Urs Fischer's side warmed up for next week's return of competitive football with a 2-1 win against 1. FC Nürnberg at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei.
For the first time in 189 days, 1. FC Union Berlin played in front of supporters at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei — the 2-2 draw at home to Wolfsburg on March 1 was the last opportunity before the outbreak of coronavirus.
Marcus Ingvartsen scored both of the goals for the Köpenick club, who marked 100 years of football at the current stadium grounds.
1. FC Union Berlin: Luthe; Ryerson, Friedrich, Knoche, Gießelmann (Lenz 70); Prömel (Hübner 45), Griesbeck, Gentner; Bülter (Gogia 83), Teuchert (Mees 63), Ingvartsen (Dietz 84)
1. FC Nürnberg: Mathenia; Valentini, Handwerker (Behrens 63), Margreitter (Mühl 45), Sörensen (Knothe 57); Krauß (Schäffler 45), Nürnberger, Geis (Sorg 63); Singh, Schleusener (Dovedan 45), Köpke (Lohkemper 63)
The team geared up for the German Cup clash in Karlsruhe with four changes from the 2-2 draw in Amsterdam the previous Sunday. Sebastian Andersson, Christopher Trimmel and Nico Schlotterbeck are all on international duty, while Keita Endo suffered a hamstring issue in the first half against Ajax. Julian Ryerson was given the nod at right-back in place of the captain; Cedric Teuchert led the attack, flanked with Marcus Ingvartsen; Sebastian Griesbeck started in a three-man midfield. The 5,000-strong crowd in Köpenick brought a vibe of competitive football back to the Alte Försterei once again after several months of matches behind closed doors. Nürnberg’s Christian Mathenia pulled off a series of important saves to keep out the Bundesliga club from Berlin. On 13 minutes, Gentner turned in the box and shot on target but Mathenia got down to his right to make an impressive save. Six minutes later, Prömel took a clean first touch in the box, then pulling out a top reaction stop from Mathenia. Under new coach Robert Klauß, 1. FC Nürnberg struggled for attacking opportunities but always kept the door shut when Union had the ball. The one time when they did look open, after 23 minutes, Asger Sörensen booted clear a ball into the area from Ryerson after Mathenia was caught out of his goal.
Fischer’s only change during the break was Florian Hübner who replaced Grischa Prömel. That meant a change to Union’s shape from a back-four to three central defenders. There was work to do for the backline early in the second half but goalkeeper Andreas Luthe stepped up to the mark with a fine double save to deny Pascal Köpke and Johannes Geis. Following up from where he left off in Amsterdam, Ingvartsen anticipated the cross from Gießelmann, darted in from his right-wing position and finished past Mathenia. The lead lasted less than a minute, however, as half-time substitute Nikola Dovedan rifled past Luthe from distance. Union picked things up again and Fischer introduced Joshua Mees after a hard-working shift from Cedric Teuchert. Seconds later, Ryerson was brought down in the area and Ingvartsen sent Mathenia the wrong way from the resulting spot kick. Dovedan threatened to equalise four minutes later, charging through on goal with an unstoppable burst of pace but Luthe won the battle one-against-one. Felix Lohkemper beat Robin Knoche in a speed race and should have squared the game after 73 minutes. Christopher Lenz and Lars Dietz earned game time off the bench, but the biggest cheer of the afternoon was reserved for Akaki Gogia, who made his long-awaited return from injury after a year's absence.
Union ran out 2-1 winners in the end and with the end of the pre-season schedule, the squad looks ahead to the match at the Wildparkstadion on Saturday against Karlsruher SC.