1. FC Union Berlin vs FC Erzgebirge Aue
German 2. Bundesliga, 26. Matchday
1. FC Union vs Aue
German 2. Bundesliga, 26. Matchday
All-East Draw: Union-Aue ends without goals
The all-east clash between Union Berlin and Erzgebirge Aue ended goalless on Saturday at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei. Neither side could turn any of their chances into goals meaning there remains little between relegation and mid-table in the 2.Bundesliga.
Head coach Andre Hofschneider made two changes from the defeat last week at 1.FC Kaiserslautern with Philipp Hosiner tasked with replacing the injured Sebastian Polter who will miss the rest of the season. The Austrian striker buzzed around in the early exchanges and forced Martin Männel into an excellent save under his own crossbar. Akaki Gogia and Christopher Trimmel followed up with further chances but the three-man Aue backline defended well.
Hannes Drew’s team grew into the game with more confidence and managed to avoid the pressing traps of Union. When they did break through, however, the finishing touches weren’t there from Ridge Munsy and Pascal Köpke. Before the half was out, Union had one last effort on goal with Grischa Prömel’s strike deflecting against the woodwork.
Hofschneider’s side failed to carry on the momentum from the end of the first half with Aue growing ever more dangerous in the last third. Mesenhöler’s fine save blocked Köpke’s route to goal after 47 minutes and he stood firm again to prevent Nazarov from scoring near the hour mark. The hosts worked Männel again in the final half hour with Hosiner almost converting from close range, but it would end goalless on another frustrating afternoon for Union.
"We didn’t have the courage after a good start. We held back early and Aue had room to play in. In the first half we didn't allow a goal scoring chance and we ourselves had two or three good chances, one of which we should have used to steer the game in our direction. In the second half we wanted to press aggressively, so the game cost a lot of substance both in the head and in the legs. In the end we didn't get a goal and kept a clean sheet. However, the point in front of our own audience is not enough for our own standards,” said Hofschneider.
There is an opportunity forthcoming for the Köpenick club to amend the mistakes of Saturday. Next weekend, Union host Jahn Regensburg on home soil and will be looking to extend the unbeaten home run to four matches. Kick off on Saturday is 13:00 with tickets still available for home and away supporters.
Milestone Match: Union, Aue celebrate 400th game
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.