Arminia Bielefeld vs 1. FC Union Berlin
Bundesliga, 24. Matchday
Bielefeld vs 1. FC Union
Bundesliga, 24. Matchday
Goalless draw away at Arminia Bielefeld
1. FC Union Berlin made it four games in the Bundesliga without defeat after Sunday's 0-0 draw against Arminia Bielefeld at the SchücoArena.
Urs Fischer's team came up against the newly-promoted Bielefeld at the SchücoArena in the Bundesliga for the first time in the club's history. It would not turn out to be a reunion with longest-serving Union coach Uwe Neuhaus, who was replaced by Frank Kramer in the week.
The Köpenick club tally another point to the league table and continue a stable run of form with one defeat in the last five.
Arminia Bielefeld: Ortega; Brunner (de Medina 78), Pieper, Nilsson, Laursen; Prietl, Maier (Hartel 78), Vlap (Doan 64), Okugawa; Cordova (Voglsammer 29), Klos (Schipplock 78)
1. FC Union Berlin: Luthe; Ryerson, Friedrich, Knoche, Trimmel, Bülter; Andrich, Prömel; Ingvartsen (Endo 60), Kruse, Pohjanpalo (Musa 60)
Urs Fischer made three changes to his side from the 1-1 draw at home to Hoffenheim. Injuries to Niko Gießelmann and Christopher Lenz have opened up an opportuntiy for Marius Bülter on the left-hand side. Julian Ryerson came in at central defence, while Andreas Luthe returned between the sticks in place of Loris Karius. After three minutes, referee Harm Osmers brought the game to a halt following a collision between Luthe and Ryerson. Both players underwent around seven minute's worth of treatment and were able to continue. This, and a further stoppage for Arminia Bielefeld's Sergio Cordova, interrupted the rhythm of the game. Cordova, who was substituted after a clash with Ryerson, saw the best chance of the first half in the 13th minute but Luthe reacted quickly to make an important save. On 33 minutes, substitute Andreas Voglsammer made Luthe work with a shot on target from the right corner of the box. Luthe was down to his left and made the save to protect Union's clean sheet. Osmers and his team confirmed 10 minutes of stoppage time, but the game really struggled to come to life.
Union adjusted better of the two teams into the second half without the issue of interruptions or breaks in play. Urs Fischer's side dominated possession for long periods and continuted to probe as they looked for the breakthrough. Christopher Trimmel found a lot of joy out on the right-hand side with Max Kruse tucking insde to give the Austrian more space to get into attacking positions. On 50 minutes, Bülter headed Trimmel's cross on target before the skipper drilled another dangerous delivery across the face of goal seven minutes later but with no takers. With clear chances in the box hard to come by, Fischer made a double switch on the hour mark. Petar Musa and Keita Endo were given the nod to make an impact, replacing Marcus Ingvartsen and Joel Pohjanpalo. Endo took up position on the left, while Bülter moved across to the right in a slight tactical change by the visitors. Bülter forced another save out of Ortega with 20 minutes to go, but the two substitutes came inches away from scoring. Endo was slipped through on Ortega's goal in the 73rd minute but the Japanese winger curled his shot agonisingly wide of the target. The on-loan attacker from Yokohama scored his only Bundesliga goal for Union in the 5-0 win over Arminia Bielefeld in the Hinrunde, and Endo was unable to convert a second opportunity after 81 minutes. Musa used his strength and power to bully Amos Pieper out of a 50-50 ball, the Croatian striker teeing up Endo in the box but Ortega was in the right place at the right time to keep hold of his clean sheet.
The point in Bielefeld takes Union up to 35 points in their second Bundesliga campaign and the challenge continues next Saturday at 15:30 when 1. FC Köln are the visitors to the Stadion An der Alten Försterei.
Union Berlin head to Arminia Bielefeld
1. FC Union Berlin make the trip to Arminia Bielefeld on Sunday evening, looking to get another important away victory in the Bundesliga.
Max Kruse needed just nine minutes to make an impact on his first start following his return from injury. The former German international slid an impressive pass through the Hoffenheim defence and found Christopher Trimmel who won an early penalty kick. Kruse stepped up to score from 12 yards and put Union into the lead at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei. Despite going out of Europe just 72 hours earlier, Hoffenheim put up a spirited performance and put the Köpenick club under the most pressure at home than other Bundesliga rivals. Ilhas Bebou equalised and ended Loris Karius' run of clean sheets in the Union goal. In the end, the visitors created the best of the chances in the second half and Union left with a stroke of luck thanks to the video assistant referee. On 82 minutes, Pavel Kaderabek swept Hoffenheim into the lead but the goal was ruled out for an alleged offside. Karius and the Union defence were resolute and rode their luck in the final minutes to hold on to another Bundesliga point. Urs Fischer's team are level on points with Freiburg, but lead on goal difference in seventh. Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund are three and four points ahead in the European positions, respectively.
This week, Arminia Bielefeld brought an end to the reign of former Union Berlin coach Uwe Neuhaus, the longest-serving trainer in the history of the Köpenick club. The 61-year-old was in charge at the SchücoArena for 77 matches and guided Bielefeld to an impressive promotion to the Bundesliga - their first in 11 years. Neuhaus' replacement is 46-year-old Frank Kramer, who arrives from Salzburg where he led the club's UEFA Youth League team. Previously Kramer was in charge of Germany's youth national teams between U18-U20 and he has coached Fortuna Düsseldorf, Greuther Fürth and Hoffenheim. Kramer inherits a team, second-from-bottom in the Bundesliga but still well in contention to remain in Germany's top division. Bielefeld have 18 points to their name - level with Mainz and Hertha Berlin - despite playing one game fewer than their relegation-threatened rivals. The jump to 14th-placed 1. FC Köln is only three points away, so they will believe in their chances of staying in the Bundesliga. But to do so, their form will need to improve: Arminia Bielefeld haven't won any of their last five games, picking up the sole point in that period away to Bayern Munich. At the SchücoArena, Bielefeld are attack-minded and look to get about the opposition, winning matches at the Bielefelder Alm against Mainz, Hertha and Stuttgart.
Urs Fischer's injury list has suffered a blow in recent weeks following Niko Gießelmann's shoulder fracture a fortnight ago. Christopher Lenz's fitness issues haven't cleared up this week and he'll be unavailable for selection at the weekend. Anthony Ujah is still out, but is in rehab following his operation. Sheraldo Becker and Taiwo Awoniyi are the other two absentees for 1. FC Union Berlin.
Sunday's 18:00 kick-off at the SchücoArena will take place behind closed doors.