STUTTGART, Germany — Union Berlin twice came from behind to draw 2-2 at Stuttgart and take a big step toward Bundesliga promotion in the first leg of their playoff on Thursday.
Suleiman Abdullahi needed just 87 seconds to equalize for Union after Christian Gentner had put the home side ahead against the run of play in the 42nd minute.
Marvin Friedrich’s attempted clearance from Mario Gomez’ header ended in his net in the 51st, but the Union defender atoned by equalizing again for the visitors in the 68th.
With two away goals, Union is now in a good position ahead of the second leg in Berlin on Monday. The Koepenick-based side, which finished third in the second division, lost only once at home all season, while Stuttgart, which finished third from bottom in the Bundesliga, won only once and lost 13 of its 17 away games this season.
"We definitely imagined it going differently," Stuttgart coach Nico Willig said. "Still, it’s only halftime. We simply have to win in Berlin on Monday."
That will be Willig’s last game in charge as Holstein Kiel coach Tim Walter is taking over next season, regardless of division.
After completing its best ever season, Union is bidding to become the first club to have played in East Germany’s Oberliga to play in the Bundesliga since Energie Cottbus’ relegation in 2009.