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.