Robert Andrich returned from suspension to score for the first time in the Bundesliga as 1. FC Union Berlin held out for a 1-1 draw at home to Schalke.
Urs Fischer's team put themselves into a winning position after 11 minutes when Andrich finished off a rapid counter-attack, adding to his three goals in the DFB Pokal this season.
But against the run of play, the Royal Blues equalised through Jonjoe Kenny's powerful long-range drive, which beat Rafal Gikiewicz to his bottom right-hand corner.
1. FC Union Berlin: Gikiewicz; Friedrich, Schlotterbeck, Hübner; Trimmel, Bülter, Andrich, Gentner (Ingvartsen 78); Malli (Prömel 68), Ujah (Mees 78), Andersson
FC Schalke 04: Nübel; Kenny (Becker 89), Miranda, Kabak, Sane; Oczipka, Schöpf; Matondo (Boujellab 82), Gregoritsch, Caligiuri; Raman (Kutucu 60)
All playing and coaching staff at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei, as well as, the match officials, took a knee before kick-off to show support for the Black Lives Matter campaign. With Schalke coming off the back of 11 games without a win, Fischer's team had to make a statement early doors. Marius Bülter tested Alexander Nübel after three minutes before Anthony Ujah headed wide of the target – the striker was one of four changes to the starting XI from last weekend's defeat at Borussia Mönchengladbach. The Nigerian was at the heart of the opening goal, showing great control and composure on the counter-attack to play in Andrich who charged clear of the Schalke defence and slid the ball past Nübel. Union's direct approach created uncertainty in the Schalke ranks and their number one goalkeeper showed his quality. Ujah reacted quickly to a deflected cross to direct the ball goalwards, but he was equally matched by the Bayern-bound Nübel. As Union tried to gather speed, Schalke landed a lucky punch at the other end, taking advantage of a break in play. The ball was quickly delivered out wide to Kenny, the on-loan Englishman from Everton, and he smashed a 25-yard shot into the back of the net. The equaliser lifted David Wagner's players who were clearly bereft of confidence after the early exchanges in Köpenick. Play was regularly disrupted by challenges and counter-pressing in both teams and referee Tobias Stieler was kept busy until the break. Christopher Trimmel collected the first yellow card, while Andrich was cautioned after 37 minutes and that rules him out of next Saturday's trip to 1. FC Köln.
The patterns which emerged after the Schalke equaliser continued into the second half. Trimmel looked to replicate Kenny's goal with a strike from range, but Juan Miranda put himself in a good position to block the shot. Yunus Malli, who made a strong start to the game and caused Schalke problems in a wide position, ran his race at the hour mark and was replaced by Grischa Prömel. Both sets of players ran the hard yards and battled throughout but the final pass or creativity was often missing. Bülter showed himself to be just as dangerous from a deeper left full-back role, stinging the palms of Nübel in the 70th minute. Six minutes later, Fischer introduced Marcus Ingvartsen and Joshua Mees for fresh ideas and legs in the last quarter of an hour. With four minutes left, Union's pressure from a string of set-pieces almost paid off. Marvin Friedrich reacted first in the box but his volley was turned wide by substitute Ahmed Kutucu. Trimmel's second delivery in succession wriggled through to Keven Schlotterbeck but Alexander Nübel was in position like a flash to deny the Union defender at his front post. The form of the Schalke keeper, overall, enough to earn his side a share of the spoils with four Bundesliga games remaining.
A point closer to the target of survival in the Bundesliga, 1. FC Union Berlin will take on 1. FC Köln at the Rhein-Energie-Stadion on Saturday June 13 at 15:30.