Union Berlin rallied in the second half to peg Holstein Kiel back, but feel perhaps a little disappointment not to bring all three points back to the capital.
A bunch of chances in the final few minutes, one apiece for Philipp Hosiner and Sebastian Polter, weren’t converted for the victory at the Holstein-Stadion on the Baltic Sea coast.
However, the evening got off to the worst possible start with Kiel roaring into a two-goal lead after 19 minutes. Tom Weilandt finished off Marvin Ducksch’s cut back from the 18-yard-line before Dominick Drexler converted from a poorly defended corner kick.
Like so many times this season, Union’s spark has often emanated from the right-hand side. Christopher Trimmel held a good position in attack around the half hour mark, tucked the ball into a good position and Steven Skrzybski finished off for his seventh of the season.
The Köpenick club had to wait until five minutes from time to find parity: Kinsombi was shown a straight red card for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity following some highly-impressive play from Simon Hedlund, who featured in a new central / 10 role. Polter stepped up from the penalty spot and netted his 11th of the campaign.
With everything to play for, Union moved into attack mode. Polter passed up an opportunity, but substitute Hosiner will be kicking himself after missing from a few yards out in the last two minutes. In the end, Union’s resilience carved out a decent point from one of the promotion hopefuls in the second division.
“Just like the first game, we saw one rich in goals today,” explained head coach Andre Hofschneider. In the first half we had a certain amount of control, but in the decisive moments we were not consistent enough, both at the front and back. Basically, I was not so dissatisfied with the half-time - the 0-2 deficit after 19 minutes was of course brutal. After the break, we took 15 minutes of time off, so we couldn't have complained if it fell 3:1. Judging by the odds, I think it is 2-2. We left many points behind after the lead this season, today we scored two goals in a very good team and thus won one point.”
1.FC Nürnberg, the league’s form team, are in Berlin on Friday evening (26.01) and will open the new calendar year at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei. Gates open at 18:30 and tickets will go quick!