On Saturday, 23.09.2023, 1. FC Union will host TSG 1999 Hoffenheim in the fifth match of the current Bundesliga season. Kick off at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei is at 15:30.
Under head coach Pellegrino Matarazzo, Hoffenheim have started the new season with three wins from four games. After a narrow 2-1 home defeat to SC Freiburg on matchday one, TSG went on to pick up three points against 1. FC Heidenheim, VfL Wolfsburg and 1. FC Köln respectively, icluding, for the first time since their promotion to the Bundesliga 16 years ago, winning their first two away games of a season. Brandenburg-born Maximilian Beier, who is the top scorer in Matarazzo's team with three goals and one assist, has played a big part in this.
During the summer break, director of football, Alexander Rosen, and his team signed several new players, centre-back Attila Szalai came from Fenerbahce, midfielder Anton Stach from Mainz 05 and striker Mergim Berisha from FC Augsburg. Probably the most high-profile addition is Dutch international Wout Weghorst, who is on a one-year loan from Burnley FC. The attacker was part of the Netherlands squad at the 2022 World Cup and scored a brace against Argentina in the quarter-finals.
One of Hoffenheim's longest-serving players is goalkeeper and captain Oliver Baumann. He has been wearing the TSG jersey since the 2014/15 season and has played in 335 matches so far. Most recently, the keeper was also nominated for the Germany team, but the 33-year-old did not make it off the bench in the matches against Japan and France.
Midfielder Grischa Prömel, who has been playing in Sinsheim for a year, wore the Union jersey between 2017 and 2022, scoring 20 goals in 141 competitive matches and was promoted to the Bundesliga with Union in 2019. Marius Bülter also played in Köpenick between 2019 and 2021 before his move to FC Schalke 04, leaving them after their recent relegation for Hoffenheim.
The current Union squad also includes two players with a Hoffenheim past. Kevin Volland made 144 appearances for TSG between 2012 and 2016 and Janik Haberer made 17 appearances for their second team in the 2014/15 season in the Regionalliga Südwest.
The head to head
The record between the two teams is even: In eight duels, there have been three wins each and two draws. Union's home match at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei last season ended 3-1 while they lost 4-2 away.
Laurenz Dehl, András Schäfer, Robin Knoche and Rani Khedira are not available on Sunday, while Kevin Volland is suspended due to his red card in the match against RasenBallsport Leipzig.
The coaches' views ahead of the match
"On Thursday I left the boys alone, because a game like the one in Madrid has to be dealt with individually first. But from today onwards, the focus was on Hoffenheim," said Union head coach Urs Fischer. "They have started well in the championship, are compact, well organised and bring the basics to the pitch. In addition, they are dangerous ion the break and at set-pieces. With Weghorst, they also have a target player up front who brings a lot of quality."
"Union's defence make things very unconfortable, rarely allowing us to open up. We have to hit them in the deep at the right moment, and get the best out of one-on-ones. There will be moments that we want to take advantage of. We did that well last season," stressed Hoffenheim coach Matarazzo.
The home section at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei is sold out. The match will be broadcast live on Sky, and there will also be an audio stream on rbb24 Inforadio and rbb24.de. As usual, Union will also provide information on the match via the club's own live ticker as well as in English and Spanish on twitter.