1. FC Union Berlin vs FC Erzgebirge Aue
German 2. Bundesliga, 1. Matchday
1. FC Union vs Aue
German 2. Bundesliga, 1. Matchday
Kroos' late strike earns victory on opening day
Felix Kroos' fantastic free-kick proved to be the difference as 1. FC Union Berlin claimed their first three points of the campaign in a 1-0 win over FC Erzgebirge Aue at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei.
With a draw the most likely outcome on matchday one of the new season, the 27-year-old stepped up four minutes from the end to convert a set-piece from 25 yards and seal the points for Urs Fischer's team.
1. FC Union Berlin: Gikiewicz; Trimmel, Friedrich, Parensen, Reichel; Prömel, Schmiedebach (Kroos 83), Hartel; Gogia (Hedlund 57), Redondo (Mees 64), Andersson
FC Erzgebirge Aue: Männel; Kalig, Fandrich, Cacutalua, Rizzuto; Kvesic (Rapp 69), Hochscheidt, Tiffert; Bertram (Baumgart 78), Herrmann, Nazarov (Iyoha 85)
Erzgebirge Aue kicked off the new league season at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei and contributed to a fantastic atmosphere in Köpenick with 1,800 supporters dressed in white and purple. Aue’s goalkeeper and captain Martin Männel was kept a little busy with shots from Akaki Gogia and Marcel Hartel, but nothing was truly clear cut. After a short water break, Aue grew into the game from middle-to-front and created some dangerous situations for Rafal Gikiewicz to deal with. The Polish keeper parried a well-struck free kick from Mario Kvesic away from danger before Dimitrij Nazarov missed from a few yards out.
Like the first half, Männel was one of the busier of Aue’s players, but his role was mainly to impressively pick out every cross ball into the penalty area. Neither side created any gilt-edged opportunities before the hour mark. Fischer dipped into his attacking weaponry and introduced Simon Hedlund and Joshua Mees within seven minutes of each other. The next water break seemed to hinder the players as the flow was taken out of proceedings. With Schmiedebach already booked, Fischer added Kroos to the fray around the 83rd minute to add extra energy to the midfield. The club’s vice-captain instead played the pivotal role in the match, scoring a 25-yard free kick with three minutes left of normal time. He had the opportunity to double his tally from the same position, but wisely opted to run the clock down and help Union wrap up a dream start to the league campaign.
Union host Erzgebire Aue on matchday one
The 2018/19 2.Bundesliga campaign gets underway this weekend with 1. FC Union Berlin playing host to FC Erzgebirge Aue at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei on Sunday August 5 (15:30).
League football — Let’s Go!
Union Berlin have a new look about them going into the new season with Urs Fischer taking charge at the start of July. Fischer, appointed by new Director of Professional Football Oliver Ruhnert, has brought Markus Hoffmann from Austria to join his backroom staff alongside Sebastian Bönig and goalkeeper coach Michael Gspurning.
Fischer and Ruhnert have worked hard this summer to rebuild the squad following the departures of Toni Leistner (Queens Park Rangers), Steven Skrzybski (Schalke), Daniel Mesenhöler (Duisburg), Kristian Pedersen (Birmingham), Philipp Hosiner (Sturm Graz) and Dennis Daube (KFC Uerdingen). Eight new players have arrived in Köpenick so far — Julian Ryerson (Viking), Joshua Mees (Hoffenheim), Manuel Schmiedebach and Florian Hübner (Hannover), Ken Reichel (Eintracht Braunschweig), Rafal Gikiewicz (Freiburg) and Sebastian Andersson (Kaiserslautern). Both Eroll Zejnuhallu and Christopher Lenz have returned from respective loan spells at Sandhausen and Holstein Kiel.
Aue Post-Drews — A new beginning:
Like Union, Erzgebirge Aue have undergone a summer of change following the surprising resignation of 36-year-old Hannes Drews. His successor is 38-year-old Daniel Meyer, who started his coaching career at Brandenburg club FC Strausberg. Meyer spent time at Energie Cottbus and Hallescher FC before taking over the academy responsibilities at 1. FC Köln.
However, Aue will begin this season without the services of Pascal Köpke, who joined Hertha Berlin during the close season. Tom Baumgart has joined from Chemnitzer FC and both Jan Hochscheidt and Steve Breitkreuz have arrived from relegated from Eintracht Braunschweig. There is extra firepower in attack with Emmanuel Iyoha and Maximilian Pronichev who have signed on loan from Fortuna Düsseldorf and Hertha respectively.
Torrejon, Hubner missing — Squad situation:
Fischer confirmed Felix Kroos and Joshua Mees have trained well this week and are options for Sunday. New signing Julian Ryerson has trained and is fit, but is less likely to play from the beginning against Aue. Meanwhile, the opening game comes a little too fast for Marc Torrejon and Florian Hübner, who are gradually approaching full fitness. Eroll Zejnuhallu has a muscle strain, while both Fabian Schönheim and Sebastian Polter are in rehab.
There are no S-Bahn services between Ostkreuz and Köpenick over the weekend, which will cause significant disruption to journeys to the Alte Försterei. Replacement bus services are available, but capacity will be limited. Fans are recommended to check out alternative routes to the stadium via Tram, Spindlersfeld or Berlin-Schöneweide.
More than 1,800 away supporters are expected and some briefs for the visiting fans will be available on Sunday. There remains limited tickets available for the home end with no sale planned for matchday. Gates open at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei at 2pm on Sunday.