1. FC Union Berlin’s final warm-up game ahead of the second half of the league campaign ended in a 2-2 draw with FC Basel at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei.
Despite going behind to Kalulu’s fourth-minute header, Urs Fischer’s men fought back with goals from Sebastian Polter and Grischa Prömel.
Ricky van Wolfswinkel equalised shortly before half time to bring the scores level.
1. FC Union Berlin: Busk (Moser 45); Trimmel (Ryerson 61), Schönheim (Maloney 61), Friedrich (Torrejon 61), Reichel (Lenz 61); Schmiedebach (Zejnullahu 61), Kroos (Zulj 45), Prömel (Taz 61); Abdullahi (Gogia 45), Hartel (Mane 61), Polter (Andersson 45)
FC Basel: Omlin; Petretta, Widmer (Suchy 45), Zambrano (Kaiser 73), Cömert (Balanta 38); Frei, Zuffi (Okafor 61); Xhaka, Kalulu (Stocker 61), Bua (Campo 61); Van Wolfswinkel (Ajeti 61)
Carlos Mane, Union’s latest addition, started on the bench following his loan move from Sporting Club de Portugal this week. However, Nicolai Rapp, who joined earlier in the month from Erzgebirge Aue, dropped out of the starting eleven after picking up a knock in the warm up — he was replaced in central defence by Fabian Schönheim.
The 20-time Swiss champions started stronger than Union and dominated the early passages of play. Kevin Bua found enough room to cross from the left and Kalulu nipped in from the right to score past Danish goalkeeper Jakob Busk. But Urs Fischer’s side responded after 21 minutes with Polter sliding home the finish following an impressive turn of acceleration from Suleiman Abdullahi. Nine minutes later, Felix Kroos picked up a loose ball on the byline and set up Prömel who slotted home from a few yards out.
Fischer planned four changes for the interval with Lennart Moser taking his place between the sticks. Robert Zulj, Akaki Gogia and Sebastian Andersson came out instead of Kroos, Abdullahi and Polter. Basel defender Carlos Zambrano’s vital intervention stopped Andersson from getting on the end of a dangerous cross from Ken Reichel, two minutes after the restart. Neither side created a host of chances and the Köpenick club rang further changes on the hour mark. Mane was handed his debut, while Julian Ryerson, Lennard Maloney, Marc Torrejon, Christopher Lenz, Eroll Zejnullahu and Berkan Taz were given half an hour.
Before the 90 minutes were up, both teams saw flashes of goal without taking advantage. Moser pulled off a fine save from Samuele Campo’s volley, while Marek Suchy battered a shot just wide of the target. At the other end, Gogia shot off target and Andersson found himself through on goal but lost his footing on the slippy surface.
Union will return to league action next Thursday (Jan 31) when 1. FC Köln arrive at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei in Berlin.