Union Berlin travel to the ESPRIT Arena in Düsseldorf on Sunday September 10 (13:30), looking to protect their unbeaten record in the 2.Bundesliga this season.
The Köpenick club have been held to two successive draws lately, while Düsseldorf have won three from four.
“I’m always optimistic,” beamed Jens Keller, the head coach of Union. “Düsseldorf has a superb team. They have strengthened their staff and recruited some players of high quality. That’s why Sunday will be a hard game for us. As you can see, Fortuna has made a good start to the campaign and has picked up all the necessary confidence.”
Both with ambitions of promotion, Union and Düsseldorf have made unbeaten starts to the season. The hosts, champions of Germany in 1933, have been in the second tier since 2013, but still remain a respected traditional club. Friedhelm Funkel has added extra quality to the squad this summer: Florian Neuhaus has arrived from Borussia Mönchengladbach on loan, likewise Benito Raman from Standard Liege. Rouwen Hennings and Havard Nielsen have made permanent transfers from Burnley and Freiburg, respectively.
“It will be a difficult task against a strong team that has stayed together and strengthened well,” Funkel said of Union Berlin. “As far as team development and unity of unity are concerned, the Union is one step ahead of us. We must pushourselves to our limits in order to stand up to Union. We want to stay in front of Union and also make our third home game look good. We won't play better just because we're the leader of the standings, but the self-confidence is already increasing the situation. We're now system-flexible, so we can change over in the game and adapt one or two of them."
Keller will likely need to do without Torrejon (calf) and Skrzybski (Achillies), but Toni Leistner and Akaki Gogia are available after returning to full fitness this week. Despite more than 22,000 tickets being sold for Sunday, there are still briefs available in both the home and away sections. More than 1,000 fans from Berlin will make the journey to Nordrhein-Westfalen for the 13:30 kick off.