The Stadion An der Alten Försterei will be packed to the limits as 1. FC Union Berlin kick off their first match in the Bundesliga against RB Leipzig on Sunday at 18:00 local time.
Urs Fischer’s promoted side return to league action, nearly 12 weeks after the dramatic night on May 27 when Union secured a place in the top division with a play-off victory over VfB Stuttgart.
Review: Union Berlin limber up with win in Halberstadt, Leipzig get through in Osnabrück
The fifth Berlin-based club to play in the Bundesliga, 1. FC Union Berlin booked their place in the DFB Pokal second round with a 6-0 drubbing of Germania Halberstadt. Fischer was left delighted with six different players getting their name on the scoresheet — Keven Schlotterbeck, Sebastian Andersson, Christopher Lenz, Joshua Mees, Robert Andrich and Anthony Ujah. Overall, Fischer’s team have gone down to a defeat just once in pre-season — the loss at home to Celta Vigo. With 11 new faces in the squad, Union have been hard at work to ready themselves for Bundesliga action.
Meanwhile, there have been changes at RB Leipzig over the summer break. Julian Nagelsmann, formerly of Hoffenheim, has taken the reigns under the general management of Ralf Rangnick. Leipzig finished third last season with 66 points and ended runner-up in Germany’s DFB Pokal. Over 50 million euros have been spent improving the squad at Nagelsmann’s disposal — Ademola Lookman signed from Everton, Chris Nkunku from PSG, Hannes Wolf from Salzburg, Luan from Palmeiras and Ethan Ampadu on loan from Chelsea. This summer’s pre-season results have been slightly mixed with losses to Zürich and Aston Villa alongside wins against Galatasaray and Rennes. Leipzig also earned their progress to the second round of the Pokal with a 3-2 win in Osnabrück.
Record: Positive record in Köpenick
When RB Leipzig competed in the 2.Bundesliga, they made two visits to the Stadion An der Alten Försterei in 2014 and 2015. Leipzig's first trip to Köpenick ended in a 2-1 defeat with Sebastian Polter scoring a double for Union. In August 2015, Union and Leipzig played out a 1-1 draw with Sören Brandy finding the net for the capital club. The away games are another story: Leipzig have won both times in competitive action.
Fischer: “It’s always hard in the first games”
The Swiss coach was asked how Union would prepare for the opening game, with Leipzig under new management from this season onwards. “In the first game there’s always difficulties. There’s little video material available, but there are pre-season matches, which you can scout. You can see patterns and principles in them. We also know Nagelsmann from before in Hoffenheim. Sure, after five or six games, you start to know the opponent better,” he said.
Service: No tickets left
Sunday’s game in Köpenick has been sold out for several weeks. The secondary ticket market remains open for members but there will be no option to buy at the stadium before kick-off.
Gates will open from 16:00.