.
Come the 2022-23 season, they’ve only done better.
Union Berlin are currently in the DFB-Pokal quarterfinals (draw on Feb. 19), in the Europa League playoff against Ajax (0-0 after the first leg) and as of Matchday 21, sit second and with a chance to dethrone Bayern at the top of table. No Bundesliga team has won more matches than them (13).
In order to become league leaders, Union Berlin would need a win against last-placed Schalke on Sunday to go two points clear at the top of the Bundesliga, one of their easier challenges thus far.
How is Pefok’s 2022-23 season going?
Pefok was one of the USMNT’s biggest snubs on their 2022 World Cup roster, and by the looks of it — especially if Gregg Berhalter doesn’t come back to the managerial position — we’ll see him become an essential player for the squad ahead of the U.S. hosting the next World Cup in 2026.
The 26-year-old American has been an important player for Union Berlin this season, playing in a total of 25 games (starting 19) and scoring five goals with four assists. He scores every 249 minutes.
Although his season has slowed down after the restart, Pefok has been the perfect super-sub across all competitions. He scored a late winner against Mainz two weeks ago that gave Union Berlin a temporary first-place position.
JORDAN PEFOK FOR UNION BERLIN!!They are now first in the Bundesliga pic.twitter.com/F3HWMQliZT
— ESPN+ (@ESPNPlus) February 4, 2023
The 6'3" striker has become clutch.
Now, Bayern Munich always seem to struggle at some point in every one of their eventual Bundesliga title-winning seasons, and considering they have deeper squad depth than the rest of their competitors, it's difficult (but not impossible) for a team like Pefok’s Union Berlin to strip the 31-time Bundesliga champions from their almost exclusive title. Let's just hope the USMNT's very own helps provide the ending to what would be a fairy tale of a season.
It's happened before, you know.