1. FC Union Berlin held firm against Champions League participants Borussia Mönchengladbach to come away from the Matchday 19 meeting with a 1-1 draw.
Robin Knoche headed the Köpenick club into the lead after 37 minutes, but the Foals levelled through Alassane Plea in the second half.
1. FC Union Berlin: Luthe (Karius 69); Ryerson, Gießelmann, Schlotterbeck (Bülter 79), Friedrich, Knoche; Gentner (Griesbeck 66), Andrich; Ingvartsen, Awoniyi (Pohjanpalo 79), Teuchert (Dajaku 85)
Borussia Mönchengladbach: Sommer; Elvedi, Ginter, Lainer, Bensibiani; Kramer (Neuhaus 58), Zakaria, Hofmann (Stindl 75); Plea (Embolo 90), Thuram, Wolf (Herrmann 90)
Urs Fischer’s team selection was influenced by injuries to Sheraldo Becker, Christopher Lenz and Grischa Prömel, while Christopher Trimmel and Florian Hübner sat out suspensions. While the formation was untouched, Julian Ryerson and Niko Gießelmann enjoyed starts at full-back, Christian Gentner returned to midfield and Cedric Teuchert supported the lone striker in Taiwo Awoniyi. Against top-class opposition, Union set up ranks to keep control of the midfield zone and look for quick passes into attack. A move, well-knitted together by Robert Andrich, put Marcus Ingvartsen into a dangerous positon around 25 yards out but the Dane blasted over — a similar positon from where the Union attacker drilled home against Augsburg a week ago. Chances were few and far between as both teams played a game of poker on the tactical side. Borussia Mönchengladbach always looked dangerous in the final third with the likes of Denis Zakaria supporting from midfield, and the striker duo of Marcus Thuram and Alassene Plea. But while Gladbach — the strongest team from set-pieces in the Bundesliga — passed the ball around more, it was the home side who broke the deadlock after 31 minutes. Ingvartsen popped a free-kick into the box from a difficult central positon but Knoche made the most of the delivery, heading past Yann Sommer from distance. Six minutes later, Nico Schlotterbeck roared into an offensive transition from the back and was not far away from finding the top corner. Gladbach probed and looked for a gap but Andreas Luthe and his resolute defence held firm until the interval.
Marco Rose's side creeped more into the match after the interval and Thuram came relatively close with a right-foot shot on 52 minutes. The counter was Union's strongest weapon but the tempo and intensity of the game eventually took its toll on the home side. Fischer and assistant coach Markus Hoffmann roared on from the sidelines as Teuchert in particular showed pace on the break. However, the visitors levelled on 57 minutes and Union were undone by a moment of individual quality. Plea took the ball at the edge of the box and with perfect placement, found the bottom corner from range. After the hour mark, Sebastian Griesbeck added fresh legs into the middle of the park, but Fischer was forced into another swift substitution after a heavy collison between Thuram and Luthe. The Union number one was taken off with injury and Loris Karius was handed the baton for the last 20 minutes. Joel Pohjanpalo celebrated his return from injury with about 15 minutes left, while Marius Bülter supported from the bench. Bülter was about 100 seconds on the pitch before he sent in terrific cross, which was secured by the Finnish international front man. The shot from Andrich was well-blocked and Ryerson couldn't direct his follow-up attempt on the target. Teuchert's time on the pitch was up with five left as Leon Dajaku made a home debut at the Alte Försterei. Gladbach were the team on the ascendency in the final minutes and three successive corner kicks were cleared in the six minutes of stoppage time. Referee Bastian Dankert and his video assistant cleared up a potential handball situation, but in the end, the Köpenick club saw the game out and secured another important point on the road to survival.