Berlin must to settle for a point, despite good chances to increase the lead after the break
Coach Hofschneider changed the system again, as Union played with a 3/5 defensive chain, double six and a 1-2 offensive department. Gogia suffered a last minute injury, increasing the offensive injury-related crisis. Daube replaced him and played on the ten. The guests played in the expected 4-4-2 system, so no surprises from Achim Beierlorzer.
On paper, Union had a 3v2 advantage in midfield, while Jahn had a 2v1 advantage on the wings. Regensburg started a little better, more offensive minded in the first minutes, trying to take advantage on the left flank, with Mees moving in the center, leaving space for Nandzik to cross. But nothing dangerous developed from this move. Both teams had only half chances in the first minutes, with the strikers moving wide to receive the ball and shooting from acute angles.
After the hectic start, Union tried more structured attacks, with the offensive full backs working on both flanks, but the first real scoring opportunity came after a corner kick. Torrejon headed the ball into the crossbar from close range. The game was really balanced and the pace rather low. Berlin neutralized Jahn’s advantage on the wings with the two sixes doubling the full backs. Regensburg balanced the central zone against the ball with one of the strikers dropping to create a 2-1 midfield. Another move from the guests was with the wingers playing more central, overcrowding that zone and disturbing Union’s build up play. The next scoring chance obviously appeared after set pieces – Jahn had the possibility to take the lead after a quick played free kick from Knoll close to the halfway line and perfect synchronization with Grüttner. The guests were a little better in finding space to pass the ball and had the next huge chance on a quick counter attack, without offering time for Berlin to react. The hosts were a step behind and couldn’t close the gaps in midfield as Daube was not really helping the defense.
Out of nowhere, Union took the lead just before half time after a long pass, an unhappy clearance from Knoll and a placed shot from Kroos. This was the first time when the 3v2 superiority in midfield was an advantage for the hosts. The long pass didn’t offer Jahn enough time to regroup, so Union’s captain appeared free at the edge of the penalty area.
The hosts came from the dressing room with momentum after taking the lead and started the second half fast and furious. In 6-7 minutes Union created four huge scoring chances. The double six and defensive lines played high, managed several quick interceptions and started high paced attacks. Regensburg was overwhelmed by this aggressiveness and couldn’t do the moves to block Berlin’s midfield trio. The guests were completely outnumbered in midfield and couldn’t handle Daube between the lines.
As it usually happens in football, one team fails to score from several good situations and the opposition hits with the first opportunity. After an interception in their own half, Jahn Regensburg ran on counter attack on the left wing with Mees and Lais preparing Grüttner’s equalizer. The hosts were not impressed and replied after only a few minutes with Hosiner finishing a great action in which their forward line changed from 1-2 to 2-1, with Skrzybski dropping next to Daube.
Regensburg had the chance to equalize again after a long range free kick fired by Knoll into the post, while Adamyan’s rebound forced Mesenhöler to show all his skills. It was still Regensburg on the trigger with the next big chance, Gimber being allowed too much space in front of the area, half left, with Adamyan moving inside with Trimmel in order to create space for the shot.
Where were the hosts during this time? Nowhere. Hartel replaced Daube, but couldn’t link the counter attacks, as he lost most of the balls he played and was rarely in a playable position. In the final minutes of the game, the guests tried to pump the ball into the box and benefited from a defensive error. Leistner cleared a cross too short, although Mesenhöler was well placed to catch it. Pedersen tried to send the ball as far as possible without seeing that Gimber was better positions and committed a foul inside the box – penalty kick. Knoll stepped in and scored with a safe shot. Berlin was out of energy in injury time and couldn’t set any offensive accents, while the guests were more than happy with the late draw.
17th min: Left corner kick for Union Berlin. Trimmel crosses the ball in the goal area, Torrejon jumps highest and heads the ball into the crossbar. Jahn’s goalkeeper was blocked by Hosiner and couldn’t block the cross.
30th min: Knoll takes a free kick from ~40m slight left and his low vertical pass is perfectly synchronized with Grüttner’s run into space. Union’s defense is surprised, but the shot from ~11m at the far post goes wide.
32nd min: After an interception in their own half, the guests start a quick counter attack. George, who defended in a central position advances without pressure. Torrejon decides to attack him, he’s too late, and so the pass goes to Adamyan. The pace increases as the attack gets closer to Union’s goal, the hosts have no time to react, defending 3v4. Adamyan plays a first touch pass to Mees. He sends a quick pass left to Lais, who runs into space from Kroos’s midfield zone, but Union’s captain doesn’t follow. Trimmel is 1v2, tries to stop Mees, but leaves Lais in a 1v1 situation with Mesenhöler. The shot goes to the far post, but the goalkeeper stretches and saves with his fingertips.
