1. FC Union Berlin finish their first home friendly of the new season with a decisive 3-0 victory over Rapid Wien at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei. Two goals were scored by Kevin Behrens (53rd and 74th) and one by newcomer David Fofana (56th).
1. FC Union Berlin: Rönnow (46. Busk) - Trimmel (60. Juranović), Doekhi, Knoche (60. Jaeckel), Leite (60. Heintz), Roussillion (46. Skarke) - Aaronson (46. Král), Khedira (71. Kemlein), Haberer (46. Laïdouni) - Kaufmann (46. Fofana), Becker (46. Behrens)
SK Rapid Wien: Hedl - Schick (46. Koscelnik), Querfeld, Hofmann (62. Sollbauer), Moormann (62. Oswald), Auer (46. Bajlic) - Sattlberger (62. Greil), Kühn (46. Grüll), Kerschbaum - Mayulu (62. Strunz), Seidl (72. Bajlicz)
Goals: 1-0 Behrens (53.), 2-0 Fofana (56.), 3-0 Behrens (74.)
Goalless first half
1. FC Union Berlin hosted Rapid Wien at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei in front of an almost record-breaking crowd. Both teams started the match playing cautiously, trying to figure out a way to breakthrough the defense. The first opportunity for either team came in the 28th minute, when Union’s keeper Frederik Rönnow had to intervene for the first time. However, Matthias Seidl’s finish from outside the box did not pose a challenge for the Danish keeper, who was playing his first game since the break.
The teams continued to play defensively, neither creating any danger for the opposing keeper. Then, just eight minutes before the half-time whistle Union finally had their first chance. Captain Christopher Trimmel fired a free kick from just under 20 yards, though the Rapid keeper was able to get in front of it. The Eisernen had one more opportunity before the close of the half, when in the 44th minute Jerome Roussillion attempted a powerful shot from just under 25 yards, though this came to no avail.
Behrens brace - Fofana debut goal
Both coaches took the halftime break as an opportunity to bring fresh legs into the game. Two Union additions made an immediate impact in the first few minutes: Kevin Behrens and David Fofana combined with quick passes, working their way into the Rapid penalty area. Following a nicely placed pass Behrens had a one-on-one opportunity with the keeper, and despite managing to play it by him it was the post that came to the Rapid defense (51).
Less than two minutes later, the hosts found the back of the net. Alex Král, also a substitute, sent a low cross into the penalty area that Behrens put away from close range (53). Rapid was barely recovering from the first goal when the Stadion An der Alten Försterei erupted once gain. Král provided his second assist, playing a long diagonal ball to teammate Fofana. Fofana won the aerial duel and then beat the visitor’s keeper with a comfortable finish for the 2-0 lead (56).
Rapid continued to have difficulty finding a way through the Union back line, and so it was the home side that increased their lead once again. Josip Juranović played a superb cross to Behrens, who finished with an arching header into the opposite left corner (74). Following the third goal the match calmed down, with the only other excitement coming from Aïssa Laïdouni’s free kick in the 86th minute. The match ended 3-0, Union coming out on top in their first test at home.
Thoughts on the game
"I think those were two good goals, we got through well on the outside. Once I only had to hold my foot, the header was rather special and lucky. Overall, however, this was probably our best friendly so far, we had a good approach and did well as a team," said Kevin Behrens after the final whistle.
Captain Christopher Trimmel saw the friendly against his former club as a success as well: "I really enjoyed the atmosphere today. In the first half we had a few problems with their pressing, we could have been more courageous and aggressive there. But after halftime it was much better. Now we have to keep working and especially focus on integrating the new guys."
Outlook for the rest of the week
After tomorrow's regeneration training, the gates will open again for a public training session at the Alte Försterei on Friday at 10:30 am. At the end of the week, the Eisernen will host second-division team Holstein Kiel. Kickoff for the match is on Saturday, July 22, 2023, at 3:00 p.m. The friendly will take place at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei. Tickets for the match are still on sale online at the Union-Zeughaus.