1. FC Union Berlin make the trip to Arminia Bielefeld on Sunday evening, looking to get another important away victory in the Bundesliga.
Max Kruse needed just nine minutes to make an impact on his first start following his return from injury. The former German international slid an impressive pass through the Hoffenheim defence and found Christopher Trimmel who won an early penalty kick. Kruse stepped up to score from 12 yards and put Union into the lead at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei. Despite going out of Europe just 72 hours earlier, Hoffenheim put up a spirited performance and put the Köpenick club under the most pressure at home than other Bundesliga rivals. Ilhas Bebou equalised and ended Loris Karius' run of clean sheets in the Union goal. In the end, the visitors created the best of the chances in the second half and Union left with a stroke of luck thanks to the video assistant referee. On 82 minutes, Pavel Kaderabek swept Hoffenheim into the lead but the goal was ruled out for an alleged offside. Karius and the Union defence were resolute and rode their luck in the final minutes to hold on to another Bundesliga point. Urs Fischer's team are level on points with Freiburg, but lead on goal difference in seventh. Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund are three and four points ahead in the European positions, respectively.
This week, Arminia Bielefeld brought an end to the reign of former Union Berlin coach Uwe Neuhaus, the longest-serving trainer in the history of the Köpenick club. The 61-year-old was in charge at the SchücoArena for 77 matches and guided Bielefeld to an impressive promotion to the Bundesliga - their first in 11 years. Neuhaus' replacement is 46-year-old Frank Kramer, who arrives from Salzburg where he led the club's UEFA Youth League team. Previously Kramer was in charge of Germany's youth national teams between U18-U20 and he has coached Fortuna Düsseldorf, Greuther Fürth and Hoffenheim. Kramer inherits a team, second-from-bottom in the Bundesliga but still well in contention to remain in Germany's top division. Bielefeld have 18 points to their name - level with Mainz and Hertha Berlin - despite playing one game fewer than their relegation-threatened rivals. The jump to 14th-placed 1. FC Köln is only three points away, so they will believe in their chances of staying in the Bundesliga. But to do so, their form will need to improve: Arminia Bielefeld haven't won any of their last five games, picking up the sole point in that period away to Bayern Munich. At the SchücoArena, Bielefeld are attack-minded and look to get about the opposition, winning matches at the Bielefelder Alm against Mainz, Hertha and Stuttgart.
Urs Fischer's injury list has suffered a blow in recent weeks following Niko Gießelmann's shoulder fracture a fortnight ago. Christopher Lenz's fitness issues haven't cleared up this week and he'll be unavailable for selection at the weekend. Anthony Ujah is still out, but is in rehab following his operation. Sheraldo Becker and Taiwo Awoniyi are the other two absentees for 1. FC Union Berlin.
Sunday's 18:00 kick-off at the SchücoArena will take place behind closed doors.