45th min: Leistner plays a long pass from halfway line down the right wing to Trimmel. Nandzik is too far and offers him space for a first touch cross towards Hosiner, in the penalty area. Knoll defends well, is faster than the striker and clears the ball outside the box. Kroos is there in an advanced position, unmarked, as the guests don’t have time to move in defensive positions. Union takes advantage of their 3v2 midfield superiority for the first time and the captain scores with a placed low shot at the near post – 1-0.
47th min: Daube intercepts the ball in the opposite half and plays Hosiner, who drops between the lines, unmarked. He has enough time to turn around and process the best option. Nachreiner finally decides to attack him, but it’s too late. The pass goes left to Daube, who runs in the space left behind Jahn’s defense. After a short misunderstanding with Daube regarding who to receive the ball, Skrzybski quickly runs in front of the goal to receive the cross. With a desperate effort Knoll tries to stop the cross, has no chance, but the ball passes millimeters in front of Skrzybski’s boot.
49th min: After a free kick cleared by the guests, Union recovers possession high up the pitch. Torrejon receives the ball in an advanced position, on the left side. Saller is away from his defensive position, George doesn’t help him, Hosiner runs behind him in the free space and receives the pass. Nachreiner tries to block him, but Hosiner easily dribbles past him and has the option to pass to Skrzybski at the 11m spot or finish himself. Knoll is caught in the middle, tries to block the shot, so Hosiner passes. But Skrzybski shoots over from a must score position.
51st min: FC Union again regains possession is the opposite half after a cleared corner kick. Kroos is on the ball on the left wing and plays a one-two pass with Friedrich. Union has a 2v1 advantage on the left side and Trimmel blocks Saller’s path to attack the ball. Kroos sends a perfect cross at the far post, Torrejon runs from deep to attack the ball at full speed, but his header goes agonizingly close.
52nd min: Hosiner drops left at the halfway line to receive a pass from Torrejon. FC Union has a 3v2 advantage in that area and what happens next is a lesson of brilliant football. The ball follows the route Hosiner – Pedersen – Kroos – Daube – Prömel with first touch passes making Regensburg’s midfield line look ridiculous. The latter has huge space in front of him to run into. Skrzybski makes a fake run from right to center, Nandzik is fooled, Prömel moves in that space and shoots close to the far post.
59th min: Jahn regains possession in their own half and starts a quick attack, without leaving Union time to regroup. Lais is on the ball, Trimmel unsuccessfully tries to block him, the pass goes left to Mees. As Trimmel is not on his position anymore, there is a lot of free space to run forward. Kroos finally decides to attack Mees as he gets closer to the area, but he is defending 1v2 and Jahn’s winger plays a one – two pass with Lais, arrived in an offensive position to help the attack. The next pass goes right to Grüttner, who is one-on-one with the goalkeeper. From ideal position Regensburg’s captain cannot miss – 1-1. Friedrich didn’t see the moment to advance in line with his defensive colleagues, but chose to stay close to Adamyan, keeping Grüttner on side, available to receive the ball.
63rd min: Berlin replies in no time – Leistner clears a ball from their own half. Daube is between Jahn’s defensive and midfield lines, receives the ball and quickly passes to Skrzybski, dropped in line with him. He brilliantly handles a situation when he is surrounded by three opponents and has an eye for Hosiner, who is unmarked, as Nachreiner decided to attack Skrzybski. The Austrian easily dribbles past Knoll, who hurried to put him under pressure and then he has a clear shot at the far post – 2-1.
66th min: After an unnecessary foul from Kroos, Regensburg has a free kick from ~30m, central position. Knoll shoots into the right post. It’s Adamyan with the rebound from close range, but Mesenhöler answers with a strong reflex.
79th min: Regensburg are in a 2v1 situation in front of the opposite area, half left, with Mees on the ball. He sends a rather uncomfortable pass to Gimber, in a central position. Gimber runs left, into space, as Adamyan runs from left to right and Trimmel follows him. The path for the shot is clear, but the ball goes millimeters wide of the far post.
89th min: The last important scene of the match brings the not undeserved equalizer for the guests. Adamyan sends a cross from the right, the ball takes a slight deflection and looks like Mesenhöler will easily catch it. But Leistner miscalculates the trajectory and considers the goalkeeper is too far and he must clear the ball. His clearance is short, Pedersen wants to remove the ball from the dangerous area, but Gimber is faster and the full back commits a foul – penalty kick for the guests. Knoll takes responsibility and scores from the spot – 2-2, after a frustrating misunderstanding between Leistner and Mesenhöler.