After playing in Europe’s other two club competitions in consecutive seasons, Union were met at the continent’s top table by its most successful club.
That flurry of action was followed by a period of calm throughout the rest of the first half, in which Los Blancos moved the ball comfortably without convincingly breaching Urs Fischer’s organised defensive structure.
That itself was being orchestrated by Union’s experienced UCL veteran and club debutant Leonardo Bonucci. And the intensity picked up after the restart, as was encapsulated by Rodrygo, who fired straight at Frederik Ronnow from a tight angle, before crashing a volley against the woodwork moments later.
Joselu’s frustrations in front of goal also continued, with Ronnow parrying his instinctive strike to be dealt with by Bonucci then tipping the striker’s header onto the post.
Die Eisernen had an opportunity of their own that was wasted by Becker, who overhit his cross for Brenden Aaronson before Luka Modric soon saw an ambitious strike tipped over at the other end. Rodrygo was then unable to get a convincing touch on Lucas Vazquez’s cross after it had narrowly evaded Bonucci.
That ensures Real Madrid remain perfect in all competitions this term, although their attempt to win Europe’s premier competition for the 15th time got off to an unconvincing start, despite the late drama. Union, meanwhile, cruelly suffered their third consecutive defeat in all competitions.