With the Bayer Leverkusen clash put to one side, Union Berlin will take on MSV Duisubrg at the Schauinsland-Reisen-Arena this weekend. Jens Keller and his side will be hoping to rediscover the winning touch, having put together a decent run of four successive wins in the league before Tuesday’s DFB Pokal exit.
On the back of this season’s form, Union head to Duisburg as clear favourites. The Köpenick club are fourth in the division with 21 points from a possible 33, while Duisburg are down in 14th with just 12 points to their name. One of the founding members of the Bundesliga in 1963, Duisburg are slowly beginning to improve this season under head coach Ilia Gruev.
Until the previous weeks, Gruev’s side had conceded the most goals in the league. However, a 0-0 draw at home to Braunschweig and a 1-0 win at Kaiserslautern have given the confidence levels a boost. Union’s last visit to Duisburg was for a hotly-contested DFB Pokal tie in 2016, which the Berliners ran out 2-1 winners after extra time.
After returning to Berlin on Wednesday, Keller’s side went straight to work. The Union coach emphasized the importance of putting Tuesday’s loss to one side and return to the bread-and-butter of league action. “We need our quality to speak for itself. We must have the same self-confidence – as Kaiserslautern. But away we often have a hard time, so that’s why we need to play in an organised and concentrated way and approach it with 100% focus,” said the Union boss.
Keller won’t put further pressure on Kristian Pedersen to travel to Nordrhein-Westfalen after the Dane picked up a thigh problem in midweek. Meanwhile, Atusto Uchida is moving closer to a comeback, but Sunday’s game comes a little quick for the former Schalke defender.
Gates for the stadium in Duisburg open on Sunday from midday local time. More than 1,000 fans from Union Berlin are expected to get behind the team. Further tickets are available for both the home and away section at the box office in Duisburg.