Union Berlin's ten men fought back from a goal behind against FC Augsburg to secure the club's first point in the Bundesliga.
Sebastian Andersson tucked home the equaliser with 10 minutes left after Ruben Vargas had given Augsburg the lead before the hour mark. Keven Schlotterbeck was shown a red card with six minutes to go, but the Köpenick side battled on to get off the mark in their maiden Bundesliga season.
FC Augsburg: Koubek; Max, Jedvaj, Lichtsteiner, Khedira; Baier, Gruezo (Oxford 73), Vargas (Richter 65); Hahn, Gregoritsch, Niederlechner (Finnbogason 87)
1. FC Union Berlin: Gikiewicz; Trimmel, Subotic, Schlotterbeck (Sent off 84), Lenz; Prömel, Andrich, Ingvartsen (Andersson 71); Becker (Abdullahi 67), Ujah (Polter 71), Bülter
Union Berlin came into the first away clash of the season with four changes. Christian Gentner dropped out through a late injury in training, while Andersson took his place on the bench. Urs Fischer put trust in Marcus Ingvartsen, Anthony Ujah, Sheraldo Becker and Neven Subotic, who made his debut for the club. Martin Schmidt’s team had three changes from last Saturday’s heavy loss at Borussia Dortmund — Philipp Max returned, while Stephan Lichtsteiner and Tin Jedvaj made their debuts. Given the results of the teams on the opening weekend, the rather cautious start to proceedings came as little surprise. A plus for Urs Fischer was the organisation of his team against the ball, a lot more like last season’s consistent performances in the 2.Bundesliga than last Sunday. Union Berlin’s first shot on goal arrived after 26 minutes when Ujah picked up the ball wide of the box, but despite the tight angle, the Nigerian lashed one off target. Particularly pleasing for the Köpenick side was the manner in which the team grew into the first half. The final quarter of an hour belonged to the promoted side with the home defence forced to answer some questions. Marius Bülter shot over the bar on 35 minutes before Ingvartsen’s strike was deflected after 40. A goalscorer against Germania Halberstadt in the German Cup, Keven Schlotterbeck forced a save from Koubek with a header before Robert Andrich’s half volley struck new signing Jedvaj a few metres from the goal at the whistle.
Both teams returned from the break with a purpose to win the game. With more risks, came more mistakes and openings. Becker and Ujah should have done better two minutes into the half but Jedvaj showed his quality again with a good interception. However, the opening goal was converted by Augsburg after 59 minutes when Florian Niederlechner turned his marker and crossed for Vargas who finished past Rafal Gikiewicz. Fischer and Union responded with positive and attacking substitutions: Suleiman Abdullahi, Sebastian Polter and Andersson were given the nod before the last 20 minutes. Although Niederlechner should have killed off the contest, Union dipped into their energy levels and showed a real sense of determination to pick up the first points of the campaign. Christopher Lenz hit the post on 78 minutes and it wasn't long after until the equaliser. On 80 minutes, Polter picked up the ball from a loose pass, held his nerve in front of goal and laid it to Andersson who slotted into the bottom corner with composure. As Union pushed more in the direction of Koubek's goal, there was a minor setback as Schlotterbeck was shown his marching orders by referee Robert Schröder. Nevertheless, Union kept control of the final stages and held on for a well-deserved point on the road.
1. FC Union Berlin are back at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei next Saturday, with Borussia Dortmund heading to the capital for the late kick-off at 18:30. Tickets are sold out.