1. FC Union Berlin's excellent first-half performance was in vain as Urs Fischer's side went down 1-2 at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei against Eintracht Frankfurt.
Frankfurt took all three points from Köpenick with Bas Dost and Andre Silva scoring the goals in the first 17 minutes of the second half. Substitutes Sheraldo Becker and Anthony Ujah combined on 86 minutes, the Nigerian slotting home from the edge of the box — his first Bundesliga goal for the club.
1. FC Union Berlin: Gikiewicz; Trimmel, Subotic, Friedrich, Reichel; Schmiedebach (Ujah 66), Gentner, Andrich; Bülter (Mees 66), Andersson, Gogia (Becker 59)
Eintracht Frankfurt: Trapp; Hasebe, Hinteregger, Durm (Chandler 76); Fernandes, Kostic, Kamada (Kohr 71), Toure; Silva, Sow, Dost (Paciencia 82)
There were four new faces in the starting line-up off the back of last week’s defeat in Leverkusen — Neven Subotic, Akaki Gogia, Manuel Schmiedebach & Ken Reichel took their place from the start, while Keven Schlotterbeck, Marcus Ingvartsen and Sheraldo Becker dropped to the bench. Meanwhile, Christopher Lenz sustained an injury in his last appearance at the BayArena and missed out.
Fischer called out his side’s issues last weekend and the start showed an energetic response. Union threatened on numerous occasions around the box, dominating one-vs-one but missing the final pass or shot. A corner kick, smartly kept on the ground, led to a shot from Marvin Friedrich who was denied by excellent reflexes from Frankfurt’s Kevin Trapp. The Union Berlin central defender — his solitary goal in Stuttgart securing our eventual promotion — intervened at the other end on 16 minutes, making a last-ditch slide tackle to stop Andre Silva in his tracks. Robert Andrich skied a long-range shot around the half hour period before two strikes in quick succession from Reichel kept Trapp on his toes. The defence fought strongly against a dynamic Frankfurt attack throughout, but towards the end of the half they relied on a fine save from Rafal Gikiewicz, who clawed out a header from Silva.
The second period got off to the worst possible start for Fischer's men. Dost reacted quickest from the loose ball to score after Filip Kostic's strike was parried out by Gikiewicz. A minute off the hour mark, Union's game plan was dealt a blow when Gogia took a heavy knock to his knee on the sideline with Becker coming on as his replacement. Three minutes later, Frankfurt countered ruthlessly from end-to-end to score the second: Djibril Sow's pin-point delivery was headed into the net by Silva. Fischer wasted little time to shuffle the park with Ujah and Joshua Mees replacing Schmiedebach and Marius Bülter. A good period of pressure with a quarter of an hour left increased hopes of a late fightback. Trapp earned his wages with a string of fine saves — in particular from Becker who cut inside to shoot on his left foot after 76 minutes. The Dutch winger turned provider with four minutes left at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei. Becker drilled the ball into the feet of Ujah and the Nigerian striker finished off with a neat finish. Despite the late consolation, Adi Hütter's team held on to take all three points back to the Commerzbank-Arena.
After a string of frustrating results, Union Berlin will look to overturn their arrears next Sunday at the Volkswagen Arena against VfL Wolfsburg.