1. FC Kaiserslautern vs 1. FC Union Berlin
German 2. Bundesliga, 25. Matchday
K'lautern vs 1. FC Union
German 2. Bundesliga, 25. Matchday
Empty-handed: Union lose in Kaiserslautern
A chaotic 90 minutes at the Betzenberg went in favour of Kaiserslautern, who ran out 4-3 winners in difficult conditions. After Union had brought the game back to 3-3, Philipp Mwene took advantage of a mistake to score the winning goal and bring the Red Devils closer to survival.
Friday’s proceedings could hardly have got off to a worse start when Sebastian Polter tore his Achilles tendon during the warm-up. Simon Hedlund, who was already struggling pre-match, was called into action, while Philipp Hosiner was recalled to the starting eleven.
As early as the sixth minute, Kaiserslautern broke the Union resolve. Australian Brandon Borrello controlled a bouncing ball around 35 yards from goal and lobbed keeper Daniel Mesenhöler with an impressive finish. The snow was troublesome for both sides, but Andre Hofschneider’s team did adapt to the conditions with Felix Kroos coming close on two occasions.
Swedish striker Sebastian Andersson had a topsy-turvy first half – first missing a hatful of chances before turning the ball into his own to give Union Berlin a much-needed source of luck. A few minutes later, however, he made up for his blunder with a header from inside the six-yard box to put Kaiserslautern back ahead going into the break.
Union’s own Swede Hedlund was taken off at the interval due to a problem with his foot. Dennis Daube was introduced and made an immediate impact as he helped Steven Skrzybski to score his 12th of the season on 51 minutes. Having levelled again, Hofschneider was left frustrated as mistakes at the back opened the gates again for Kaiserslautern. Borrello was bundled over inside the box, allowing Christoph Moritz to make it 3-2 with 24 minutes left.
Following Polter and Hedlund’s earlier knocks, Union were left to heal more wounds with Michael Parensen hobbling off in the wintery conditions. There were signs of fight and determination from the Berlin club with Skrzybski leading from the front, smashing home an empathic equaliser with nine minutes left on the clock. But it was to be another frustrating away trip with Mwene capitalising on a mistake from Mesenhöler to score the winner with four minutes to go.
If there was any bone of comfort for the Köpenick side to take back, it’s that the next encounter is at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei, where form has turned in recent weeks. Eastern rivals Erzgebirge Aue arrive from the mining city and are expected to bring a strong away following. Kick off on Sunday March 11 is at 13:30 with gates opening 90 minutes before.
FCK-Union: Time to end barren away run
Union Berlin boss Andre Hofschneider is desperate for his side to overcome the current away blues in the 2.Bundesliga with a win over 1.FC Kaiserslautern on Friday March 2 (18:30) at the Betzenberg.
The capital club hasn’t won away from the Stadion An der Alten Försterei since beating Jahn Regensburg in the middle of October. The struggles on the road are more outstanding given a turn in home performances of late. Two excellent performances against Fortuna Düsseldorf and Sandhausen racked up six points from six for the Köpenick outfit.
Kaiserslautern, still bottom of the league and adrift by six points, have looked a completely different team since Michael Frontzeck took charge. The former Mönchengladbach coach stepped in to the hotseat after Jeff Strasser fell ill during a match with Darmstadt, which saw him subsequently step down from his post for further treatment. Under Frontzeck, the Red Devils have won three of their last five games, including an impressive victory over Holstein Kiel.
“We have to accept what is put in front of us,” said Hofschneider at the pre-match press conference. “The table doesn’t lie after 24 games, so I can’t make teams better than they actually are. We are rightly standing where we are and Kaiserslautern is rightly standing where they are. We have to try to get our game at the right level, but accept the other side of it. Every match is a fine for us. We want to win every game. We have enough potential to make every game a success, but we also know that in this league anyone can beat anyone.”
For the first time in a while, Hofschneider has most of his options available aside from long-term absentees Fabian Schönheim and Kenny-Prince Redondo. The latter’s recovery is going well, but it’s still unclear when he could make the step back on to the pitch.
Union supporters will back their team in superb numbers again, with more than 1000 travelling from Berlin to Kaiserslautern. A special train has been organised by supporters group “Eisernen Virus” and tickets are still available. The train leaves from Berlin-Lichtenberg station at 06:16am and will return on Saturday morning at 06:48am. In addition, tickets for the game will also be available on location.