1. FC Union Berlin will face VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday, February 10, 2024. Kick off at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei is at 15:30.
The lie of the land
After picking up a point in the re-scheduled match at 1. FSV Mainz 05 in midweek, Union remain 15th in the table, five points behind the visitors from Wolfsburg. The club from Lower Saxony are also coming into Saturday's clash off the back of a draw, having twice come back in their 2-2 with TSG Hoffenheim last weekend.
With six wins, five draws and nine defeats, coach Niko Kovac's side have 23 points from 20 Bundesliga matches. They have scored 25 goals and conceded 32, have picked up eight points on the road, winning two, drawing twice and suffering six defeats. Their away goal difference shows ten goals scored and 20 goals conceded.
Though Wolfsburg are still unbeaten in 2024, they are still waiting for their first win. Before Hoffenheim, they drew 1-1 three times in a row - against Mainz, Heidenheim and Köln. Their last win came against Darmstadt on matchday 15, which they won 1-0. They lost their last game of 2023, 2-1 at FC Bayern München.
Saturday's guests mostly leave the scoring to Danish international Jonas Wind, who has been directly involved in 14 of those 25 goals this season with nine goals and five assists. But last week it was his team-mate, Lovro Majer, who shouldered the burden with his brace, his sixth and seventh goals of the season. Both players are new, having only joined in the summer for a total of 37 million euros. VfL Wolfsburg only made one move on the transfer market in the winter transfer window with the signing of Kevin Behrens.
Just eleven days after signing his contract in the Autostadt, Kevin Behrens will be facing his former side. Paul Jaeckel and Robin Knoche also came through several youth teams in Wolfsburg before stepping up to the first team. Jérôme Roussillon also spent five years at the club.
The head to head
In nine Bundesliga encounters so far, Union have won two games, with three draws and four defeats. They are yet to lose a game at home to Wolfsburg, but lost the last match in Wolfsburg, 2-1.
Josip Juranovic is still injured and will not be in the squad, while head coach Nenad Bjelica will also be without Kevin Vogt and Janik Haberer (both having received five yellows) and Christopher Trimmel (facing the second match of his two match suspension).
The coaches' views ahead of the game
"We've showed ourselves very well at home in the last few games and want to do the same again tomorrow," said Union's head coach, Nenad Bjelica, during his press conference on Friday afternoon. "Wolfsburg have good footballers in their ranks who try to solve a lot of problems through play. We want to counter that with a lot of aggression, but also with a good tactical approach. Similar to the game against Darmstadt, we want to create scoring chances and, with our fans behind us, give everything we've got to keep the three points here."
Kovac, meanwhile, had this to say of the tough trip to Köpenick. "It won't be easy. Anyone who has ever played at the Alte Försterei knows that these are always very close games. Especially as there is very good support from the fans there. It's going to be a tough battle. The last few games have also shown that it's often close... It probably won't be a five-goal game. We have to get into the game well and create chances, even if it won't be easy against a five-man back line."
As usual, the Stadion An der Alten Försterei will open two hours before kick-off. The home section is, as ever, sold out.
The match will be broadcast live on Sky and there will also be an audio stream on rbb24 Inforadio and rbb24. As usual, Union will also provide live updates via the club's own live ticker, as well as in English and Spanish on Twitter.