1. FC Union Berlin held on impressively with ten men to beat 1. FC Köln 2-0 at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei.
Köln-native Marcel Hartel scored an incredible overhead kick, 24 seconds into the game. Florian Hübner added a second from a set-play on the half hour mark.
Union were dealt a tough blow on 65 minutes when Ken Reichel was sent off. However, Urs Fischer's side fought hard to secure an important win — the first of 2019 in the 2.Bundesliga.
1. FC Union Berlin: Gikiewicz; Trimmel, Friedrich, Hübner, Reichel (Sent off 65); Schmiedebach, Prömel, Kroos (Lenz 67); Hartel, Polter (Andersson 44), Abdullahi (Parensen 82)
1. FC Köln: Horn; Czichos, Mere, Schmitz (Sorensen 81); Kainz, Hauptmann (Horn 66), Geis, Drexler, Risse (Clemens 61); Cordoba, Terrode
After Saturday’s 2-2 draw with FC Basel, head coach Urs Fischer welcomed Rafal Gikiewicz and Florian Hübner back into the starting XI. The action, however, in the early stages took place at the other end as 1. FC Union Berlin took the lead after 24 seconds. Hartel cushioned a long ball in the air before pulling off an inspirational overhead kick to beat Timo Horn from the edge of the box. Markus Anfang’s team dominated the next spell of the game but were kept to a distance by the Union rear-guard. Hübner headed in Christopher Trimmel’s free-kick after half an hour to double the Köpenick club’s lead at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei. Five minutes later, Ken Reichel’s chipped finish was cleared off the line by Rafal Czichos following a wonderful through pass from the returning Grischa Prömel. Köln carved out their best chance of the half on 40 minutes when Niklas Hauptmann picked out Dominick Drexler, who in turn played in former Union striker Simon Terrode, but his finish was inches wide of the post. Fischer was forced to introduce Sebastian Andersson, a minute before half time, after Sebastian Polter hobbled off with a foot problem. Just as the game entered stoppage time, Prömel hit the bar and Andersson turned home from a set play but the Swedish centre forward was flagged offside.
The visitors from Köln, who previously had lost just one game to Union in the 2.Bundesliga, tried to press for an opportunity in the early periods after the restart. No clear chances were forthcoming for the Billy Goats as the referee struggled to contain a niggly encounter in midfield. On the 65th-minute point, Reichel proved to be the victim and was shown a harsh second yellow card to leave Union fighting with ten men. Anfang's side worked the ball around the box well, but created no high-quality opportunities aside from a brief sight at goal for Jhon Cordoba. Horn defended his goal well, preventing Prömel from scoring a third in stoppage time. Despite the pressure and the man advantage, Union battled through to achieve an impressive win against one of the league's favourites for promotion.
Union's league campaign continues on Monday evening when the Köpenick club will meet FC St. Pauli at the Millerntor-Stadion in Hamburg.