FC Schalke 04 vs 1. FC Union Berlin
Bundesliga, 4. Matchday
Schalke vs 1. FC Union
Bundesliga, 4. Matchday
Union fight for point at Schalke
Marvin Friedrich's header in the second half was enough to earn 1. FC Union Berlin an important point against Schalke 04.
The central defender has scored in back-to-back games in the Bundesliga for Urs Fischer's side, heading home from Christopher Trimmel's cross in the 56th minute.
Manuel Baum's Schalke equalised through Goncalo Paciencia to get themselves off the mark in the 2020/21 Bundesliga season after a difficult start.
Schalke: Rönnow; Ludewig, Sane, Nastasic, Oczipka; Bozgodan (Harit 61), Bentaleb, Mascarell; Raman (Schöpf 82), Ibisevic (Paciencia 56), Skrzybski
1. FC Union Berlin: Luthe; Trimmel, Friedrich, Knoche, Lenz; Prömel, Andrich; Kruse (Gentner 77), Becker (Ingvartsen 77), Bülter (Endo 90); Pohjanpalo (Awoniyi 67)
The measures in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus in Gelsenkirchen meant that only 300 supporters could attend. Those tickets were distributed to key workers in the area who have worked on the front line in the last few months. For the trip to Schalke, Fischer made two changes to his side with Joel Pohjanpalo and Marius Bülter playing from the start. Despite a difficult start to the Bundesliga season, new head coach Manuel Baum managed to install a determination in the week's training during the international break. The Royal Blues made it a competitive first half as Union looked to take control of the match. On 15 minutes, Sheraldo Becker threatened on the counter-attack and could have set up red shirts in the box, but Bastian Oczipka intervened. Frederik Rönnow's debut in Schalke colours was a day to forget in Leipzig as the Royal Blues went down 0-4 to Julian Nagelsmann's team. However, in his first home appearance for Schalke, he made the most important interventions of the first 45 minutes. The Dane's fast reactions saved the home side from going behind to Grischa Prömel's overhead kick before Robert Andrich's goal-bound shot was parried away by Rönnow.
The former Eintracht Frankfurt goalkeeper proved to be in the right place at the right time within the first 100 seconds after the restart when a deflected cross ricocheted against Christopher Lenz and was heading goalwards. Union found a route past the Schalke stopper after 56 minutes at the Veltins Arena. Christopher Trimmel's third assist of the season, a well-aimed cross from wide, was headed past Rönnow by Friedrich. Although Steven Skrzybski forced Andreas Luthe into a save in the second half, the traffic was all in the direction of the home goal. Rönnow saved again from Lenz as Union missed the opportunity to extend the advantage. Taiwo Awoniyi came off the bench after about an hour to give Joel Pohjanpalo a rest following a strenuous week of international football. But Schalke substitute Paciencia made the Köpenick club pay for not building on the lead with a near-post header from Oscar Mascarell's corner kick in the 69th minute. Marcus Ingvartsen and Christian Gentner were introduced with the final 13 minutes to play as Union looked to claw a route back into a winning position. The Danish U21 international, who scored the second goal at home to Mainz in the last league game, flicked a great ball in for Awoniyi who found a good chance to score the winner, but Matija Nastasic recovered in time to sniff out the remaining danger.
Fischer's side take another point home to Berlin from away adventures in the Bundesliga and the side will return to the Stadion An der Alten Försterei next Saturday, October 24, to play SC Freiburg.
Union look to kick-start winning run
Bundesliga action returns this weekend as 1. FC Union Berlin head for the Veltins-Arena to play Schalke on Sunday October 18 at 18:00.
1. FC Union Berlin finished up before the recent international break on a high with a 4-0 win over Mainz at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei. Max Kruse's first start in Union colours was followed up with his first goal for the club since arriving in Köpenick this summer. Union stepped up a gear into the second half and doubled the lead through Marcus Ingvartsen on 49 minutes. Christopher Trimmel notched his second assist of the game as Marvin Friedrich headed in a third after 63 minutes. Less than a minute later, Joel Pohjanpalo marked his first appearance for Union by scoring about 30 seconds after coming on the field as a substitute. Urs Fischer used the time during the international fixtures to push his players to the maximum and hand out important minutes to players on the fringe of the first-team. Union fought past Hannover in a friendly game last Thursday with a double for Cedric Teuchert and one each for Akaki Gogia and Marius Bülter.
David Wagner's time in Gelsenkirchen came to an end after three successive defeats in the Bundesliga — 0-8 at Bayern Munich, 1-3 at home to Schalke and 0-4 in Leipzig. Manuel Baum, the former head coach of Augsburg, has been brought in to turn the ship around with Schalke sitting at the bottom of the table. In their friendly against Paderborn last week, Schalke came from behind to beat the 2.Bundesliga side 5-1. Mark Uth scored a hat-trick for the Royal Blues, while there were goals for Vedad Ibisevic and Benito Raman.
Urs Fischer confirmed the absences of Anthony Ujah and Nico Schlotterbeck at the pre-match press conference. Christian Gentner has trained this week and will be part of the final session on Saturday before the journey to Gelsenkirchen. Christopher Trimmel and Joel Pohjanpalo returned from their respective national teams and will train fully with the team on Saturday.
Sunday's game takes place under special conditions due to the coronavirus pandemic. Just 300 supporters will be given access to the stadium and Schalke have handed over the tickets to key workers.