A five-star Union Berlin performance ended a run of five games without a win as bottom-placed Kaiserslautern were beaten at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei.
Sebastian Polter scored a hat trick under the lights in Köpenick, while Giuliano Modica and Marcel Correira contributed with own goals. The result capped off an impressive performance, one which was long coming after recent displays. Such was the frustration after the 1-0 loss in Sandhausen that Jens Keller rung six changes ahead of tonight’s encounter.
Backed by a boisterous home support, Union set the tempo in the opening exchanges. Toni Leistner and Polter missed chances inside the first few minutes before the former Queens Park Rangers centre forward popped up to convert the cross from Kristian Pedersen. Despite Union’s conviction in front of goal, Kaiserslautern’s on-loan keeper Marius Müller turned in a sensational performance to keep the scoreline respectable.
Christopher Trimmel and Fabian Schönheim combined on 11 minutes as Modica turned the ball past his own keeper. Polter had his second of the night on 25 minutes, rounding the keeper after great work from Steven Skrzybski. Less than two minutes later, the Union striker stepped up to the penalty spot and saw his effort clawed out by Müller.
Nevertheless, the Kaiserslautern defence continued to hand over the keys to the Köpenick club as Correira scored past his own keeper with less than 15 minutes left in the first period. Unsurprisingly, Union’s foot came off the boil, meaning the home supporters had to wait until the final quarter of an hour before the fifth added some shine to the performance. Marcel Hartel and Polter once again combined before the striker tucked home his third of the night.
“We played similarly to the last two home games and today we were rewarded for our efforts,” said Keller in the post-match media briefing. “The situation was not easy after the game in Sandhausen. Despite the pressure, you have seen from the beginning what the team wanted and we are happy that we played a good game and won so clearly. Victory was important for our self-confidence, but we're already facing another tough away game in Aue.”
Union Berlin will look to put together some momentum in the second division, when they head to Erzgebirge Aue on Saturday September 30. Given the ongoing renovations to the Sparkassen-Erzgebirgsstadion, the small number of tickets in the away block have all been sold.