1. FC Union Berlin were beaten 5-2 at the hands of Eintracht Frankfurt at the Deutsche Bank Park.
Max Kruse equalised for Urs Fischer's men in the seventh minute following an opener inside two minutes from Andre Silva. Despite Kruse adding a second on the stroke of half-time, Adi Hütter's top-four-chasing team scored three goals in five minutes after the half-hour mark to all-but secure the three points. Substitute Timothy Chandler put the icing on the cake for the home side in the first minute of stoppage time.
Eintracht Frankfurt: Trapp; Ilsanker, Hasebe, Ndicka; Barkok (Ache 78), Sow, Rode, Kostic; Kamada, Silva (Chandler 77), Jovic (Zuber 77)
Union Berlin: Luthe; Ryerson (Bülter 83), Schlotterbeck, Knoche, Friedrich, Trimmel; Prömel (Griesbeck 71), Andrich; Ingvartsen (Endo 61), Pohjanpalo (Teuchert 61), Kruse
Marcus Ingvartsen returned to the starting eleven in place of Keita Endo, but Urs Fischer was forced into a pre-match switch after Petar Musa picked up an injury in the warm-up. Finnish striker Joel Pohjanpalo took Musa’s spot at the front with Akaki Gogia joining the bench as a substitute to fill up the match squad. The pattern for the rest of the first-half was set in stone before 120 seconds has been played at the Deutsche Bank Park in Frankfurt. Christopher Trimmel’s corner kick was headed on target by Robin Knoche as Union passed up the first good opportunity of the game. But within seconds, Frankfurt powered up the other end and Andre Silva tapped home Filip Kostic’s cross from the left. Union kept their heads up after the early setback and forced the equaliser five minutes later. There was a coming together between Makoto Hasebe and Julian Ryerson, the Norwegian coming out on top and setting up Kruse who sweeped the ball home from the edge of the box. Union saw a lot of joy in creating good opportunities from set-play moments as Adi Hütter’s team struggled to cope with the organisation and presence of the visitors. On 20 minutes, Sow booted the ball off the line after Marvin Friedrich’s flick-on was fired beyond Kevin Trapp by Pohjanpalo. The next goalscoring opportunity came from Max Kruse’s deep free-kick, the ball delicately chipped into the penalty box but Nico Schlotterbeck could only head wide of Trapp’s post. Three goals in six minutes followed for Eintracht Frankfurt as everything the home side touched in that period seemed to turn into a goal. Robert Andrich’s wayward back pass beat his own goalkeeper on 35 minutes before a rare counter-attack against Urs Fischer’s side resulted in Kostic finishing off into an empty net. On 41 minutes, neat football from Frankfurt led to the fourth as Andre Silva’s shot-on-the-turn beat Luthe to give the home side a three-goal advantage. Those arrears were chopped by one as Union ended the half with a goal – Marvin Friedrich charging down the right wing and picking out Kruse who headed over Trapp into the net.
After both teams had time to refresh and take a deep breath after the first 45 minutes, 1. FC Union Berlin returned with their heads up and in good shape. The home side looked dangerous in attack - unsurprisingly the third-highest scorers in fourth position - but Union were more than a match. Fischer's side worked the ball well into good areas but that final touch or finish was lacking in the end. Pohjanpalo's afternoon was ready to come a close and the number 9 was unfortunate not to beat Trapp with a well-drilled effort after good creative play from Kruse. Cedric Teuchert, Keita Endo and Sebastian Griesbeck added energy and legs in what was a physically intense match as both teams went from each box at rapid speed. Endo put himself about on the left and was unlucky with a handful of situations not to get on the end of crosses or balls in from the right-hand side. Union should have given themselves a hand back in the contest with three minutes to go but Andrich's strike bounced off the crossbar. The margins on the day fell the way of Eintracht Frankfurt who took advantage of another slack defensive mistake, uncharacteristic of Union's season to date, and Timothy Chandler make it 5-2 to close off the scoring.
1. FC Union Berlin will go into the international break with the opportunity to get some much-needed time to rest and build for the Bundesliga run-in. There is a bounce game at home to Eintracht Braunschweig on March 25 before Union host city rivals Hertha on April 4 in the second Bundesliga derby at the Alte Försterei between the teams.