In a week where I took in 3 matches in the capital it was pleasing to get back to my spiritual home - the Stadion An der Alten Försterei. Full credit to 1860 for selling out their full allocation. It upped the dosage in terms of atmosphere and the away fans were quite rightly applauded by the Unioner before kick-off.
It was fitting that Stuff opened the scoring after putting pen to a new deal that sees his stay at Union extended until the summer of 2014. Neuhaus said of the towering defender that he is an integral part of the Union team due to his aerial ability. He demonstrated this with aplomb after Mattuschka whipped in a corner. The "baumlangen" defender rose and deftly guided the ball into the far corner. The former Palace keeper, attired in his gormless light grey tracksuit bottoms, was helpless. An unstoppable header.
Whilst Mattuschka had won the corner that led to the goal with a rasping shot that was turned wide, he found the conditions difficult today. The greasy surface meant that the ball was not glued to his right foot as usual. He was also shackled by a very combative 1860 midfield. The visitors looked sharp and dangerous on the counter-attack. Zoudin provided the highlight of the first half with a dazzling dribble through the heart of the 1860 rearguard. However, as is often the case when a player sees sight of goal after such a run, he ran out of steam and the chance came to nothing. He was starved of possession throughout the game. If Union are to get the most out of the tricky player he needs to see more of the ball.
The Unioner look on from a packed stand
After the re-start 1860 played like a team who just been told they could win the match. They looked sharp and were confident in possession. The half was a mere 6 minutes old when "Mr 1860", Benjamin Lauth scored with a tap in. The ball was worked wide and after an inviting cross was fired across the six yard box he smashed the ball home.
The team from München were in the ascendancy and it was no surprise when Union's lead went up in smoke. The goal had been coming. The ball was again worked wide and when the cross evaded all of the Union defence, Lauth notched his second. A header that Haas managed to save - unfortunately he was three yards inside his goal.
Union's lead goes up in smoke as a Pyro greets the visitors second goal
There was twenty minutes remaining and Union were facing the ignominy of a fourth home defeat this term. To put this in to context this would have meant that only second bottom Regensburg would have had a worse home record. In Union's defence two of all of these defeats have come by the odd goal. However, Union's inability to break sides down at home is very apparent.
Neuhaus made two key substitutions. Silvio was replaced by Nemec and Quirring came on for Zoudini. Silvio's first touch is a pass but he works tirelessly and is constant handful for defenders. He's a striker though and rarely looks like scoring. On far too many occasions he was playing behind Mattuschka and Terrode. Surely this is not at the instruction of Neuhaus.
Nemec provided Union with a share of the spoils. The giant Stuff once again won the aerial duel and when Király spilled the header, Nemec pounced to stab home from close range. My 3-2 prediction pre-match never looked a real possibility. It was one point gained rather than two lost was the consensus amongst the English Unioner. Neuhaus ascribed the draw to bad passing from the Berliners in his post-match press conference.
On Wednesday night (5:30pm) Union travel to Duisburg who are third from bottom. The game is a must-win for Union if they want to better their points tally and 7th place finish of last season. The game will also be notable for the 12 minutes and 12 seconds of silence that is part of a protest against the DFB and their 'secure stadiums' propaganda. A manifesto to infringe on basic human rights. I have written about this previously here.
English speaking FC Union Berlin fan club
We're in the process of setting up an English speaking, FC Union Berlin fan club. We're hoping to get expressions of interest throughout 2012/13 season and become an official fan club in time for the 2013/14 season. We wrote to the club this week and will be looking to organise a meeting (in a pub) the weekend of the Berlin derby. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @unioninenglisch if you like idea or fancy coming along for a beer.
Pictures today were brought to you by the excellent Ballspanner-Unterwegs.