There will be an equal mixture of rivalry and celebration in the air when Erzgebirge Aue arrive at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei on Sunday March 11. For both teams, this weekend marks their 400th match in the 2.Bundesliga and the 16th clash between the eastern German clubs.
However, there’s bigger priorities for Union Berlin on Sunday – to continue the club’s decent home run and create some breathing space above the relegation zone. Last week’s 4-3 loss at Kaiserslautern was a tough one to swallow for many reasons: one of them is, of course, the injuries sustained to Simon Hedlund, Michael Parensen and Sebastian Polter. The latter will be ruled out of action until the end of the campaign.
Despite the challenges this week in preparing for Aue, coach Andre Hofschneider is looking forward to Sunday’s meeting at a sold-out Alte Försterei. “It is of course a special and emotional game when teams have met so often and also have a common history. For Aue there’s also a lot at stake. We are looking forward to the game in front of a sold-out house,” he said at the pre-game media briefing.
“Despite the table, Aue is a team that tries to play football out from the back,” continued Hofschneider. “You have there the technically best keeper in the league at the moment. At the front, they have played to complement each other well – one has huge space, one dominates in the air. It’s not going to be an easy opponent.”
As mentioned earlier, Hofschneider will need to deal with the loss of Polter and Parensen, two of the leading first-team players at the club. Simon Hedlund, an impressive performer in the middle of the park, is a serious doubt. Both Fabian Schönheim and Kenny-Prince Redondo are still on the sidelines with long-term concerns.
Tickets are still available in both ends of the Stadion An der Alten Försterei, although they are expected to be sold out for matchday. Gates open at the stadium at 12 noon with kick-off at 13:30 on Sunday.