After 1. FC Union Berlin ended their maiden Bundesliga season with a 3-0 victory at home to Fortuna Düsseldorf, the club have announced the departure of eight players.
Eight Players Leave 1.FC Union Berlin
In order for Union Berlin to progress for next season, manager Urs Fischer will have to sort through his squad before bringing in some fresh faces in the summer.
Defender Keven Schlotterbeck and midfielder Yunus Malli will return to SC Freiburg and VfL Wolfsburg respectively after their loan spells came to an end. Youngster Maurice Miguel Opfermann Arcones has also been released.
Their Union Careers
Gikiewicz was always set to leave in the summer after turning down a new deal. The 32-year-old made 75 appearances following his arrival in 2018, and even scored an equaliser against Heidenheim in the promotion-winning season. The Polish goalkeeper also kept 24 clean sheets during his time in Köpenick.
Parensen, who was the clubs longest-serving player, also departs, having made 249 appearances. He joined in 2009 and was part of the squad that won promotion to 2. Bundesliga and the Bundesliga last season. The 34-year-old, who scored his only top-flight goal at Freiburg, will remain at the club as an employee.
Another defender to leave is Reichel. The 33-year-old full-back, who was born in Berlin, made 37 appearances for the club having joined from Eintracht Braunschweig in 2018.
Midfielder Schmiedebach also arrived in 2018 and made 32 appearances as Die Eisernen secured promotion to the Bundesliga. However, the former Germany U21 international has only managed six appearances this season.
Striker Sebastian Polter will be another big miss for Union fans. The 29-year-old, who scored 46 goals in 104 games for the club, enjoyed a fruitful loan spell in 2014, scoring 14 times from 29 matches. He joined permanently in 2017 and continued his good form in front of goal. Despite netting the winner in the first-ever top-flight Berlin Derby, the striker has struggled for game time this season and was told he would be released at the end of the campaign.
Loan Return and Contract Negotiations
Schlotterbeck had a solid year for Union. The 22-year-old will return to Freiburg a much stronger player. Union fans will be hoping that the defender, who scored once from 27 appearances, will be a summer transfer target for Urs Fischer.
Malli, who only managed 13 appearances while on loan from Wolfsburg, will also return to his parent club.
Meanwhile, Felix Kroos and Christian Gentner have contracts at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei until June 30, 2020, but discussions are ongoing with the club about extensions.