Robert Andrich's thunderbolt in the 85th minute secured 1. FC Union Berlin's place in the quarter-finals of the DFB Pokal.
Andrich's powerful shot from the edge of the box decided a match with little between the Bundesliga side and the surprise-package of the competition.
SC Verl: Brüseke; Chobora, Loch, Stöckner, Ritzka; Kurt, Schallenberg (Haeder 88), Schnöpper; Yildirim (Andzouana 78), Janjic, Hecker (Schikowski 68)
1. FC Union Berlin: Gikiewicz; Schlotterbeck, Friedrich, Parensen; Trimmel, Lenz, Andrich, Gentner (Prömel 73); Ingvartsen (Ryerson 90), Andersson, Ujah (Bülter 60)
Urs Fischer and his squad travelled to the SPORTCLUB Arena in Verl with the ambition of reaching the last eight of the DFB Pokal for the first time since Union reached the final in 2001. Taking the foot off the gas was not the order of the day following Saturday's 0-5 loss at Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga. Neven Subotic dropped out and was replaced by the experienced Michael Parensen, while Anthony Ujah and Marcus Ingvartsen were given the nod ahead of Marius Bülter and Yunus Malli. The Köpenick club knew what to expert in Verl, the Regionalliga West side already knocking out FC Augsburg and Holstein Kiel en route to the Last 16. On a difficult pitch, the game largely went as expected: a scrappy contest with few mistakes in Verl's disciplined defence and the home side looking to move the ball quickly in behind the Union backline. Rafal Gikiewicz plucked a few crosses out of the air and was untested until the 18th minute when the Polish goalkeeper threw himself at the feet of Janjic to prevent the Verl striker from scoring. A minute later, Lenz's long throw picked out Ujah and the Nigerian hooked the ball into the arms of Robin Brüseke. Sebastian Andersson cut a frustrated figure in attack, with little to feed off and his two efforts on goal – one which landed outside of the stadium – summarised well the quality of the first 45 minutes.
Union returned unchanged but there was little cutting edge. Brüseke palmed a shot clear from Christian Gentner who combined neatly with the Swedish striker. Fischer introduced Bülter on the hour mark in place of Ujah and the attacker made an important mark on the game. The 26-year-old, who previously played at Regionalliga West league leaders SV Rödinghausen, won the visitors important yards and was influential in many attacks in the second half. Brüseke was alert on 64 minutes to push clear a strike from Bülter after an excellent run up the pitch. Grischa Prömel was handed the opportunity to get more minutes under his belt following his return from injury at Signal Iduna Park at the weekend. On 81 minutes, Bülter opened up the Verl defence, playing through Ingvartsen but the Danish U21 international struck the side of the net. The match had everything, which suggested an extra 30 minutes and perhaps penalties would have to be played, but in the end Union prevailed. Brüseke initially did well to clear a high ball but as the goalie quickly looked to set himself, Andrich picked up the loose ball and smashed a 20-yard shot in off the crossbar. Julian Ryerson solidified Union's defence for the two-and-a-half minutes of additional time as Verl threw caution to the wind, but Fischer's men held on to progress.
The DFB Pokal quarter-final draw will take place on Sunday.
Around 24 hours earlier, 1. FC Union Berlin will look to get back to winning ways in the Bundesliga with another match on the road – this time at Werder Bremen.