1. FC Heidenheim 1846 vs 1. FC Union Berlin
German 2. Bundesliga, 26. Matchday
Heidenheim vs 1. FC Union
German 2. Bundesliga, 26. Matchday
Union Berlin come up short away at Heidenheim
1. FC Union Berlin fell to a 2-1 defeat at 1. FC Heidenheim on Friday at the Voith-Arena.
Urs Fischer's team led at the turnaround after a 23rd-minute goal from Robert Zulj. However, Heidenheim fought back, scoring two quick-fire goals in the second half without reply from Robert Glatzel and Marc Schnatterer to turn the game on its head.
1. FC Heidenheim: Müller; Busch, Beermann, Mainka, Theuerkauf (Multhaup 76); Dorsch, Griesbeck (Feick 12); Dovedan, Schnatterer (Reithmeir 83); Glatzel
1. FC Union Berlin: Gikiewicz; Trimmel, Friedrich, Hübner, Reichel (Mees 84); Kroos, Schmiedebach, Zulj; Gogia (Mane 65), Hartel (Abdullahi 65), Andersson
With Grischa Prömel serving a one-game suspension, Fischer turned to Zulj, who was given a starting place in the middle of the park. Marcel Hartel took the place of Carlos Mane who picked up a shoulder injury during last Friday's win over Ingolstadt, whilst Ken Reichel replaced Christopher Lenz. The early passages of the game were fairly tame as a result of the horrible conditions, which has swept across the country this past week. Rafal Gikiewicz denied Dennis Thomalla early on, but Union grew into the match and started to dominate after the first 15 minutes. Sebastian Andersson and Akaki Gogia combined brilliantly on 23 minutes, the winger roaming free and stinging the palms of Kevin Müller. Zulj was on hand to pick up on the rebound and take advantage of the handling mistake from the Heidenheim goalkeeper.
Although there were no substitutions at the break, the game hardly resembled the first 45 minutes. Heidenheim switched to a high press and put Union into difficult situations. Glatzel found enough space to head in the equaliser on 48 minutes from Schnatterer's corner kick. Eight minutes later, the Heidenheim number seven picked up on a loose second ball and proceeded to break through the Union defence and put the home side ahead with a neat left-foot strike. Gikiewicz thwarted Schnatterer shortly after as the attacking midfielder caused problems from a free-kick situation. Mane, introduced after 65 minutes, was close to pulling Union level, but Müller defended his goal well as the Portuguese winger came in at the back post. The home side's outstanding home record was embodied in their siege defending towards the end of the game. Müller and Marnon Busch somehow managed to keep out two efforts from Andersson and Zulj, practically on the Heidenheim goal line. In the end, Frank Schmidt's team held on to the points and extend Heidenheim's unbeaten run against Union Berlin to six matches home and away.
Fischer's men will be out to bounce back immediately following the upcoming international break, with SC Paderborn coming to the Stadion An der Alten Försterei on Saturday March 23. The match is sold out.
Friday Fixtures continue away to 1. FC Heidenheim
1. FC Union Berlin will look to extend their decent away record with three points from 1. FC Heidenheim on Friday March 15 at 18:30.
Review: Union march on, Heidenheim stutter
Union Berlin ran out 2-0 winners at home to Ingolstadt last Friday, continuing a steady run of results in the league. Sebastian Andersson hit his 10th goal of the campaign to put the Köpenick side in the driving seat against former boss Jens Keller. Akaki Gogia hit from close-range in the second half before the Bavarians were cut to nine men after red cards to Almog Cohen and Robin Krauße.
Meanwhile, Heidenheim have maintained an impressive chase of the top-four with 39 points from 25 matches — level with Holstein Kiel and four behind fourth-placed FC St. Pauli. Nevertheless, Frank Schmidt’s men are without a win from their last four matches. The away side unsettled by an outbreak of the flu, Heidenheim went down to a second-half goal from Chung-Young Lee at Bochum last weekend.
Record: An uncomfortable opponent
Friday’s opposition 1. FC Heidenheim hold a strong record against Union Berlin, both at home and in the capital. Before their previous 1-1 draws in Berlin, Frank Schmidt’s side won 4-3 in November 2017 at the Voith-Arena. The Köpenick club have failed to beat Heidenheim in the last five competitive encounters. In October 2015, Damir Kreilach and Steven Skrzybski struck to give Union an important away win in Heidenheim.
“I think Heidenheim is really strong, so we have to deal that. They lost the match against Regensburg at home, also in Bochum - but that should not suggest to us that it will be easy there. If you look at the table, they will do everything they can to keep up. I'm expecting a very difficult away match,” said Fischer at the pre-match press conference.
Personnel: Changes in midfield
With Nicolai Rapp and Grischa Prömel suspended, Fischer will look to find the right balance in central midfield. “Both are possibilities. At the end, we’ll make the decision based on the impressions of the week,” said the Swiss coach when asked whether he would consider changing the shape as well as personnel. Carlos Mane has returned to training and is likely to be available for selection on Friday, while Michael Parensen is fit once again. Sebastian Polter is “on a good way” in his recovery from long-term injury.
Service: Cashier at Voith-Arena
Fans who still wish to purchase tickets for the match on Friday can do so at the stadium in Heidenheim. Tickets are no longer available to buy online or from the club stores. More than one thousand Union supporters are expected to back the team in the ground.