Union confirm quartet’s departure

By Peter Vice   @ViceytheSS

Ahead of tomorrow’s season finale, 1. FC Union Berlin have confirmed four upcoming departures for the summer. 

Niko Gießelmann.
Niko Gießelmann. Photo: Fuguito, CC BY-SA 3.0

Berlin’s Köpenick side confirmed on Friday that three players sitting on expiring contracts are set to depart the club this summer. Veteran wingback Niko Gießelmann, midfielder Levin Öztunali, and winger Tim Maciejewski will receive their send-offs in tomorrow’s season finale. Additionally, defender Timo Baumgartl will be headed back to his parent club of PSV Eindhoven after an extended loan spell that spanned two years.

The 31-year-old Gießelmann joined Union from Fortuna Düsseldorf in 2020 and was a key performer in Union’s Europa League qualifying campaign last year. The Hannover-native became a regular in head-coach Urs Fischer’s wingback rotations. He departs having made an impressive total of 87 appearances in the FCU tricot.

Unlike Gießelmann, Öztunali never really managed to become one of Fischer’s reliable puzzle-pieces in the trainer’s regular 3-5-2 system. The Hamburg native joined from FSV Mainz 05 one year after Gießelmann, rarely even featured in the team’s matchday squad. Such was also the case with the 22-year-old Maciejewski.

Former Stuttgart academy man Baumgartl featured on a more regular basis last season. The 27-year-old made a total of 35 league appearances across all competitions for die Eisernen in the 2021/22 campaign. After fighting his way back from a testicular cancer diagnosis late last year, the Büblingen native only saw seven meaningful league deployments this year.

Stuttgart have been rumored to be interested in requiring Baumgartl. Gießelmann and Öztunali have been linked with several second tier sides. The former could return to his old stomping ground of Hannover while the latter – famously the grandson of German footballing legend Uwe Seeler – will need a club to take a chance on a major career revival.

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