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1. FC Union Berlin vs 1. FC Heidenheim 1846

German DFB Pokal, 2

1. FC Union vs Heidenheim

German DFB Pokal, 2

Wed., 19. October 2022, 20:45 Uhr
An der Alten Försterei
2 : 0
21.029
SR: Florian Badstübner

Union Win in the Cup

Match report

1. FC Union Berlin: Lennart Grill – Tymoteusz Puchacz, Diogo Leite, Robin Knoche, Danilho Doekhi, Julian Ryerson – Janik Haberer (Genki Haraguchi), Paul Seguin (Morton Thorsby), Andras Schäfer (Niko Giesselmann)  – Sven Michel (Kevin Behrens), Sheraldo Becker (Tim Skarke)

1. FC Heidenheim: Vitus Eicher – Jonas Föhrenbach, Patrick Mainka, Tim Siersleben, Marnon Busch (Marvin Lee Ritmüller) – Lennard Maloney, Norman Theuerkauf (Adrian Beck) – Jan-Niklas Beste (Stefan Schimmer), Kevin Sessa (Dzenis Burnic), Andreas Geipl – Tim Kleindienst (Christian Kuhlwetter)

Goals: 1-0, Puchacz (7). 2-0, Michel (57)

Attendance: 21,029

And the Union train just keeps a-rolling on. They beat spirited opponents in FC Heidenheim 2-0, with goals from Sven Michel and Tymoteusz Puchacz.

Union stronger, take an early lead. Urs Fischer had said FC Heidenheim weren’t to be taken lightly, whether they were fourth in the 2. Liga playing at the home of the Bundesliga table-toppers or not. He had bad memories of them, of the loss away in his first season in Köpenick, of the near loss that was rescued only in the 94th minute by keeper Rafal Gikiewicz’s remarkable headed equaliser against them here later that season.

But he’d also said that rotation was necessary. Danilho Doekhi came into the back three, joined by Tymoteusz Puchacz, (a man with recent league winning success at Trabzonspor, lest we forget) at left wingback. Paul Seguin was in the middle to give Rani Khedira a breather, and Sven Michel came in for Jordan Siebatcheu.

And after the final whistle, both Michel and Puchacz would be celebrating more than their returns to the squad. 

Behind them all, anchoring the side with a spot between the sticks, was Lennart Grill.

Grill got his first touch early, as Union pinged the ball around with confidence, moving it from side to side, always looking, moving and shaking. Whereas they were happy to let Dortmund have the ball at the weekend, Union had it in spades now. They exuded confidence, they were happy in control.

And almost immediately they made it count. The captain Julian Ryerson, in place of Christopher Trimmel, Seguin and and Andras Schäfer were all involved in the build up as Union showed their intent and pace, showing their capabilities and invention on the ball.

After only seven minutes Sheraldo Becker jinked past his man on the right, he chipped a delightful ball towards the back post where Puchachz was all alone. The keeper, Vitus Eicher had been drawn out of position to the ball like he’d been caught in the stare of a snake charmer. All the Polish fullback had to do was volley it into the net with the side of his foot. But he hit it with real brutality, the frustration, maybe, of his time spent on the bench unleashed immediately, taken out on something or someone.

Becker hit an almost identical one just a couple of minutes later after bewitching the Heidenheim midfielder, Norman Theuerkauf, with a step-over, a shake of his hips, a drag back and a burst.  This one came to nothing. Becker was having fun though. He dragged a shot wide from 25 yards just after that, too.

But Heidenheim weren’t here to be humiliated. This was the cup, after all. And as Fischer had warned that every dog can have his day in a knock-out tie, they also know their history here. Grill was drawn into a superb reflex stop after a full blooded drive from Andreas Geipl, fisting the ball over for a corner. Jonas Föhrenbach bent one with his left from way out on the right, through the crowd in the box where it would have just needed a touch from a Heidenheim player to put it in. After almost half an hour Kevin Sessa thought he’d been brought down by Leite in the box, but the referee, Florian Badstübner, waved his claims away withoput so much as a second thought. Geipl hit another, full-blooded from even further out, but Grill was equal to it.

But as the half wore on Union were pouring down the left, first Michel and Puchacz combining, then Haberer doing it on his own. Danilho Doekhi flashed a header from another Puchachz set-piece just wide of the back post. Leite flicked one towards goal from inside the box but it was deflected away.

Michel should have probably done better after just over half an hour when he rose to flick a header from Ryerson’s deep cross wide. He’d shaken his man, he just had to guide it home. And just before the half time whistle Puchacz conjured up another cross from out there on the left which Becker headed into Eicher’s hands.

Union control the second half, double their lead.

Union started the second half with the look in their eyes and the spring in their steps that implied they were looking to settle things quickly. Inside five minutes Paul Seguin robbed Jonas Föhrenbach and set Becker through into his favoured channel, on the right, bearing down on goal, but Eicher managed to get a toe to his shot before it could roll inside the back post. Then Julian Ryerson then hit a delicious curling cross that Michel rose to meet but headed just wide of the keepers’ left hand post.

