1. FC Union Berlin 4-3 Holstein Kiel: Steven Skrzybski double settles genuine thriller
Union Berlin celebrate one of four goals in their first home match of the season. | Photo: Bundesliga.

The 2. Bundesliga has an early contender for game of the season, as 1. FC Union Berlin got the odd goal in a seven-goal thriller against new boys Holstein Kiel.

In a stunning first 32 minutes, Kiel led twice through Kingsley Schindler and a Kristian Pedersen own goal, with the hosts equalising thanks to Damir Kreilach and Steven Skrzybski. Simon Hedlund put Union in front, before Dominick Drexler brought the scores level again.

The second half was more sedate once Skrzybski put the hosts ahead again, and 4-3 was ultimately how it remained as Union made it two wins in two.

Kiel lead twice in goal frenzy first half

The first 45 minutes were an incredible show of the best the 2. Bundesliga has to offer. Schindler drew first blood for Kiel. A Jakob Busk goal kick conceded possession straight to the opposite side, with a blistering attack leading to a Schindler shot being saved by the Union goalkeeper. He couldn’t hold on though, the ball fallen straight back to Schindler, who didn’t waste his second chance.

The hosts responded immediately. Christopher Trimmel whipped his free-kick straight into the Kiel box, with Kreilach meeting it to head into the far post. The parity lasted no time at all. Drexler picked out an excellent through ball to Schindler, who placed the ball past Busk. Pedersen tried to stop it crept towards goal but the ball went off the post, off his body and in.

Unbelievably the newly-promoted side could have further extended their lead shortly after. Marvin Ducksch, the scorer of their dramatic 95th minute equaliser against SV Sandhausen on Sunday, headed Alexander Mühling’s cross narrowly wide.

Union survived that scare, and were soon level again. A great team move led to Skrzybski chested down and firing in past Kenneth Kronholm after being set up by Kreilich. Skrzybski then turned provider for Hedlund, who beat Kronholm to put the hosts into the lead for the first time in this absurd match.

Damir Kreilach goes for a header. | Photo: Bundesliga.
Damir Kreilach goes for a header. | Photo: Bundesliga.

If the home fans thought they had put Kiel in their place now, they were wrong. Drexler smashed his effort into the bar, before Busk palmed away another shot from Ducksch. He would be beaten again soon though. Steven Lewerenz crossed the ball in for Drexler to neatly put past the Dane.

Barely more than half-an-hour had passed by that point, but the scorers were given a break for the rest of the half, just about. Kiel had Kronholm to thank for keeping out a header from Kreilach following a corner, with the midfielder meeting the second corner as well, only going over this time. Lewenenz meanwhile saw a chance saved by Busk.

Skrzybski settles it as Union put brakes on Kiel

The second half had an almost impossible act to follow. Jens Keller would still have wanted his side to pursue a second win on the spin, after beating FC Ingolstadt 04 last weekend, and they went the right way about it. Following a good build-up, Skrzybski scored a nice second, beating Kronholm from a difficult angle to put his side 4-3 up.

They appeared to have control of the game now, Kiel having less success in getting forward. Sebastian Polter hadn’t been heavily involved up to this point, but he had two chances in as many minutes to really put the game to bed. First he failed to hook in a Kreilach free-kick, with Marcel Hartel similarly unable to do anything with the loose ball, before the Union forward had another good chance saved by Kronholm.

Kiel’s attack had been neutered, Schindler twice getting caught offside, hitting the back of the net on one occasion after play had already been stopped. Die Eisern had further chances at a fifth, with Philipp Hosiner going wide soon after coming off the bench and Polter putting another effort off target as well.

In stoppage time, Schindler almost scrambled a dramatic late equaliser past Busk, but it was little more than a half chance and a few seconds later the capital club were celebrating a win that will probably live long in the memory. Kiel will be disappointed, but they have made a superb impression on the league in their opening two matches.