Sebastian Polter marked his return from injury with a goal to fire 1. FC Union Berlin to a 2-0 win over Holstein Kiel at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei.
Urs Fischer's men left it late under the floodlights to protect their unbeaten start to the 2.Bundesliga campaign but it arrived in dramatic fashion. Polter netted Union's second with almost the last kick of the ball after Grischa Prömel had scored the all-important breakthrough goal in the 90th minute.
In the 2.Bundesliga, Union are the only team yet to experience defeat this season and also extend their run without defeat at home to 11 competitive matches.
1. FC Union Berlin: Gikiewicz; Trimmel, Friedrich, Hübner, Lenz; Schmiedebach, Prömel, Zulj; Hedlund (Hartel 69), Andersson (Polter 75), Gogia (Ryerson 86)
Holstein Kiel: Kronholm; Dehm, Schmidt, Wahl, Van den Bergh; Kinsombi, Mühling (Girth 90), Meffert; Lee; Serra, Honsak (Schindler 8 (Okugawa 64))
The Stadion An der Alten Försterei was uncharacteristically lacking in atmosphere as fans across Germany protested against kick-off times with 20 minutes of silence. That seemed to filter on to the pitch with few very goalscoring situations for either team in the early periods. Holstein Kiel were dealt a blow after eight minutes when Matthias Honsak picked up an injury and was replaced by Kingsley Schindler. Union keeper Rafal Gikiewicz was alert to keep out South Korean midfielder Lee Jae-Sung and Janni Luca Serra before David Kinsombi shot wide from distance. The only clear chance for Fischer’s men came in the final minute before the interval. Christopher Trimmel’s free kick was flighted into a packed penalty box and Florian Hübner rose highest to force an excellent, reflex save from Kenneth Kronholm.
The hosts remained unchanged for the second phase and pushed for the opener in the early stages. Akaki Gogia came to life on 47 minutes, clipping the ball over van der Bergh but eventually thwarted by Kronholm. From the resulting loose ball, Hedlund smashed his finish wide of the target. Five minutes later, Prömel showed his attacking strengths with a cheeky nutmeg and good effort from 25 yards out.
Polter’s return to action — his first appearance since March — was the impulse for the Alte Försterei to roar the side on to victory. The 27-year-old made an instant impact and unsettled the Holstein Kiel defenders with his strength. Immediately after his introduction, he won a header at a corner kick and forced Kronholm into an easy save. With time slipping away, Union threw the kitchen sink at the Kiel box and got the break of the ball with Prömel showing composure to tuck the ball home. To cap off a superb return, Polter pulled off a wonderful overhead kick in the fourth minute of stoppage time to score his first of the campaign.
1. FC Union Berlin return to 2.Bundesliga action on Monday night (October 1) against FC Ingolstadt at the Audi-Sportpark.