1. FC Union Berlin vs Arminia Bielefeld
German 2. Bundesliga, 23. Matchday
1. FC Union vs Bielefeld
German 2. Bundesliga, 23. Matchday
1. FC Union Berlin draw 1-1 with Arminia Bielefeld
1. FC Union Berlin were held to a 1-1 draw against Arminia Bielefeld at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei.
Joshua Mees returned to the side and scored the opener after 23 minutes to give Urs Fischer's side a lead at the turnaround. But Bielefeld fought back after the restart and Jonathan Clauss levelled the scores early into the second half.
1. FC Union Berlin: Gikiewicz; Trimmel, Hübner, Friedrich, Reichel; Schmiedebach, Prömel (Kroos 83), Zulj; Mees (Abdullahi 65), Andersson, Hartel (Gogia 74)
DSC Arminia Bielefeld: Ortega; Clauss, Behrendt, Salger, Hartherz; Seufert (Christiansen 90), Prietl; Voglsammer, Yabo (Pieper 90), Edmundsson (Staude 85); Klos
Goalscorer Mees was installed into the starting XI, playing wide of the attacking front three in place of Carlos Mane. Though the early passages of the game saw little in the way of scoring chances, Union played a few dangerous combinations around the Bielefeld box. The duo of Sebastian Andersson and Robert Zulj proved difficult for Bielefeld’s central defenders to deal with. On 23 minutes, Fischer’s men got their just rewards, albeit in rather conventional fashion. The 22-year-old Mees, whose first header was parried out before he turned in the rebound, met Ken Reichel’s brilliant inswinging cross. Florian Hübner headed over from close range after 30 minutes and the central defender turned creator but Grischa Prömel’s effort was kept out by Bielefeld’s Stefan Ortega.
The man in the opposite dugout, Uwe Neuhaus, is a well-known figure around Köpenick having spent seven years as the head coach of Union — he is the longest-serving boss in the club's history. Neuhaus will have been the happier of the coaches as Bielefeld dug their way back into the match. Andreas Voglsammer struck the woodwork, getting on to the rebound from Clauss' strike which was well-saved by Rafal Gikiewicz. Clauss, the right-back from the visitors, reacted quickest in the 61st minute to equalise from close range. Fischer brought on Suleiman Abdullahi, Akaki Gogia and Felix Kroos in the hunt for a winner, but the home side couldn't find the cutting edge towards the end.
Head coach Fischer said post-match: "I think that we could and should have led by more in the first half after several opportunities. We won a lot of second balls and unfortunately also some possession mistakes that we had to work on. Then it was a weak second half: no second balls, many mistakes, which was also due to the improvement of Bielefeld. In the second half we were lucky several times, Bielefeld could have taken the lead. Today you have to be satisfied with one point."
1. FC Union Berlin host Uwe Neuhaus' Arminia Bielefeld
Friday night football returns to the Stadion An der Alten Försterei on February 22 (18:30) when 1. FC Union Berlin take on DSC Arminia Bielefeld in the 2.Bundesliga.
Bielefeld’s head coach Uwe Neuhaus returns to Köpenick following seven years at Union — he is the club’s most successful head coach in the second division.
Review: Andersson’s late winner, Bielefeld lose at the Alm
Union Berlin jumped into second place on Sunday afternoon, with a 3-2 win over bottom-placed MSV Duisburg. Robert Zulj grabbed the first goal before Havard Nielsen and Lukas Fröde gave Torsten Lieberknecht’s team a shock lead midway through the second period. Urs Fischer’s team showed great desire in the last half an hour to pull level through Marcel Hartel and score the winner thanks to Sebastian Andersson’s super header from Zulj’s second assist of the afternoon.
Meanwhile, Neuhaus’ Bielefeld went down 3-1 at home to 1. FC Magdeburg at the Bielefelder Alm, playing almost an hour with 10 men after captain Julian Börner was dismissed — he will be suspended for Friday’s match in Berlin. However, Bielefeld are in excellent form since the turn of the year with three wins and a defeat. The Blues returned from the winter break to beat Dynamo Dresden 4-3, before beating Hamburg 2-0 at home, and then Jahn Regensburg 3-0 on the road. “Bielefeld got off to a good start in the Rückrunde, but they were unlucky in the last game with the red card, even though Magdeburg did well. They know how to play away and have won a game or two. A difficult task awaits us,” said head coach Fischer.
Record: Union are strong in Köpenick
The last encounter between the teams from the Hinrunde ended one apiece in Bielefeld. But Union have enjoyed better luck at home, winning 3-1 on MD20 in season 2016/17 and earning a credible 1-1 draw last season. The 4-2 win over Arminia in December 2013 is a highlight, with Torsten Mattuschka scoring in the second half for the Köpenick club. Arminia haven’t won at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei since the two teams have been competing.
Personnel: Just Polter out
Fischer confirmed in the pre-match conference on Wednesday that Sebastian Polter is the only first-team player unavailable at the current point. If Christian Lenz sustains a yellow card on Friday then he will be suspended for the next match.
Service: Packed Friday crowd
A crowd of over 21,000 is expected in Berlin this Friday with more than 1,000 from Bielefeld in the away section. Tickets are still available — as of Wednesday — but there is no guarantee of a matchday sale.