The Stadion An der Alten Försterei will open its gates for 2.Bundesliga football for the first time this season on Friday (18:30) when Holstein Kiel come to town.
The Northern Germans gained promotion last season from the 3.Liga for the first time in 36 years. Union Berlin brought three points back from Ingolstadt, recently relegated from the Bundesliga, last week. Christopher Trimmel’s second-half strike was the perfect opening to the promotion efforts, which, of course, will be built on foundations in Köpenick.
“We want to turn the Stadion An der Alten Försterei into a fortress from the very beginning and we’ll do everything to get three points on Friday,” said Union coach Jens Keller.
Kiel’s promotion came after a second-place finish in the German third tier last season. Coach Markus Anfang is regarded as one of the brightest talents in German football and has maximised the resources available to him. Despite going 0-2 down at home to Sandhausen, Kiel’s winning mentality came to the fore and, inspired by Marvin Ducksch, they earned a draw.
“We are prepared for every opponent. Holstein Kiel has a particularly special playing style. We have to prepare ourselves for this,” Keller said. “Our tactical direction will always remain the same. We have trained well and we are in top shape. We want to play the game regardless of the weather. Our plan is to be aggressive and play high-pressure. We want to assert our qualities and impose our game on the opponent. Even if the opponent isn’t at the same level, we want to open up the gaps. We want to achieve this through our movement and runs. Every game can be one of patience, so we want to put them under pressure early and if possible, grab a goal. But at the same time, we’ve got 90 minutes to do so.”
Keller has a full squad to choose from, with exception of attacking-midfielder Akaki Gogia. The 25-year-old picked up a heel injury last week in Ingolstadt and has only just managed to complete sessions with the ball in training. “Two days before the game, I’m not going to tell you anything about the line-up,” Keller told reporters.
Kick-off is at 18:30 on Friday evening, with tickets available in the home and away sections of the Stadion An der Alten Försterei. Important: Due to reconstruction work between Erkner and Ostkreuz stations, the S-Bahn S3 only runs every 15 minutes.