1. FC Union Berlin are keen to build on their impressive unbeaten league — a run stretched to 16 games on Monday night in Hamburg — when Darmstadt come calling on Saturday at 13:00.
Review: Important point from HSV, Darmstadt lose at home
Union Berlin took top billing on matchday 14 against league-leaders Hamburg at the Volksparkstadion. Monday's game was a dynamic, compelling encounter with the Köpenick club grabbing a 2-2 draw thanks to Joshua Mees' 12th-minute strike and a late equaliser from Suleiman Abdullahi, his first goal for the club. With more than 6,000 supporters in Hamburg, it was another impressive performance with a never-say-die attitude from Urs Fischer's men.
Meanwhile, Darmstadt went down 0-3 at the Böllenfalltor to second-placed 1. FC Köln, who remain ahead of Union in the 2.Bundesliga. However, the Lillies battled credibly for long periods of the match and the three-goal difference was perhaps undeserving for Dirk Schuster's team.
Record: Unbeaten, strong at home ... now first win?
1. FC Union Berlin and Borussia Dortmund are still the only two clubs to have gone unbeaten in league football since the start of the season. The Berliners haven't suffered defeat in their last 16 2.Bundesliga matches, stretching back to the end of the previous league campaign. Though noteworthy and a milestone for Union in the second tier, it is not an overall league record — both 1. FC Köln and Fortuna Düsseldorf enjoyed runs of 25 games without a loss in season 2002/03 and 2010/11 respectively.
Nevertheless, Union have found the more sought after balance between performances at home and on the road. The 4-0 thrashing of Greuther Fürth was Union's 14th league game at home without a defeat — going back to the 0-1 loss to 1. FC Nürnberg in January of this year.
Coach Fischer described Saturday's fixture as a "difficult game" against an uncomfortable opponent. Darmstadt are "compact and a defensively-stable opponent" according to the Swiss boss. Union have failed to beat Darmstadt in the four previous attempts in the 2.Bundesliga, with two draws at home and two defeats in the west. Last season's meeting ended in an incredible climax with the Berliners scoring at the death in a 3-3 draw at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei.
Personnel: Mees should be healthy, Torrejon still missing
Fischer was hopeful at Thursday's media briefing that he would have his entire squad available for selection — aside from Marc Torrejon who is still on his way back. The whole squad took part in training this week at some level following Monday's match in Hamburg. Mees, who was substituted at the break due to a knock, will be assessed at the final training session but is likely to make the weekend.
Service: Matchday box offices, stadium update
As of Thursday, we are approaching a sell out at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei. Those who wish to make a last-minute trip to Köpenick for Saturday's game can purchase tickets still, while stocks last. The remaining tickets will be available on Saturday from our matchday box offices. There will be tickets for the away end also, although Darmstadt have filled the majority of their section.
The renovation of the main stand is ongoing following the fire which took place in August. We are happy to confirm that VIP guests may now access the main stand through the main entrance. Further information can be found here.