Union beaten in midweek pre-season friendly

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1. FC Union Berlin were beaten for the first time in pre-season, losing 1-0 at newly-promoted 2.Bundesliga outfit Eintracht Braunschweig.

The Köpenick club will be frustrated not to have taken one of the many opportunities to score, but it is early days ahead of the new campaign. Immanuel Pherai scored for the hosts, beating Lennart Grill on 55 minutes.

Eintracht Braunschweig: Fejzic (Hoffmann 45), Decarli (Schultz 60), Nikolaou (Otto 78), Multhaup (Marx 45), Pherai (Ibrahimi 71), Donkor (Strompf 45), Lauberbach (Zauner 71), Wiebe (Kiljewski 45), Behrendt (Girth 78), Kaufmann (Ihorst 60), Krauße (Henning 45)

1. FC Union Berlin: Grill; Trimmel (Skarke 60), Jaeckel (Ryerson 60), Doekhi (Knoche 60) Heintz (Van Drongelen 60), Gießelmann (Puchacz 60); Seguin (Pantovic 45), Khedira (Schäfer 60), Haraguchi (Öztunali 60); Siebatcheu, Becker (Leweling 60)

For the second game running, Urs Fischer’s side wore the brand new 2022/23 adidas away kit. Unlike in Magdeburg, however, the Bundesliga team were unable to come out of the traps with a first-minute goal against lower-league opposition. In the fifth minute, a threatening counter-attack gave Genki Haraguchi licence to break ahead but he blazed over Fejzic’s goal. Making his debut in Union colours was new signing Jordan Siebatcheu who completed his transfer from Young Boys last week. The American-born centre forward led the attack and made his presence felt from the beginning of the match. On 14 minutes, Niko Gießelmann’s inswinging corner was headed on goal by Siebatcheu but the goalkeeper was in the right place to block the effort. Michael Schiele’s Eintracht Braunschweig were promoted in second place to the 2.Bundesliga and thrived off their third-best offensive record. Opportunities to test Lennart Grill were limited but Immanuel Pherai’s direct dribbling opened up gaps in the Union rearguard. Pherai was upended on 15 minutes and Braunschweig tested Union with a free-kick, fired over by defender Brian Behrendt. It was Siebatcheu who again looked a couple of touches away from scoring the opener. The Union number 38 put himself in the right areas but Braunschweig, in this case, managed to clear a cross from captain Christopher Trimmel. Another ball came flying in from the Austrian’s side as expected but on 21 minutes, Gießelmann headed wide. The home side gave a good account of themselves and the Köpenick club will feel the benefits from such a comprehensive test. On 40 minutes, Gießelmann made a last-ditch tackle to stop Robin Krauße from putting home a cross from Maurice Multhaup before the interval.

Fischer’s team returned with almost all of the same side, with the exception of Milos Pantovic and Kevin Behrens who were introduced for Seguin and Siebatcheu. The half got off to a bad start with Braunschweig scoring on 55 minutes. Schiele’s side took full advantage of Becker’s misplaced pass which left the Köpenick club cut open – and Pherai had no issues running past Grill and putting the ball in. Four minutes later, an offside call got Union out of jail as Lion Lauberbach fired home after the whistle was blown. On the hour mark, all of the remaining players were substituted and Union freshened up the options – Lennart Grill was the only player to complete the full 90 minutes. Returning from a successful loan spell at Trabzonspor, Tymoteusz Puchacz was clearly looking to impress. The young Pole set up chances from his position on the left-hand side but Union couldn’t turn home against an in-form Ron-Thorben Hoffmann. Pantovic saw his shot blocked on the hour with the goal gaping, before Ricky van Drongelen headed over from Puchacz’s corner kick. Next time it was Tim Skarke attacking from the opposite side of the pitch but his finish was deflected wide on 62 minutes. The clearest chance of this dominant period from Union came through Levin Öztunali who broke clear after a strong defensive tackle from Behrens. The midfielder carried on with the ball but couldn’t finish despite only facing Hoffmann. The ball was in the net after 65 minutes: Puchacz firing a wicked shot at the goal, Ryerson bundling in the finish but having allegedly fouled Hoffmann in the process. Given Union’s push to avoid a first defeat of the summer, Braunschweig were understandably clever about what they committed to attack. Luc Ihorst was denied by Lennart Grill on 71 minutes in what was by-and-large their only major opening after the goal from Pherai. Union remained in the driving seat and found themselves unstuck against the former Sunderland and Bayern Munich goalkeeper. Hoffmann tipped over acrobatically from Öztunali’s long-range shot, while he watched on as Robin Knoche headed over with about three minutes on the clock left to play.

With two wins and a defeat on the road in early bounce games, 1. FC Union Berlin will return to the Stadion An der Alten Försterei on Saturday 9 July. The season-opening game will go ahead against Bohemian Football Club from Ireland and tickets are still available here.

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Union beaten in midweek pre-season friendly

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