1. FC Union Berlin will make the trip to relegated 1. FC Köln on Monday night (20:30) for the second encounter of the 2018/19 2.Bundesliga season.
Up against the favourites – Köln demand immediate return:
After last weekend's 1-0 win over FC Erzgebirge Aue at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei to open the league season, Urs Fischer's team will embark on one of the toughest challenges of the campaign. With just 22 points, 1. FC Köln were relegated from the Bundesliga last season, but are set up with solid foundations under Markus Anfang. The Billy Goats were able to secure the services of Jonas Hector, Timo Horn and Marcel Risse, while adding a number of impressive signings including Dynamo Dresden's Niklas Hauptmann, Holstein Kiel's Rafal Czichos and Dominik Drexler who joined from FC Midtjylland. With a strong squad and a great pedigree, Köln will be setting their sights on an immediate return to the Bundesliga.
Union yet to score in Mungersdorf:
The Köpenick will travel to Köln without the best of records. FC have won five of the seven meetings between the sides including the most recent encounter in 2012-13 when the Billy Goats were down in the second division. However, Union coach Urs Fischer isn't concerned about the past and says the Berliners are heading west with a sense of self-confidence for Monday's game. "If we were to go into the game anxiously, we'd be as well phoning up Köln and staying home," he said at the pre-match press conference.
"1. FC Köln are a team that will create pressure right from the start and try to bring the supporters on side. The players will go aggressively into challenges and fight for every ball - the full whack. We must be prepared for this. If we are on it mentally and play courageously, we can take something countable with us from Köln," added the Swiss coach.
Players still on the treatment table:
There are no changes to the fitness status of Fabian Schönheim and Sebastian Polter who remain in rehab from their long-term injuries. Marc Torrejon is still missing, but Florian Hübner was able to train this week and is soon ready to be involved again. The same goes for Julian Ryerson and Eroll Zejnuhallu.
Tickets available at the stadium:
With 1,700 Union fans set to arrive at the RheinEnergieStadion in Köln, the Köpenick side should have an impressive backing. If supporters wish to get tickets on matchday, they can pick them up at the cashiers. Tickets for the away block are available near the away section of the stadium.