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."