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Late goals fire Union to 3-1 win in Freiburg

DFB Pokal:

Tue, 29. October 2019
Late goals fire Union to 3-1 win in Freiburg

1. FC Union Berlin struck two late goals to beat SC Freiburg 3-1 and progress to the third round of the DFB Pokal.

Robert Andrich's wonderful right-foot finish looked to have secured the spoils for the Köpenick club on 87 minutes and it was confirmed by Christian Gentner's goal, two minutes into stoppage time.

Joshua Mees opened the scoring on 36 minutes for Urs Fischer's team – a goal which was cancelled out in first-half stoppage time by Freiburg's Robin Koch. 

Freiburg: Flekken; Schlotterbeck, Koch, Heintz (Lienhart 76); Günter, Frantz, Haberer, Schmid; Petersen, Grifo, Sallai (Höler 62)

1. FC Union Berlin: Gikiewicz; Parensen (Rapp 14), Friedrich, Schlotterbeck; Ryerson, Schmiedebach (Gentner 77), Andrich, Lenz; Ingvartsen, Ujah, Mees (Bülter 88)

There were six changes to Union's team from the taxing 90 minutes at the Allianz Arena on Saturday. Fischer restored his players to a 3-4-3 formation, which saw Michael Parensen return in place of Neven Subotic. Captain Christopher Trimmel, Felix Kroos, Gentner, Bülter and Sebastian Andersson were given time off, with Julian Ryerson, Manuel Schmiedebach, Keven Schlotterbeck, Mees and Anthony Ujah starting. On the other side, Christian Streich used the opportunity to rotate his squad with five changes from the 2-1 win over RB Leipzig at the weekend. The most notable absence was Germany U21 international Luca Waldschmidt, a change forced by a foot injury.

The Köpenick club didn't quite dominate the tempo like the recent league meeting at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei when Bülter fired a screamer in after 60 seconds. Freiburg asserted themselves on home turf and hit the post after eight minutes – a header from Nico Schlotterbeck, which clipped the bottom of the woodwork. Two minutes after Mees tested Mark Flekken from distance, Fischer was forced into a change with Parensen unable to continue following a knock on his back. Thankfully for the Swiss coach, Nicolai Rapp stepped in and the formation remained unchanged. In attack, Ujah was handed big shoes to fill in place of Andersson, but the Nigerian was influential in giving Union an outball and ball security in attacking areas. On 33 minutes, Ujah cushioned a high ball out wide to Ryerson, the Norwegian crossing into the mixer. A deflection saw the ball come out as far as Andrich, but the midfielder's drive was pushed away by Flekken. Ujah turned on the style three minutes later, sending in a superb delivery for Mees to head home the opener. However, the first period ended on a damp note for Fischer's team as Koch rose highest to bring Freiburg back on level terms.

The third-placed team in the Bundesliga threatened into the second 45, but didn't convert good periods of possession into dangerous chances. As the home players struggled for new ideas, the match turned somewhat scrappy around the hour mark. Schmiedebach's risk of a second caution was enough to force Fischer into the change on 77 minutes which saw Gentner arrive on the field. The former Stuttgart midfielder would play a huge part in the dramatic finale as Union snapped ruthlessly on to two mistake from the home side to book their place in the third round. On 87 minutes, Andrich picked up the ball on the edge of the area and somehow thrashed the ball from a difficult angle into Flekken's bottom corner. Bülter was introduced with a minute-or-so to go and the winger pick-pocketed Schlotterbeck with Gentner finishing off a lethal counter-attack in the second minute of stoppage time. 

1. FC Union Berlin will find out their third round opponents on Sunday evening. But 24 hours earlier, there is the small matter of the home match against Hertha BSC in Köpenick. Tickets are sold out for the Saturday 18:30 kick-off.

Full match report to follow.