1. FC Union Berlin suffered a first home defeat of the season, losing 3-1 to Paderborn at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei.
Christopher Antwi-Adjei struck four minutes before half-time to give Steffen Baumgart's team the lead on his return to Köpenick — the Paderborn head coach played for Union between 2002 and 2004, scoring 21 goals in the 2.Bundesliga and winning 'Unioner des Jahres' on two occasions.
Though Union pushed for the equaliser after the restatz, Sven Michel added a second for Paderborn on the break with three minutes of the game to play. In stoppage time, Philipp Klement made it a three-goal advantage, but substitute Sebastian Polter marked his return by scoring a consolation.
1. FC Union Berlin: Gikiewicz; Trimmel (Polter 73), Hübner, Friedrich, Lenz; Prömel, Schmiedebach (Gogia 59), Zulj; Mane (Hartel 59), Abdullahi, Andersson
Paderborn: Zingerle; Boeder, Strohdiek, Schonlau, Antwi-Adjei; Vasiliadis (Shelton 74), Schwede (Collins 79); Pröger, Klement, Michel; Zolinski (Gjasula 69)
Just Sebastian Andersson spent the last week with his national team, giving the squad a couple of days to rest and recharge over the weekend. Fischer made four changes to the team which lost the previous week in Heidenheim: Christopher Lenz, Grischa Prömel, Carlos Mane and Suleiman Abdullahi were given the nod ahead of Ken Reichel, Felix Kroos, Marcel Hartel and Akaki Gogia. Back in the squad after a foot injury, Sebastian Polter returned to the matchday squad with a spot on te bench. Abdullahi and Andersson combined to great effect in the first minute, but Mane’s shot landed in the side-netting. Robert Zulj challenged Leopold Zingerle, mostly from distance, but the Paderborn goalkeeper was alert to keep out an excellent, dipping volley from 25 yards out. Rafal Gikiewicz was similarly sharp to deny Sven Michel, the Paderborn striker running through on goal and missing. With 22 goals in the Rückrunde, Baumgart’s team made life hard for the Union rearguard, and at the other end, Andersson occupied both central defenders well. However it was Paderborn, who managed to break the deadlock, four minutes before half time — Antwi-Adjei driving through the middle of the pitch and firing low into the bottom corner.
After sticking with the same XI, Union worked the ball better into dangerous areas. Andersson’s header on 48 minutes was a couple of inches away from nestling in the corner. Paderborn, meanwhile, carried their first-half attacking threat into the second period, with Ben Zolinski passing up two one-vs-one situations in the space of five minutes. Fischer turned to his bench on the hour mark, on the search for some attacking impetus — Gogia and Hartel were introduced in place of Mane and Manuel Schmiedebach. Although Gogia looked to make things happen on the wing, the Paderborn backline remained solid. Perhaps Union’s best chance of the second half, Zulj’s 25-yard free kick went narrowly wide of Zingerle’s goal with five minutes to play. On the counter, Michel punished slack defending, prodding the ball past the out-rushing Gikiewicz. His team-mate Klement weaved into space and finished off from a tight angle in the second minute of stoppage time. A small positive for the 20,000 Union supporters at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei was the ahead-of-schedule return of Polter — he was given his chance with 17 minutes left — and his consolation goal in the third minute of injury time from close-range.
Next Sunday, April 7, Union are on their travels with an away match at SG Dynamo Dresden at 13:30.