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Union Berlin battle to a 1-1 draw in Köln

Eisern Spirit:

Mon, 13. August 2018
Union Berlin battle to a 1-1 draw in Köln

1. FC Union Berlin came from behind at the RheinEnergieStadion to claim a point on the road against 2.Bundesliga newcomers 1. FC Köln. 

The Billy Goats took the lead four minutes before half time with a strike from Christian Clemens. However, Urs Fischer's side fought back and earned a deserved point thanks to the Swedish striker's first league goal of the campaign.

1. FC Köln: Horn; Horn, Sobiech, Czichos, Risse; Hauptmann (Guirassy 84), Clemens (Zoller 77), Schaub, Hector; Drexler, Cordoba (Terrode 60) 

1. FC Union Berlin: Gikiewicz; Trimmel, Friedrich, Parensen, Reichel; Hartel (Kroos 90), Prömel, Schmiedebach; Hedlund, Redondo (Gogia 66), Andersson 

Head coach Urs Fischer made one change to his starting side from the 1-0 win against FC Erzgebirge Aue last weekend – Simon Hedlund replacing Akaki Gogia in attack. The Berliners made a vibrant start to the game with the Swedish winger and Kenny Prince Redondo breaking into dangerous positions on the wing. After six minutes, Redondo cutely laid the ball off to Marvin Friedrich but the centre-back's shot deflected wide.

The home side, relegated from the Bundesliga last term, emerged stronger after the 20-minute mark. Louis Schaub headed just past the target on 28 minutes before Jhon Cordoba's strike was parried wide by Rafal Gikiewicz a minute later. In a 4-3-3 formation, Fischer's Union were compact and restricted Markus Anfang's team to opportunities from distance. But the first half ended in frustration for the Köpenick club as Christian Clemens pounced on a loose ball, drove through the Union midfield and crashed the ball past Gikiewicz. 

After regrouping in the tunnel, Fischer's men emerged with extra fight and purpose. Ken Reichel smashed a free kick against the crossbar two minutes into the second 45. Meanwhile, Jonas Hector headed on to the woodwork from close range less than 30 seconds later. Friedrich was dangerous for a second time around the Köln box but Timo Horn was equal to his glancing header. The first change for the Köpenick side, Akaki Gogia added fresh legs in place of Kenny Prince Redondo who worked tirelessly on the wing. Fischer's trust in Gogia was justified as the 27-year-old led a blistering counter-attack down the left-hand side, setting up Andersson inside the six-yard box for the equaliser.

With further support from Christopher Lenz at full-back, Union put in a gallant fight against the ball and created additional moments of positivity in the final third. Hector was inches away from conceding an own goal following a powerful run from Grischa Prömel. Felix Kroos joined the show in stoppage time as Fischer's team ran down the clock and sent more than 2,000 travelling supporters back to Berlin in good spirits.