Thursday's friendly at the Alte Försterei against 2.Bundesliga side Eintracht Braunschweig ended in a 1-2 defeat for 1. FC Union Berlin.
Marius Bülter scored after 74 minutes, but Urs Fischer's side trailed 0-2 after a double in the first-half from on-loan Union striker Suleiman Abdullahi.
1. FC Union Berlin: Karius; Friedrich (Bruns 71), Hübner, Lenz (Knoche 30), Bülter; Gentner, Griesbeck, Dajaku, Endo (Sanogo 71); Teuchert, Gogia
Eintracht Braunschweig: Dornebusch; Schlüter, May (Burmeister 60), Koblyanski (Kupusovic 88), Otto, Kroos, Abdullahi (Schwenk 60), Ben Balla, Behrendt (Bürger 65), Kammerbauer, Ziegele
Eintracht Braunschweig are battling the drop in the 2.Bundesliga but came to Berlin off the back of good form ahead of the most important part of the campaign. The Lions fielded mostly a regular starting XI, while Union chopped and changed with six players away on international duty – Joel Pohjanpalo, Julian Ryerson, Marcus Ingvartsen, Christopher Trimmel, Petar Musa and Nico Schlotterbeck. Loris Karius started between the sticks in place of Andreas Luthe, while Florian Hübner partnered up with Marvin Friedrich in central defence. Keita Endo, Leon Dajaku, Cedric Teuchert and Akaki Gogia led the line for the Köpenick club. Urs Fischer’s squad included four players from the club’s academy: Malick Sanogo, Fabian Schneider, Milos Cvjetinovic and Mathis Bruns. Daniel Meyer’s side took the lead in the 12th minute and it was a familiar face who headed the Lions ahead at the Alte Försterei. Abdullahi, who helped Union to Bundesliga promotion two seasons ago, headed home Koblyanski’s corner kick from the centre of the penalty box. Union’s first change was pre-planned with Christopher Lenz getting 30 minutes of football under his belt as he builds up his fitness after injury. Robin Knoche came in at the back and Union switched back to a three-man defence with Akaki Gogia and Marius Bülter occupying the full-back roles. But Braunschweig netted their second after 37 minutes with Lasse Schlüter advancing on the left and crossing for Abdullahi to head past Loris Karius from close range.
Union gave a much stronger account of themselves after the half-time break with Knoche almost heading one in after 51 minutes. Bülter showed quick feet a minute later to come inside and test the goalkeeper but Braunschweig remained in a comfortable position. Yassin Ben Balla passed up an open goal on 52 minutes and Koblyanski missed another one-vs-one chance before the game struck the hour mark. On 71 minutes, Fischer handed opportunities to Sanogo and Bruns in place of Endo and Friedrich. Three minutes after their introduction, the pair combined to create an excellent attack. Gogia took over and set up Bülter who fired home from close range to pull one back. Braunschweig's Ben Balla missed another good chance to add another to the away side's tally but he headed off the post on 81 minutes. Union probed and looked for the equaliser, but goalkeeper Felix Dornebusch pulled off a spectacular stop in the final minute to deny Gogia from range.