The Bundesliga reaches the 30th round of fixtures this weekend and 1. FC Union Berlin will be looking to end a winless streak at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei against Schalke on Sunday at 15:30.
An exhausting week of football culminated in Union's 3-1 defeat at Borussia-Park to Mönchengladbach last Sunday. Florian Neuhaus opened the scoring after 17 minutes and Marcus Thuram quickly put the Foals in easy streak. The tally was reduced by Sebastian Andersson's 13th goal of the season at the start of the second half as Urs Fischer's side found an extra gear. The Köpenick side couldn't make their period of good play count and Frenchman Thurman scored the third to give Marco Rose's men all three points.
Union's run of defeats behind closed doors is in parallel to the decline of Schalke under David Wagner since the start of 2020. The Royal Blues were defeated at home to relegation-threatened Werder Bremen and slipped to their 11th straight defeat in the Bundesliga. A strong Hinrunde of results should give Schalke the security to avoid an unnecessary relegation battle, with Wagner's men slipping down to 10th and six points above Union.
1. FC Union Berlin and Schalke will meet on Sunday in Köpenick for the first time. The previous meeting in the Bundesliga ended 2-1 for the Royal Blues at the Veltins-Arena. Fischer's team reacted brilliantly under the lights to Benito Raman's opening goal on 23 minutes as Marcus Ingvartsen converted from the penalty spot. A dominant performance from Union was undone at the death as Suat Serdar scored the winner for the hosts. The one head-to-head before this season was the 2001 German Cup final in Berlin – Schalke ran out 2-0 winners to deny Union triumph at the Olympiastadion.
Julian Ryerson's injury at Mönchengladbach a week ago has ruled the Norwegian out of action until the end of the season. Christopher Lenz is doubtful, while Robert Andrich returns to the squad after sitting out a suspension. Although Akaki Gogia and Sheraldo Becker are training, both players won't be ready.
"It will be a difficult game for both sides. Regardless what system you play, you have to find the right balance. It won't work to just defend, and it won't work to just go forward. Our forward movement starts with the goalkeeper and also the defence ends with the goalkeeper. After six games without a win, it would certainly help us to win, but for that we all have to put in a good performance on the pitch as I don't expect any presents," said head coach Fischer at the pre-match press conference on Friday.
Meanwhile, Schalke will be without Weston McKennie through suspension and Suat Serdar who is injured. Benjamin Stambouli's training week was curtailed and the French defender looks set to miss Schalke's visit to the Alte Försterei. Jean-Clair Todibo, Amine Harit and Omar Mascarell are also unavailable for selection.
Sunday's match is live on Sky Sports in Germany.
The match will be available on BT Sport in the United Kingdom & Fox Soccer in the United States.