1. FC Union Berlin went down 3-0 to strong La Liga outfit Celta Vigo in the final pre-season friendly at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei.
Spanish international Brais Mendez scored in the first half, while Santi Mina and Jorge Saenz sealed the win for Celta Vigo with two goals after the interval. Nevertheless, Urs Fischer's side will take the positives from their good periods in the match ahead of next weekend's DFB Pokal tie, which kicks off the competitive season in Germany.
1. FC Union Berlin: Gikiewicz; Reichel (Lenz 67), Rapp, Schlotterbeck (Parensen 86), Trimmel; Prömel (Kade 86), Gentner (Schmiedebach 86); Becker (Gogia 61), Bülter (Flecker 61), Ingvartsen (Polter 67), Andersson (Ujah 67)
Celta Vigo: Blanco (Villar 61); Costas (Beltran 61), Suarez (Molina 84), Aspas (Losada 20), Lobotka (Junca 84), Olaza (Sisto 84), Saenz (Bermejo 86), Aidoo (Araujo 61), Vasquez (Carreira 88), Mendez (Fontan 88), Mina (Lauti 84)
The visitors, who will open their season against Real Madrid in a fortnight, moved the ball around comfortably in the opening exchanges, but struggled to break through a well-organised setup from Union. Celta’s captain Iago Aspas was substituted after 20 minutes following a collision with Nicolai Rapp. Shortly after the restart of play, Fran Escriba’s team broke the deadlock, Denis Suarez’s pass carving open the Union defence and the ball slotted past Rafal Gikiewicz by Mendez. The hosts tried to clear their arrears soon after with Grischa Prömel driving through the Celta Vigo midfield and striking the outside of the post from 25 yards out. Union grew into the half and looked the most dangerous in the final 10 minutes before the break. Blanco kept out efforts from Ingvartsen and Andersson at point-blank range. On 37 minutes, Keven Schlotterbeck attacked a corner kick from Christopher Trimmel and watched his header cannon against the crossbar.
The domination from the end of the first half continued into the second as Union tested the Celta Vigo goalkeeper Ruben Blanco. Gentner’s first-time finish on 48 minutes from the edge of the box was tipped over the bar by the Spanish goalie. Ingvartsen and Marius Bülter stung the gloves of Blanco soon after from long-range as the home side enjoyed a strong period in the match. But a mistake in the defensive build-up handed a simple chance to Santi Mina and the striker finished off. Substitute Akaki Gogia collected a neat pass inside from Christopher Lenz, but his shot was excellently saved by Ivan Villar. Jorge Saenz’s headed in a third for Celta Vigo with nine minutes left to round off the afternoon.
With pre-season coming to a close, 1. FC Union Berlin can turn their attention to competitive football. The Bundesliga side will head to VfB Germania Halberstadt on Sunday August 11 for the first round of the DFB Pokal.