Two games, two wins – Union Berlin maintained their 100% start to the season, coming out on top after a thrilling 4-3 win over Holstein Kiel.
The 21,242 fans inside the Stadion An der Alten Försterei weren’t just treated to a scorching Berlin afternoon, but also a feast of football with SIX goals scored during the first half. Last week’s 1-0 win at Ingolstadt was enough justification for coach Jens Keller to pick the same line-up and formation for the visit of Kiel.
The match started at a ferocious speed with the hosts from the capital on the front-foot, shooting towards the Waldseite. Marcel Hartel and Simon Hedlund showed great understanding in the first 10 minutes, but could not find the net. Indeed, the away side took the lead through Kingsley Schindler in the 12th minute.
Not even three minutes had passed before Union responded brilliantly: Damir Kreilach rose highest and converted Christopher Trimmel’s cross from a free kick.
But the celebrations at the Alte Försterei were cut short when Schindler put left-back Kristian Pedersen in an uncomfortable situation which resulted in an own goal. On the 24th minute, parity was restored with Kreilach turning provider for Steven Skrzybski who opened his account for the campaign.
There was no time for anyone to catch a breath before Marvin Ducksch had the ball past Jakob Busk, but the referee flagged for offside. Immediately at the other end, Skrzybski linked up with Hedlund who made it 3-2 to the hosts after 27 minutes. Dominik Drexler scored five minutes later for Markus Anfang’s men to keep the scores level at the interval.
Both teams returned unchanged and the break seemed to suit Union, who took control of the play. After 52 minutes, Skrzybski showed wonderful control and poise before smashing the ball underneath the crossbar to add a fourth for Keller’s side on an action-packed afternoon. Sebastian Polter and Trimmel had further chances to put daylight between the sides, but Union were satisfied nonetheless, securing three points on the second week of the season.
“There’s not much to say about this game,” concluded the coach. “Our attacking tactics in the first 30 minutes were excellent, but unfortunately we made too many defensive mistakes. The spacing was not right and we made many mistakes. I have rarely seen that. Nevertheless, we scored some great goals and were the better team in the second half. Overall, it was a spectacle; the fans are going home happy and we are going home happy.”
Attention turns next weekend to the DFB Pokal where Die Eisernen travel south to meet 1.FC Saarbrücken, two-time runner-up in the German Championship. The match takes place at the Hermann-Neuberger-Stadion in Völklingen on Sunday 13 August at 15:30 local time.