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SV Darmstadt 98 vs 1. FC Union Berlin

German 2. Bundesliga - 32. Matchday

Darmstadt vs 1. FC Union

German 2. Bundesliga - 32. Matchday

Sat., 28. April 2018, 13:00 Uhr
Merck-Stadion am Böllenfalltor
3 : 1
16.570
SR: Thorben Siewer

Report: Union Berlin lose on the road at Darmstadt

Match report

1. FC Union Berlin conceded three first-half goals and couldn't recover as the Köpenick club went down 3-1 at Darmstadt on week 32 of the 2.Bundesliga season.

Michael Parensen, who made his first appearance since the loss at Kaiserslautern in March, pulled one back in the final minutes, but the damage was already done. Strikes from Fabian Holland and Felix Platte hand the three points to Dirk Schuster's side, who move within a single point of the relegation play-off position.

Darmstadt XI: Heuer Fernandes; Sirigu, Bregerie, Sulu, Holland; Kempe, Medojevic (Kamavuaka 77); Ji, Mehlem (Stark 68), Jones; Platte (Boyd 84)

1. FC Union Berlin XI: Mesenhöler; Trimmel, Leistner, Friedrich, Torrejon, Pedersen (Parensen 73); Fürstner (Hosiner 68); Gogia (Daube 45), Redondo, Hedlund; Skrzybski 

Andre Hofschneder's team struggled to get to grips with the early tempo setting of Darmstadt, who were unbeaten in eight previous games before kick off. Stephan Fürstner picked up an early yellow card in the ninth minute for a tactical foul on the fleet-footed Joevin Jones. The resistance though was futile as Darmstadt broke the deadlock three minutes later when left-back Holland wriggled past his marker to shoot home from close range. The hosts doubled their lead on 22 minutes, with Platte left unmarked to volley home under Mesenhöler after a flick on from Ji. Platte was left with enough room on 35 minutes to thump the ball home from a corner kick, leaving Union with a mountain to climb at the break.

The Berliners added extra defensive reinforcements in the shape of Dennis Daube at half time, with Akaki Gogia making way after a tough first 45 minutes. Hofschneider's side were stronger in defensive duels and played with greater organisation, but found it hard to break down a stubborn Darmstadt defensive shape. Fürstner popped up in a good position from the right and hit the side-netting, while Simon Hedlund was presented with an opening but Aytac Sulu did enough to take the sting out of the shot.

Austrian striker Philipp Hosiner was introduced with 22 minutes left, following a red-hot impact in the draw with Heidenheim last weekend. Chances continued to be few and far between, however, with final substitute Parensen sliding in a late consolation goal from Kenny Prince Redondo's left-footed cross.

"The game is quickly explained: Darmstadt outplayed us in the first half, especially during the early stages of the match. They won the important battles, defended consequently and capitalised effectively on their chances. It was simply not enough from us before the half-time whistle. In the end it was a well-deserved win for Darmstadt. We now have to quickly move on and focus on next weekend’s home match against Bochum so that we can secure a spot in the second division for next season," said head coach Hofschneider in the post-game press conference.

Preview: All to play for for Union in Darmstadt

Match preview

On the third-last weekend of a testing campaign, 1. FC Union Berlin head to the Merck Stadion am Böllenfalltor to face SV Darmstadt 98 on Saturday April 28, 2018 (13:00).

Two draws from three, and the win over FC St Pauli, have eased fears of relegation as Union piece together the first consistent run of form of the calendar year. Three points in Darmstadt would be enough to officially alleviate those concerns.

"The match might not be the easiest, but it’s not that point in the season either - we have to get the points," said head coach Andre Hofschneider.

Darmstadt still fighting 

Second-bottom Darmstadt are three points off St Pauli, who occupy the relegation play-off position. Complete survival is just four points away for the Lillies with three games remaining.  "We want to take another step in the right direction," added coach Dirk Schuster, who previously led the club to two successive promotions from third-tier to Bundesliga.  Schuster adds, his team is "extremely concentrated and committed, but has also shown a certain mental looseness. This mix could be the key to defeating Union." 

There’s been little to separate the teams in recent seasons aside from a 5-0 loss to Darmstadt in the 2014-15 season on the road. This year’s encounter was full of drama, with Union battling away to earn a 3-3 draw in the final minutes of the game. Under Schuster, Darmstadt are eight games without defeat - but in that time have only managed to win twice.

"Darmstadt has found its way back to the things that have distinguished her as a trainer in recent years and especially under Dirk - compactness, aggressiveness, strength in challenges. The game will demand a lot from us because our opponent has his back to the wall," summarised 47-year-old Hofschneider.

Union missing their captain

The club confirmed last weekend that skipper Felix Kroos would be unavailable for this match after picking up a foot injury. Christoph Schösswendter suffered a head injury following a collision in training this week, while Jakob Busk and Sebastian Polter are on the sidelines. Grischa Prömel returned to training and looks much closer to a full recovery before the game in Darmstadt.

Information for fans:

More than 1,300 Union fans have snapped up tickets for Saturday’s six-pointer. For those who decide to travel on the day of the game, boxes will be open on site for fans to purchase tickets. All supporters are asked to follow the advice of the local police from Hesse. More important information for away supporters can be found here.

AFTV Videos

MatchStatistics

SV Darmstadt 98 vs 1. FC Union Berlin

39 % Possession 61 %
67 % Pass Completion Rate 76 %
53 % Successful Tackle Rate 47 %
10 Shots on Goal 15
10 Crosses 16
3 Caught Offside 2
0 Yellow Cards 3
0 Yellow-Red Cards 0
0 Red Cards 0

Last match

Date Home Result Away