Taiwo Awoniyi scored his first goal for 1. FC Union Berlin who ran out 2-1 winners at the RheinEnergieStadion against 1. FC Köln.
The Nigerian striker, who is on loan from Liverpool until the end of the season, hit the back of the net for the first time since his summer arrival in Köpenick. Although Ellyes Skhiri equalised before the interval from a set-piece, Union battled hard to retake the lead through Max Kruse's fourth goal of the Bundesliga campaign in the 71st minute.
1. FC Köln: Horn; Wolf (Ehizibue 78), Mere, Czichos, Katterbach (Thielmann 78); Skhiri, Ozcan (Tolu 81), Drexler (Limnios 65), Duda (Rexhbecaj 65), Jakobs; Andersson
1. FC Union Berlin: Luthe; Trimmel, Knoche, Friedrich, Lenz; Andrich (Gießelmann 84), Griesbeck (Prömel 30); Becker (Ryerson 84), Kruse, Ingvartsen (Gogia 73); Awoniyi (Teuchert 73)
Union's starting XI included three changes from the 5-0 demolition of Arminia Bielefeld, a fortnight ago. Joel Pohjanpalo's injury on international duty for Finland opened up the opportunity this week for Awoniyi to return to the starting line-up. Birthday boy Keita Endo was replaced on the left by Marcus Ingvartsen, while Sebastian Griesbeck took the place of the injured Christian Gentner. With an extensive injury list, Fischer's matchday squad included 16-year-old defender Mathis Bruns who was named in the 18 for the first time. Ingvartsen's last goal for Union came in the 4-0 win against Mainz at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei at the start of October and he almost doubled his tally for the season inside eight minutes. Union worked the ball comfortably out from the back, Marvin Friedrich sending a long ball over the Köln central defenders but Ingvartsen lofted the ball over Timo Horn and the target. The 24-year-old from Denmark would, however, play a key role in the opening goal, winning the aerial duel to set up Awoniyi who took his chance from around 15 yards out. Griesbeck's match was over a few minutes after the restart of play, with the midfielder hobbling off through injury – he was replaced by Grischa Prömel. Union boasted a solid grip of the game throughout the first 45 minutes, both defensively controlled and quick to move the ball into attacking positions. However, Fischer's team were soon undone from a set-piece situation on the right: Ondrej Duda whipped in a dangerous cross and Skhiri bundled past Andreas Luthe to bring Markus Gisdol's side back level.
The second half continued much in the same way as the first concluded. The home side put up a strong fight without the ball, looked compact and shut off positive attacks from the Köpenick club. Duda might have seen his second yellow card on another day midway through the half before Gisdol decided for a double switch. Awoniyi created a chance for Ingvartsen after 67 minutes but the volley was deflected. On 71 minutes, the Dane was all set to fire Union back into the lead until Salih Özcan clipped his heels and conceded a penalty kick. In the win over Bielefeld, Kruse dispatched his 16th penalty in a row in the Bundesliga – equaling the previous record of Hans-Jochen Abel of VfL Bochum between 1977 and 1983. However, Horn guessed correctly and denied Kruse's record-winning penalty – the Union man followed up emphatically and fired in the rebound to give the away side the winning advantage. Cedric Teuchert came off the bench with around a quarter of an hour to play and the striker missed a good chance on 79 minutes to make it three in three as a substitute. As the game entered the last 10 minutes, Fischer utilised his bench with Akaki Gogia, Julian Ryerson and Niko Gießelmann playing their part. Union kept their nerve under pressure from the home side and walked away with the points, despite Köln substitute Elvis Rexhbecaj hitting the woodwork from distance with the last kick of the game.
1. FC Union Berlin will try to extend the current unbeaten run in the Bundesliga to eight games next Saturday when Eintracht Frankfurt make the trip to the Stadion An der Alten Försterei.