1. FC Union Berlin vs MSV Duisburg
German 2. Bundesliga, 29. Matchday
1. FC Union vs Duisburg
German 2. Bundesliga, 29. Matchday
Report: Union Berlin held to draw by MSV Duisburg
1. FC Union Berlin and MSV Duisburg shared a point each followng a 0-0 draw at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei on Saturday.
1. FC Union XI: Busk; Torrejon (Hartel 75'), Leistner, Friedrich; Pedersen, Trimmel, Kroos, Prömel (Hedlund 60'); Daube, Skrzybski, Hosiner
Both Marc Torrejon and Steven Skrzybski were passed fit following a few days of team training and returned to the starting XI - the only two changes from the defeat at Greuther Fürth on Easter Sunday. Torrejon was installed into the three-man defensive combination with U19 captain Lennard Maloney dropping back to the bench. Skrzybski, the club’s top scorer with 12 goals, partnered Philipp Hosiner in attack.
Union captain Felix Kroos offered the first test of Duisburg keeper Mark Flekken, striking powerfully on the half volley into the Dutchman’s grasp. The ball over the top of the Duisburg defence continued to threaten throughout the first half and looked the most likely route to goal in front of the Waldseite. Dennis Daube managed to round the keeper after 20 minutes, but Skrzybski blazed the chance wide from a tight angle.
Nevertheless, Union’s top scorer persevered and created a great chance for Hosiner but the Austrian stuck wide of the target. Hosiner almost pulled off a sensational overhead kick attempt in the 36th minute following good wing play from Christopher Trimmel but Flekken was once again on point with his reflexes.
Unchanged at the restart, the pattern of play changed little. Union looked to put pressure in behind through Hosiner and Skrzybski, while Duisburg were compact in the middle but offered little going forward to trouble goalie Jakob Busk. Coach Andre Hofschneider went for the throat on the hour mark, introducing Simon Hedlund in place of defensive-midfielder Grischa Prömel.
On 68 minutes, Flekken kept the Köpenick club at bay, parrying wide a long-range strike from Trimmel, which was certain to be heading for the top corner. Marcel Hartel replaced Torrejon for the final quarter of an hour as Hofschneider shuffled his cards in search of the winning hand. But there would be no winner in the end as the points were shared.
"We shouldn't focus only on the negatives. Here at home we kept a clean sheet defensively. That's the foundation for success in future matches and that's what should give us the motivation going forward. The situation during the last weeks and months certainly left a mark on some of the players. It's possible that's the reason why we sometimes chose to pass the ball to the backline instead of the riskier one ino attack. But what's important is that we keep our calm and don't lose control," said Hofschneider in the post-game media briefing.
Preview: Union Berlin meet MSV Duisburg on Saturday
1. FC Union Berlin have the opportunity to get back on winning terms when MSV Duisburg visit the Stadion An der Alten Försterei on Saturday (07.04.2018, 13:00).
Chance to end winless streak
The next match is always an opportunity to turn things around. With the second division table extremely compact ahead of the last six games, every points count, and particularly those opportunities on home soil. Union haven’t won since February when Sandhausen were sent packing, defeated by two goals to one. Since then, the Köpenick club has come up stuck against Kaiserslautern, Erzgebirge Aue, Jahn Regensburg and Fürth.
“We created more chances in each of the last games than our opponents. As a coach, I can also be quite satisfied with the possession and rate of challenges won,” the coach said at Tuesday’s meeting with supporters. However, as the coach emphasised, football is a results-based sport.
Duisburg are going through a similarly difficult patch, without a win in their last four outings. Coach Ilja Gruev has kept his side in contention for a late playoff push but recent results have seen the Zebras drop to ninth-place. A heavy defeat at Holstein Kiel followed by losses to Fortuna Düsseldorf, Eintracht Braunschweig and Kaiserslautern have taken the air out of a solid run of form.
"I’m only looking at this one game. There are three points to be earned, which would be enough to get us ahead of Duisburg in the standings. It’ll be a full stadium, a home game and an exciting opponent. We want to win this match with all we’ve got, everything else is of secondary nature. It’ll be an interesting match against Duisburg. We have to stand our ground and leave everything on the field, no matter what they throw at us. We have to win the important battles in midfield and keep the points here eventually," said Hofschneider at the pre-match press conference.
Doubts over key players
There are question marks over the fitness of a number of players: Steven Skrzbyski and Marc Torrejon have only recently returned to full training and could be considered for a place in the squad. Simon Hedlund was taken off after 71 minutes last weekend, but Hofschneider confirmed there’s still a chance the Swede could be selected for Saturday.
Meanwhile, defender Michael Parensen and winger Akaki Gogia won’t be available for selection, but have made significant progress in the last week. There are no changes to the long-term fitness status of Sebastian Polter and Fabian Schönheim.
Still time to get your tickets
Match tickets for the Duisburg clash are still available for either the home or away section. They can be purchased on the day of the match or from the usual outlets.