Head coach Andre Hofschneider handed first-team debuts to several fringe players as Union Berlin went down 3-0 at home to Bundesliga side Wolfsburg.
More than 1,000 fans braved the conditions under the lights at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei as the Köpenick club took full advantage of the break in league football to test themselves against high-quality opposition. Willian, Victor Osimhen and Blaz Kramer punished a streak of mistakes from the home side in the final 20 minutes to leave with a win.
Hofschneider’s starting team included Lars Dietz, a January signing from Borussia Dortmund, as well as, U19 skipper Lennard Maloney and young midfielder Maurice Opfermann. First-team minutes were also handed out to Cihan Kahraman, who has been a permanent fixture in training this season, and U19 aces Anthony Roczen and Anton Kanther.
Inspiration was lacking on both teams in the first 20 minutes, but experienced Bundesliga ace Daniel Didavi broke through the home defence and struck a shot against the crossbar. The pressure continued from Bruno Labbadia’s team with Jakob Busk forced into action to deny Osimhen and Maximilian Arnold before the half hour point.
Union’s best hope of creativity came on the left-hand side with Peter Kurzweg, who took up a number of excellent positions in attack. But often the final pass was just a little off the mark when looking to tee up Philipp Hosiner in the box.
Wolfsburg took the lead on 72 minutes when right-back Willian curled home a free kick from the edge of the penalty area. Eight minutes later, Osimhen punished slack defending to tuck past Busk from close range before Blaz Kramer rounded off the 90 minutes with an impressive solo goal.
Union’s preparations for the final leg of the campaign continue on Monday March 26 (14:30) against 2.Bundesliga promotion-chasers Holstein Kiel. The match takes place at Kiel’s academy centre on Steenbecker Weg in Kiel-Projensdorf.