Taiwo Awoniyi made it four in a week as his second-half equaliser secured 1. FC Union Berlin a 2-2 draw at Hoffenheim.
The summer signing from Liverpool added to his opening week strike against Leverkusen and his double in Finland with a 47th-minute strike to make it 2-2.
Union took the lead through Niko Gießelmann before Hoffenheim fought back with two goals from Kevin Akpoguma and Jacob Bruun Larsen to lead at the break.
Referee Sascha Stegemann handed Marvin Friedrich his second booking of the 90 in stoppage time to leave Union with 10 players at the final whistle.
Hoffenheim: Baumann; Akpoguma, Posch, Vogt, Raum; Rudy, Stiller, Baumgartner, Kramaric, Bruun Larsen (Adamyan 63); Dabbur (Rutter 63)
1. FC Union Berlin: Luthe; Gießelmann (Trimmel 68), Jaeckel, Knoche, Friedrich, Ryerson; Khedira, Ingvartsen (Öztunali 60), Haraguchi (Teuchert 85); Kruse, Awoniyi (Voglsammer 68)
After Thursday’s first-leg victory in Helsinki, Urs Fischer rotated his squad with four new faces coming into the starting XI. Niko Gießelmann replaced Tymoteusz Puchacz at left back, while Paul Jaeckel was handed his first start since signing from Greuther Fürth. Marcus Ingvartsen and Julian Ryerson were in from the start. The Norwegian was given the nod and he was establishing a key impact on the game in place of captain Christopher Trimmel. On 10 minutes, Robin Knoche stretched the game with a terrific pass out to Ryerson. He took control and picked out Gießelmann, the opposite full-back, in the centre of the box. Oliver Baumann was up to the first effort but Gießelmann followed up and scored from the rebound. The lead lasted about three minutes as Hoffenheim equalised through Kevin Akpoguma’s header. But the dominance stayed on Union’s side and the Köpenick club created good opportunities thereafter. Max Kruse smashed a free-kick from 30 yards against Baumann’s crossbar, while Taiwo Awoniyi ran through on goal but was blocked at the last minute by the Hoffenheim goalkeeper. Union were left slightly frustrated at the break as Jacob Bruun Larsen’s strike ended up as the difference. The Dane, who spent last season on loan at Anderlecht, collected the pass from Andrej Kramaric and slotted under Andreas Luthe.
Union needed a spark when referee Sascha Stegemann restarted the half – and it arrived. Kruse sliced open the home defence with a fantastic pass, Awoniyi ran through on goal to face Oliver Baumann. The Hoffenheim goalkeeper saved the first shot but the striker showed good instincts to take advantage of the rebound and bring the visitors level. On 63 minutes, Urs Fischer’s side played themselves into the box with Awoniyi showing great movement and hold-up play. He picked out his strike partner Kruse who was denied by an excellent stop from the Hoffenheim goalkeeper. Compared to the latter stages of the first half, Union looked confident and assured. Andreas Luthe’s penalty box was not breached too much from Sebastian Hoeneß’s side who beat Augsburg 4-0 last week on the opening day. But at the other end, Kruse and Awoniyi combined to great effect to give the away side a chance at three points. Kruse linked with substitute Levin Öztunali to give the former Mainz man a chance at goal, but the ball rolled away from him at the crucial moment. From a corner kick in the 73rd minute, Friedrich’s header was almost bundled in by Rani Khedira – Baumann again the difference to keep the home side level. With the intensity of the game catching up, Fischer used his squad – Andreas Voglsammer and Christopher Trimmel were introduced for experience and fresh legs. In stoppage time, Marvin Friedrich was shown his second yellow of the afternoon and the Union captain for most of today will miss next weekend’s match against Borussia Mönchengladbach.
1. FC Union Berlin will get the opportunity to complete the play-off challenge this Thursday when KuPS from Finland arrive in the capital. The second leg will be held at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin with a 20:15 kick-off scheduled.