After 105 games Kevin Behrens is ending his time at 1. FC Union Berlin, leaving Köpenick to join fellow Bundesliga side VfL Wolfsburg.
From wild card to regular player
Behrens moved from second division club Sandhausen to the capital in the 2021/22 season, when he was welcomed into a team full of self-confidence, having just qualified for their first European competition in many years, the UEFA Conference League.
The now 32-year-old began his time at Köpenick as a substitute for then-head coach Urs Fischer. In 24 games during the 2021-22 season, he started twice from the start, but came off the bench a further 22 times. It didn’t take him long to prove that a sub can become a super-sub when at the Alte Försterei in only his fourth Bundesliga appearance he scored an 88th minute, 1-0 winner against Arminia Bielefeld, Union’s second win of the still young season. With three assists and one more goal over the course of the season he helped Union qualify for the UEFA Europa League for the first time in the club's history.
He also made his mark in the second round of the DFB Pokal, as against Waldhoff Mannheim the Bremen native scored his first brace in a Union shirt with goals in the 18th and 118th minutes. Union’s journey ended in the semi-final that year against RB Leipzig (1-2).
In the second half of the following season, Behrens developed into a regular, making 17 of his 33 appearances in the starting eleven. With eight Bundesliga goals and a further two assists, he had more than repaid the trust placed in him as Union secured fourth place in the table, and with it a historic qualification for the UEFA Champions League.
This special time for Behrens rolled over into the current season. Indeed, it couldn’t have got off to a better start when he hit a hat-trick in the first game against Mainz 05 and scored a further goal in the next game against Darmstadt 98. But things were about to get even better, with the striker's form attracting the attention of national coach Julian Nagelsmann. Kevin Behrens made his debut as a German international against Mexico in October.
Kevin Behrens was one of many affected by Union’s subsequent poor run of form and has not scored since his goal against Darmstadt, but his physicality, experience and spirit meant that he continued to get plenty of minutes under new head coach Nenad Bjelica.
But now his chapter at 1. FC Union Berlin ends after 105 games, with 20 goals and 8 assists.
Views on the transfer
"Fulfilling Kevin's wish to move to VfL Wolfsburg was a very difficult decision for us,” said Oliver Ruhnert, Union’s director of men’s football on the deal. “It was a great journey with him over the last few years. We will miss him as a player, but we will always remember his time at Union fondly."
"Union have become my family in recent years, I've been able to experience incredible things here that will always have a place in my heart,” said Behrens, meanwhile. “I would like to thank all the fans and staff for a wonderful time and wish the club nothing but the best for the future."