But it was 2-0 after 57 minutes when Sven Michel made it right, his luck changing, with a controlled looping header over the keeper. It had all come from another passage of neat, sharp passing, another superb cross from the right. Heidenheim were left with no response; it had been coming. Michel held up Jakob Busk’s shirt to celebrate. The third keeper has been a cornerstone of the squad since the 2. Liga, and the image showed the togetherness in this squad, the sense of collective that Fischer has instilled in his charges. It was a beautiful moment, as well as a symbolic one.

Union were rampant now. Only Mainka’s lunge stopped another Becker shot, Eicher’s superb stop thwarting Robin Knoche, fresh from scoring the winner against Dortmund. Puchacz thought he had a penalty when barged over by Marnon Busch. Michel thought he had one when tackled by Busch. Haberer had a header cleared off the line.

Heidenheim’s long-term coach Frank Schmidt made four changes after an hour, but he was papering over the cracks by this point. There were ole’s all around as Leite held off Dzenis Burnic again and again when at almost the opposition corner flag. There was a chill in the Autumn air, and a celebration in the stands.

The Unioner were singing their name to the tune of Amazing Grace, and, oh, how sweet was that sound. Every match seems to bring new highs, every opportunity for this side to show the world they mean business is used.

Heidenheim fought to a man. To their great credit, they never gave up. Christian Kühlwetter had possibly their best chance of the night as he shot just wide with a quarter of an hour to go. But they’d been outplayed a team on top of their game, on top of the world.

And Union go into the pot for the third round, their destiny on three fronts entirely in their own hands. 

Union to Host Heidenheim

Match preview

On Wednesday, 19.10.2022, 1. FC Union Berlin will host the 2.Liga side 1. FC Heidenheim in the second round of the DFB Pokal. Kick off at the Alte Försterei is at 20.45. The teams have had a similarly short run-up to this fixture, having both played on Sunday in their respective leagues.

The opponents

The club from Baden-Württemberg are currently enjoying what can be considered a pretty "normal" season  - at least as opposed to the extraordinary times the Unioner are currently experiencing. Heidenheim have played twelve matches in the 2. Liga so far, and are sat in a strong 4th place in the table. Frank Schmidt's promotion chasing side, however lost to a Steven Skrzybski inspired Holstein Kiel at the weekend, in only their second defeat of the season. Prior to that they had remained unbeaten for eight games in a row, picking up 14 points out of a possible 24.

Long-time coach Schmidt, who celebrated his 15th anniversary at the club in September, has tended towards sending his team out in a 4-1-4-1 formation this season. Sometimes this would be swapped for either a forward three, or a diamond in midfield, particularly earlier on in the season. The main constant has been the permanent presence of his back four.

The head to head


The two clubs know each other very well from their days spent together in the German lower divisions, having faced each other ten times between the 2014/15 and 2018/19 seasons. The record from these encounters speaks in favour of the Heidenheimers, with the Unioners only managing three victories to their five. The last two encounters at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei ended in 1-1 draws, the latter of which stands out because of Rafal Gikiewicz' remarkable, last-gasp equaliser.

Union also have bad memories of playing them in the cup, going out to them in the first round, 2-1, in 2015. 

The reunions

For two players, the match will mark a reunion with former clubs and colleagues. Union's Tim Skarke spent his youth at Heidenheim, taking his first steps in professional football there. He made 70 appearances for them in the 2. Liga before moving to Darmstadt in 2019 after eleven years at the club. Meanwhile, from the other side, Lennard Maloney is looking forward to a meeting with his own past. Trained in their youth ranks, he later played one game in Liga 2 for Union before moving to Heidenheim in the summer after previous spells at Chemnitz and Dortmund II.

The personnel

Apart from Jordan Siebatcheu, who picked up a knock against Dortmund, Urs Fischer has the entire squad at his disposal. 

The coaches' view ahead of the game

Fischer cut a relaxed figure in his pre-match press conference. "We only had a little time to recover and prepare, but we are used to that by now", he said. "Heidenheim are currently in a very good place, even though they lost the last game. Frank Schmidt is doing a great job there and has formed an aggressive team that have good basic organisation and allow few chances. They concede few goals and have a clear philosophy, playing long balls in behind the back-line. In addition, they never stop running, which will be a challenge for us. We will definitely have to go to our limit if we want to move into the next round."

FCH coach Frank Schmidt says he sees tough opponents in Union. "This will be a very difficult task for us. It's not comparable to those games in the 2. Liga. Union are a team that know exactly what they have to do to be successful. They are coherent in their tactics, very good defensively and have outstanding counter-pressing. They can also punish mistakes quickly and effectively."

Service info: Sold-out home section

The home section at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei is sold out, with just under 350 Heidenheim fans expected in the away section. As usual, the stadium will open two hours before kick-off. Fans without tickets can watch the match live on Sky. As usual, Union will provide information on the match on the club's own ticker, as well as in English on Twitter.

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MatchStatistics

1. FC Union Berlin vs 1. FC Heidenheim 1846

59 % Possession 41 %
78 % Pass Completion Rate 66 %
49 % Successful Tackle Rate 51 %
19 Shots on Goal 7
24 Crosses 11
1 Caught Offside 3
1 Yellow Cards 2
0 Yellow-Red Cards 0
0 Red Cards 0

Last match

Date Home Result Away