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Union held to 2-2 in Stuttgart

Friedrich scores on return:

Tue, 15. December 2020
Union held to 2-2 in Stuttgart

1. FC Union Berlin went into a 2-0 lead at VfB Stuttgart, but the Swabians fought back and earned a point at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.

Marvin Friedrich's all-important goal in Stuttgart in May 2019 sent Union into the Bundesliga for the first time in the club's history, and on his return he headed the visitors into the lead after four minutes. Union's second goal came with about 13 minutes left on the break, Christopher Lenz crossing for Taiwo Awoniyi to head home.

But Stuttgart's pressure was rewarded in the last five minutes with two goals from substitute Sasa Kalajdzic.

VfB Stuttgart: Kobel; Mavropanos (Stenzel 53), Anton, Kempf (Kalajdzic 80); Wamangituka, Endo, Castro, Sosa (Coulibaly 45); Förster (Klement 80), Klimowicz (Didavi 45), Gonzalez

1. FC Union Berlin: Luthe; Trimmel, Knoche, Friedrich, Gießelmann, Lenz; Griesbeck, Prömel; Teuchert (Ryerson 68), Becker (Bülter 61), Awoniyi

A short three days after Saturday's 1-1 draw at home to Bayern Munich, Fischer's team started with two fresh faces in Niko Gießelmann and Cedric Teuchert. Union returned to the back-three formation and the former Düsseldorf left-back slotted in to join Robin Knoche and Friedrich in central defence. After four minutes, the Köpenick club had found the breakthrough from another Christopher Trimmel set-play situation. The Austrian skipper dropped a tidy cross into the area and Friedrich's header flew past Kobel and into the net. Stuttgart, who won 5-1 at Borussia Dortmund on Saturday and started level on points with Union, always carried a threat in the final third. Andreas Luthe parried away a dangerous shot from Klimowicz after 12 minutes to keep the Swabians at bay. Union's defensive shape was again on point and blocked routes to goal for Stuttgart through the middle of the pitch. But the final touch, final pass or cross was lacking at the other end and Fischer's men were unable to extend their advantage. Teuchert blazed over after 43 minutes in the next best chance for Union towards the end of the half.

Pellegrino Mattarazzo turned to his bench quickly across the interval and into the second 45 minutes as the hosts looked to get back into the match. Nicolas Gonzalez hit the crossbar with a bicycle kick before the Argentine tangled with Sebastian Griesbeck on 57 minutes. Gonzalo Castro passed up a huge opportunity to equalise despite the pressures from Friedrich and Knoche on 63 minutes. Fischer added fresh legs in the shape of Marius Bülter and Julian Ryerson, but the second-half dominance lay with Stuttgart. With 13 minutes to go, Union thought they had guaranteed all three points when Christopher Lenz landed an inch-perfect cross on to Awoniyi's head and the Nigerian bagged the second. Stuttgart's substitute, the Austrian striker Kalajdzic, would turn out to be the game's decisive player, pulling one back with a header on 85 minutes. The former Admira Wacker frontman then volleyed home an impressive equaliser in the final minute of the match. Referee Sascha Stegemann consulted with video referee Robert Hartmann and after several minutes of deliberation, the goal stood. Union might have won it in stoppage time, but Fischer's men were held to a point and will look ahead to Friday's home game against Borussia Dortmund.