1. FC Union Berlin 1-1 Eintracht Braunschweig: Stalemate at die Alten Försterei

Neither of last season’s 2. Bundesliga promotion challengers 1. FC Union Berlin and Eintracht Braunschweig were able to make major strides in getting themselves into the picture this year as they shared a 1-1 draw.

After a goalless first half, Simon Hedlund put the hosts in front, however the lead didn’t last long with Christoffer Nyman equalising for the visitors. Neither side was able to find an equaliser in the closing stages.

Hosts have best chances after delayed kick-off and slow start

Both of these sides have made unconvincing starts after finishing fourth and third respectively last season. After two wins Union Berlin have picked up just two points in their last three, losing a thriller to Fortuna Düsseldorf last time out.  Braunschweig have just one win and four draws. They though were unchanged from their draw with SV Sandhausen, whilst Union recalled Marcel Hartel in place of Stephan Fürstner.

Kick-off was delayed by half-an-hour due to Braunschweig fans getting stuck in traffic, and the game started slowly once it did get underway. Hedlund saw an early effort blocked, yet Braunschweig looked the most likely of the teams to score in a low-key opening to the match. Suleiman Abdullahi struck wide after a promising attacking move, whilst Onel Hernández made a good run into the box, but his ball to the centre was taken by Jakob Busk.

Union offered virtually nothing in attack in the opening half-hour, however after that point the opportunities began to appear as they found some gaps in the Braunschweig defence. Hedlund, after receiving the ball from Felix Kroos, seemed caught between shooting and crossing, with the eventual ball out of the reach of Sebastian Polter.

Hedlund did set up a chance for Polter a few minutes later, chesting down a long-ball for him, but the Union Berlin striker could only put his effort over. The lively Hartel then had a shot blocked, with Polter’s attempt on the rebound deflected wide. Hartel had a couple more chance go by before the break, but the deadlock remained unbroken after 45 minutes.

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Hedlund and Nyman score as neither side able to find a winner

Jasmin Fejzic had a lucky escape in the opening minutes of the second half as Union pounced on his poor clearance, however Hartel failed to control the ball in the box and it went out wide. He wasn’t so lucky a few minutes later. Braunschweig seemed content to keep the ball in the air but the hosts pounced, Polter passed through to Hedlund, who had the time and space to open the scoring.

Akaki Gogia nearly made it two shortly after, but otherwise Braunschweig responded well. Abdullahi should have equalised when he got around Busk but could only shoot wide. However Nyman did just that a couple of minutes later. Salim Khelifi found him from the left, and although there was a suspicion of offside, he was in a legal positon and slotted in at the far post.

Abdullahi had two chances soon after the goal to complete the turnaround for the Lions, but was denied by Busk on both occasions. At the other end, Hartel hit the ball spectacularly and was only denied by the crossbar. Substitute Steven Skrzybski, who had been missed in a creative sense, then put a perfect cross in to Polter, with only the hand of Fejzic standing between him and the second goal.

On another night this could have been set up for a grandstand finish. Yet neither side was able to muster up much of a chance in the final minutes as their frustrating starts to the season continued, although Braunschweig are at least still one of two unbeaten sides in the league (along with Düsseldorf).

Kiel continue superb winning run to go top

In Friday’s other match in the 2. Bundesliga, Holstein Kiel beat Erzgebirge Aue 3-0 to continue their superb start to the season.

Excellent first half strikes from Alexander Mühling and Marvin Ducksch set up last season’s 3. Liga runners-up for a fourth win a row. Aue fought for a way back into the game but Ducksch made the three points safe with a third goal in the second half.

The results puts Kiel top of the table, albeit only ahead of Düsseldorf, who play bottom side SpVgg Greuther Fürth on Sunday, on goal scored.