Joshua Mees scored the winning goal as 1. FC Union Berlin opened the season at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei with a 2-1 win over Danish side Brondby.
Mees struck as the game entered stoppage time to put the Bundesliga club ahead for the second time on Saturday afternoon following Sebastian Polter’s opener.
The visitors, who brought a few hundred supporters to Berlin, equalised on 83 minutes through central defender Paulus Arajuuri.
1. FC Union Berlin 1st Half: Nicolas; Trimmel, Dietz, Schlotterbeck, Lenz; Andrich, Kroos; Bülter, Kade, Gogia; Ujah
1. FC Union Berlin 2nd Half: Busk; Ryerson, Rapp, Parensen, Reichel; Schmiedebach, Hartel, Prömel; Flecker, Mees, Polter
Brondby: Schwäbe, Gammelby (Radosevic 45), Jung, Hermannsson, Mensah; Kaiser (Fisker 75), Tibbling (Lindstrom 62), Vigen; Hedlund, Wilczek (Uhre 73), Erceg (Arajuuri 45)
The Danish side, who will compete in European competition next week, marked the official opening of the 2019/20 season, which will see 1. FC Union Berlin fight in the Bundesliga for the first time. As the promoted Köpenick club unveiled a 13th signing of the summer — Christian Gentner, who joined on a free — as well as the brand new home kit for the forthcoming league and cup campaign, the squad and coaching staff was introduced the 12,307-strong crowd an hour before kick-off.
Urs Fischer lined up his team in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Moritz Nicolas, Keven Schlotterbeck, Robert Andrich, Julius Kade, Marius Bülter and Anthony Ujah featuring at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei for the first time. Schlotterbeck, on a season-long loan from Freiburg, opened strongly, playing Akaki Gogia into space but former Hoffenheim keeper Marvin Schwäbe kept out the winger’s shot. Gogia threatened again after 15 minutes, charging clear of Kevin Mensah, then crossing for Ujah who couldn’t get the ball under control. The rebound fell to Andrich who curled the ball narrowly over the crossbar. On-loan Gladbach talent Nicolas made a strong intervention as Kamil Wilczek’s finish was blocked by the young goalkeeper from just a few yards out. On 24 minutes, Ujah beat Schwäbe with an emphatic finish from the corner of the box, but the referee adjudged the Nigerian to be in an offside position during the build-up play. Union enjoyed strong periods in the first 45 minutes with the Brondby defence kept busy throughout, but the sides left the field goalless at the break.
Fischer’s squad regrouped in the changing room and returned with a new-look team — Austrian winger Florian Flecker was given his first opportunity to play at the Alte Försterei, as well as, those who fired the team to promotion in May. On 55 minutes, Union’s number 17 went straight for the box, shrugging off his markers and set up a good chance for Sebastian Polter who poked the ball wide of the target. The Union striker was not to be denied the first goal of the season, finishing off into the gaping net after Schwäbe rushed out of his goal in the 63rd minute. The German keeper parried clear a shot from Marcel Hartel a few minutes later before reacting well to a rasping strike from Flecker. The Danish club levelled the scores with seven minutes to go through second-half substitute Paulus Arajuuri. But Union Berlin would finish the game off strongly with Mees driving through on goal and finishing with composure to secure the win.
After the 2-1 win in Köpenick, Union Berlin will make the trip to Austria and will go through their pre-season paces. The first game during the training camp is against second division side SV Ried on Friday July 12 at 18:00.