Goals from Sebastian Andersson and Akaki Gogia fired 1. FC Union Berlin to a 2-0 victory over SV Sandhausen at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei.
The Swede headed in the opener after 11 minutes, but Köpenick club were forced to be patient in the hunt for a second goal after the restart. Eventually, with three minutes left, Gogia finished off a super counter-attack, led by substitute Joshua Mees.
Union Berlin move up into third place in the 2.Bundesliga ahead of FC St. Pauli on goal difference and two points behind 1. FC Köln.
1. FC Union Berlin: Gikiewicz; Trimmel, Hübner, Friedrich, Reichel; Rapp (Zulj 70), Prömel, Kroos; Abdullahi (Gogia 66), Andersson, Mane (Mees 77)
SV Sandhausen: Schuhen; Karl (Jansen 83), Knipping (Behrens 74), Verlaat, Paqarada, Diekmeier; Linsmayer, Zhirov, Taffertshofer (Vollmann 55); Wooten, Schleusener
Urs Fischer’s side returned to their own patch following Monday’s exertions in Hamburg. Manuel Schmiedebach incurred a suspension in St. Pauli and was replaced in the starting team by Nicolai Rapp, who joined from FC Erzgebirge Aue last month. Ken Reichel and Christopher Trimmel took over the full-back positions once again, whilst Suleiman Abdullahi returned to the side. Sandhausen goalkeeper Marcel Schuhen had little time to settle into the game with Union starting with intent. The away goalie palmed a header from Andersson over the bar in the second minute. Though the game was interrupted for three minutes as Abdullahi underwent treatment, Union kept going and scored after 11 minutes. Marvin Friedrich’s header from a set-play was well saved by Schuhen but Andersson came in late to nod in the rebound. Felix Kroos netted shortly afterwards but his goal was ruled out for offside. At times in the first half, Fischer’s side played some superb football. Carlos Mane in particular lit up the game with some outstanding touches and dynamic dribbles. Union had the opportunities to make the points safe but failed to add a second before the break.
Uwe Koschinat’s Sandhausen returned better for the experience of the first half. The away side played deeper and were more compact in midfield. Union struggled to create, while Sandhausen grew in bravery to take more risks in attacking situations. Dennis Diekmeier put a goal on a plate after the hour mark for Fabian Schleusener but the Sandhausen front man lost his footing in front of goal. Fischer turned to his bench and introduced Gogia, Mees and Robert Zulj within a 10-minute period as Union looked to regain control of a difficult encounter. With three minutes to play, Mees launched a rapid counter-attack, driving through the heart of the Sandhausen defence before Gogia finished off to seal the three points.
Union Berlin coach Fischer said post-match: "Sometimes you just have to say: The main thing is that we got the three points. We've already had some good performances; I'm thinking of the situation with Andersson and Abdullahi, where we'd have to lead higher at half time. The longer the game goes: 1-0 is a tight result, and so the tighter it gets. Sandhausen got better in the second half, then we struggled until the 88th minute when the second goal came."