1. FC Union Berlin showed great character in the second half to fight back and secure a 2-2 draw against SSV Jahn Regensburg at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei.
Union's late dominance was rewarded when substitute Sebastian Polter equalised with 83 minutes on the clock with a towering header.
Sebastian Andersson had given the hosts the lead after 12 minutes, but goals from Sargis Adamyan and Hamadi Al Ghaddioui put the visitors in front.
1. FC Union Berlin: Gikiewicz; Trimmel, Friedrich, Hübner, Reichel; Schmiedebach (Zulj 60), Prömel, Kroos (Polter 75); Hartel (Mees 60), Abdullahi, Andersson
SSV Jahn Regensburg: Weis; Saller (Nietfeld 74), Nachreiner, Correia, Föhrenbach; Geipl, Thalhammer; Al Ghaddioui, Adamyan (Fein 89), Hein; George (Palionis 82)
The only Union Berlin changes from last weekend’s draw in Dresden were in the forward positions — Akaki Gogia and Joshua Mees dropped to the bench with Suleiman Abdullahi and Marcel Hartel in from the start. Regensburg travelled to the capital without captain Marco Grüttner who normally leads the attack, while there was a change in the sticks as Andre Weis continued ahead of Philipp Pentke. Despite Regensburg feeling more of the ball in the opening 10 minutes, Union stole an edge with an extremely well-worked move on 12 minutes. Ken Reichel made a gallivanting run down the left, then crossing the ball across the box for Andersson to bundle home under pressure. Four minutes later, the match took an unexpected twist: referee Harm Osmers pointed to the spot after Adamyan’s powerful shot struck Hübner from a close distance. The Armenian international converted the kick, but the protests of innocence went on for a couple of minutes. Regensburg still carried a threat up front, although most of their efforts looked to be focused on stopping Union attacks at the other end. A chance fell to Abdullahi at a tight angle before the half was out, but Weis stayed up and managed to close the angle.
Given all the value in securing a home win, the second half couldn’t have got off to a worst start. Union looked a little slack in possession and Al Ghaddioui took advantage, sliding the ball through Gikiewicz after 58 minutes. Fischer’s double substitution already looked in motion before the goal — Mees and Robert Zulj were quickly deployed in place of Manuel Schmiedebach and Marcel Hartel. With more men in forward areas, the hosts’ final push gathered momentum. Ken Reichel, pushing into a quasi-striker role at times, had more than attempts at goal but to no avail. On 68 minutes, the left back was played into a great position after a lovely passing combination between Mees and Zulj, but Andersson skied the finish.
Regensburg have handed more game time to Weis before the end of the season to weigh up his credentials for the following the campaign. The 29-year-old was putting in a stellar argument and he made a clutch of outstanding blocks to keep the visitors ahead. However, the second half turning point arrived when Polter joined Andersson and Abdullahi in an ultra-power-play move from coach Urs Fischer. Union’s 28-year-old striker tried to replicate his bicycle kick effort, which was blocked by Marcel Correia, but the home faithful would be rewarded for their support, seven minutes from the end. Trimmel’s corner kick towards the middle of the penalty area was powered into the back of the net with a ruthless header from Polter. Weis’ wonder-save with a few minutes left prevented the Berliners from taking all three points as they looked to get closer to Hamburg in second position.
Next weekend, 1. FC Union Berlin's promotion push will continue — the Köpenick club make the trip south to face SpVgg Greuther Fürth on Saturday 20 April at 13:00.