1. FC Union Berlin vs 1. FC Köln
Bundesliga, 25. Matchday
1. FC Union vs Köln
Bundesliga, 25. Matchday
Union fight back to beat Köln 2-1
Christopher Trimmel fired home his first career Bundesliga goal as 1. FC Union Berlin came from behind to beat 1. FC Köln at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei.
The captain added to his seven assists this season, striking home the winner after 67 minutes to secure Urs Fischer’s side the three points.
Visitors 1. FC Köln ended the first-half in front following Ondrej Duda’s penalty kick. Referee Deniz Aytekin pointed to the spot for a second time after the interval and Max Kruse slotted home to bring Union back on level terms.
1. FC Union: Luthe; Trimmel, Knoche, Friedrich, Schlotterbeck, Ryerson (Bülter 87); Prömel, Andrich; Endo (Ingvartsen 60), Musa, Kruse (Griesbeck 87)
1. FC Köln: Horn; Wolf (Liminus 80), Horn (Czichos 13), Katterbach, Hector (Jakobs 63), Mere; Skhiri, Meyer, Duda; Özcan (Ehizibue 80), Rexhbecaj (Dennis 80)
Urs Fischer made three changes to his starting line-up from the 0-0 draw at Arminia Bielefeld last Sunday. There was rotation in the forward areas with Petar Musa and Keita Endo coming in from Joel Pohjanpalo and Marcus Ingvartsen. In the absence of left-backs Christopher Lenz and Niko Gießelmann, Fischer gave the nod to Julian Ryerson. Nico Schlotterbeck therefore replaced Marius Bülter in the starting team. The Köpenick club made an excellent start at the Alte Försterei and particularly Endo on the left demonstrated the desire to pick up three points. The Japanese winger peppered the Köln box with a number of good deliveries but the home side weren’t able to get the ball over the line. Croatian Musa missed two chances in the fourth and eighth minute, while an excellent run from Grischa Prömel came even closer to breaking the deadlock. Markus Gisdol’s team set up with no recognised striker as they looked to block Union’s build-up play from central defence. The task of creating and scoring fell to Ondrej Duda and Elvis Rexhbecaj who occupied the most advanced attacking positions. On 22 minutes, Duda picked out Salih Özcan in the box but the midfielder was denied by a superb Andreas Luthe block. Six minutes later, Max Kruse’s left-foot forced Timo Horn into the save of the first 45 minutes. From the resulting corner, referee Deniz Aytekin consulted with the video monitor for an alleged handball in the box, but waved play on. Kruse’s cross was powered on target by Schlotterbeck and turned on to the crossbar by Noah Katterbach who was guarding the back post. But the away side left the pitch at the break with the lead. Robin Knoche fouled Jonas Hector in the box and referee Aytekin pointed to the spot. Duda stepped up and fired into the bottom corner from 12 yards.
Union turned the game around within two minutes of the restart in Köpenick. Julian Ryerson twisted-and-turned on the left-hand side and his cross crashed off the arm of Marius Wolf - referee Aytekin had no doubts about this one. Max Kruse finished past Timo Horn to score his 82nd goal in the Bundesliga, levelling with Günter Netzer and Olaf Thon. Union looked buoyed by the equaliser and the home side dominated. Fischer turned to his bench on the hour mark, introducing Marcus Ingvartsen in place of Endo who concluded a strong showing on the wing. Seven minutes later, the Union players exploded into celebration with the winning goal. Ryerson created the opportunity outside on the left, the ball landed to the captain Trimmel and the Austrian rattled home into the bottom corner - his first strike for Union since the winner in Ingolstadt on the opening day of the 2017/18 2.Bundesliga season. Substitute Joel Pohjanpalo could have wrapped up the three points on 77 minutes when he charged through on goal but Horn's reactions prevented the goal. Nico Schlotterbeck went down inches from goal in the 82nd minute but Aytekin adjudged there to be no foul play. In the torrential rain at the Alte Försterei, Union showed grit, desire and composure to see out the 90 minutes - with five additional included by the match officials.
Union go up against Köln in Köpenick
1. FC Union Berlin will fight for a first home victory since January when 1. FC Köln make the trip to the Stadion An der Alten Försterei on Saturday afternoon.
Another point was added to the league tally on Sunday night when Urs Fischer's team drew 0-0 at Arminia Bielefeld. The game was interrupted early on following a head clash between Andreas Luthe and Julian Ryerson. Both players continued, but the seven-minute stoppage severly disrupted the momentum of the match. Luthe was forced into an excellent save three minutes after the restart of play as Sergio Cordova beared down on goal. The Bielefeld winger was similarly injured in the half and was substituted. After the second half, Union began to enter the flow and dominated proceedings. Two chances fell to Keita Endo at the SchücoArena — in the 73rd minute he broke clear of the home defence but curled his shot wide of Stefan Ortega's goal. Eight minutes later, Endo couldn't convert a cut back from Petar Musa as the game finished without a goal.
Union's point in Bielefeld helped neighbours 1. FC Köln in their battle to beat the drop. Markus Gisdol's side are in 14th, with a three-point cushion above the relegation play-off position and one clear of Hertha Berlin. Since securing a famous derby win over Borussia Mönchengladbach in February, the results haven't gone to plan for the Billy Goats. Eintracht Frankfurt beat Köln 2-0 on Valentine's Day, while Stuttgart picked up three points at the RheinEnergieStadion. Gisdol and Köln suffered a 5-1 defeat to champions Bayern Munich, but the 1-1 draw at home to Werder Bremen is certainly a positive step for the club. Encouraging for 1. FC Köln is that on the road, they have been able to collect points. Cologne have won 14 of their 22 points, including positive results at Schalke, Borussia Dortmund, Gladbach and RB Leipzig.
Urs Fischer confirmed at the pre-match press conference that Anthony Ujah, Taiwo Awoniyi, Sheraldo Becker, Christopher Lenz and Niko Gießelmann are injured. Defender Florian Hübner has been sick this week and hasn't trained for the last two days. "He is doubtful," said the Union head coach.
Saturday's 15:30 kick-off will take place behind closed doors.
1. FC Union Berlin will test procedures and logistics before the match with the aim of offering antigen rapid tests to supporters in the future. You can read more here.