Holstein Kiel vs 1. FC Union Berlin
German 2. Bundesliga, 24. Matchday
Kiel vs 1. FC Union
German 2. Bundesliga, 24. Matchday
Dominant Union Berlin beat Holstein Kiel 2-0
Goals from Felix Kroos and Sebastian Andersson fired 1. FC Union Berlin to an excellent 2-0 win over Holstein Kiel in the 2.Bundesliga.
Kroos, who returned to the side as one of four changes, stepped up to the mark at the Holstein-Stadion and gave the travelling Union the lead from distance. Though Union controlled most of the game, the second goal was harder to unlock. It took until the first minute of stoppage time for top scorer Andersson to finish from close range.
Holstein Kiel: Kronholm; Dehm, Wahl, Schmidt, van den Bergh; Karazor, Meffert (Benes 62); Lee (Evina 73), Okugawa (Thesker 90), Mühling; Serra
1. FC Union Berlin: Gikiewicz; Trimmel, Lenz, Friedrich, Hübner; Schmiedebach, Prömel, Kroos (Zulj 75); Mane (Mees 71), Andersson, Gogia (Hartel 67)
What seemed like a response to last weekend's 1-1 draw with Arminia Bielefeld, coach Fischer made four changes to his side. Carlos Mane and Akaki Gogia were given opportunities to shine from the start as Marcel Hartel and Joshua Mees dropped to the bench. Kroos was restored to midfield in place of Robert Zulj, while Christopher Lenz started at left-back ahead of Ken Reichel. The visitors from the capital started with purpose and control, creating the early chances. Kiel goalkeeper Kenneth Kronholm reacted quickly to block a shot from Mane, before then turning a strike from Andersson behind the post. Kiel's best chance of the half was out of the blue and Rafal Gikiewicz had to make a strong save from Okugawa's effort. Dominik Schmidt almost scored an own goal, but his blushes were saved by the width of the post on 23 minutes. Just four minutes later, Kroos bagged a deserved opener for the away side, curling a right-foot shot into the far corner of the net following great work on the right-hand wing from Grischa Prömel. Gogia will have been disappointed not to double Union's lead before the whistle with two half-chances in the Kiel penalty area.
Union faced tougher questions from Holstein Kiel in the second half, just like against Bielefeld last Friday. Gikiewicz saved from Okugawa once more, before Alexander Mühling blazed a shot over his crossbar from close range. Hartel and Mees were both introduced as Union looked for a second in the last 20 minutes, and it almost came through Andersson. The Swedish striker rounded the keeper, looked set to finish but Hauke Wahl cleared defiantly off his goal line. Mees' direct play and confidence from last week's goal were a problem for the hosts and the Union substitute came close on two occasions. Union's outstanding defence this season came to the fore in the final 10 minutes, managing the game superbly ahead of them. Kiel struggled to break down the red wall and at the same time, opened up chances at the other end. Hartel hit the post when one-against-one in stoppage time, but Andersson would make the most of the space afforded to him a minute later, finishing off in the first minute of additional time – his ninth goal of the league season.
"For me, it was a very clever and comfortable performance from my team – at least that's how I perceived it," said Union's head coach in the post-match press conference. "We had a very good balance to defend well then also create dangerous chances in the spaces. Kiel didn't give much away. We also needed some luck after the break as there were situations in which you could also score a goal. But if you look at the 90 minutes, we had a lot of clear goal chances, so for me this victory is fine."
1. FC Union Berlin head north to meet Holstein Kiel
1. FC Union Berlin will face Holstein Kiel at the Holstein-Stadion on Friday March 1 at 18:30 as Urs Fischer’s team look to bounce back from last week’s draw at home to Arminia Bielefeld.
Review: Home stalemate, Kiel see off Bochum
On matchday 23 of the 2.Bundesliga campaign, Union welcomed Bielefeld to the Stadion An der Alten Försterei. Former coach Uwe Neuhaus returned to Köpenick and was warmly appreciated by those in the stadium. Joshua Mees headed Union into a first-half lead, but Fischer’s men were left frustrated by the events of the second half. Bielefeld came out stronger and equalised through Jonathan Clauss in the 62nd minute.
Meanwhile, Tim Walter’s Kiel racked up a 3-1 win at VfL Bochum. Alexander Mühling, Janni Serra and Masaya Okugawa found the scoresheet and extended Kiel’s unbeaten run in the league to six games. The northern Germans have gained praise for their expansive, attacking football and are just two points behind Union in the table.
Record: An even contest in the 2.Bundesliga
The historical data suggests the two teams are evenly matched in league meetings. Union have won three, drawn three and lost four in all competitive fixtures. In the second division, however, the Köpenick club have edged out Holstein Kiel on some occasions. Grischa Prömel and Sebastian Polter scored injury-time goals to beat Kiel at home in the reverse fixture. Last season, the clubs played out a 4-3 win for Union in Berlin, whilst sharing the spoils in a dramatic 2-2 draw at the Holstein-Stadion.
“We can expect a difficult, but interesting game against a team which has been doing well since the start of the season and plays successfully at home,” said coach Fischer at Thursday’s pre-match press conference. “This team has huge quality in the forward movement which will need to adapt to. So it’s definitely going to be an interesting task for us.”
Personnel: Fischer pushes Mane in training
The Berliners are dealing with the same long-term absentees as before: Sebastian Polter remains on the sidelines and is recovering from a foot problem. Michael Parensen picked up a virus last week and has missed training, but could be back on the pitch within the next week or two. After being left out against Bielefeld as a precaution, Carlos Mane has trained the whole week and will be available for selection in the starting XI, according to Fischer.
Holstein Kiel have been dealt blows on the fitness front since the return of the year: both David Kinsombi and Kingsley Schindler are ruled out at the moment. Aaron Seydel is injured, whilst the fitness of Dominik Schmidt is still questionable for Friday's match.
Service: No tickets left in Kiel
1. FC Union Berlin will again be well-supported on the road with 1,300 to fill the away block at the Holstein-Stadion. There are no tickets available on the day at the stadium and fans are reminded there are no parking spaces in the ground vicinity. Supporters are encouraged to use shuttle buses which can be found at Central Station.