1. FC Union Berlin’s men’s side return to action in the 6th game of their Bundesliga season when, on Saturday, 30.09.2023, they will travel to face the recently promoted 1. FC Heidenheim 1846. Kick off at the Voith Arena is at 15:30.
1. FC Heidenheim 1846 have been knocking on the door of the Bundesliga for a while. In the 2019/20 season, they were on the verge of promotion but failed only in the relegation playoff, losing by a narrow margin to SV Werder Bremen. But three years later, after an outstanding 2. Liga season, their time had finally come, their arrival in the top flight for the first time sealed with a 3-2 win over SSV Jahn Regensburg (in a heart-stopping finale) to win the title.
A major part of their success in recent years has been played by striker Tim Kleindienst, who has played 143 times for the club, scoring 73 goals in the process. This season, the Brandenburg-born striker has once again proved his eye for goal, scoring in both the 2-2 in Dortmund and the 4-2 home win against Bremen a week later, where he assisted a further two.
It means that Frank Schmidt is the longest-serving coach, currently serving in the Bundesliga. The former defender took over as coach at Heidenheim in September 2007 and has since led the club from the Oberliga to the top flight of German football. To date, he has coached FCH in 592 competitive matches.
Lennard Maloney came through Union's youth teams between 2012 and 2018 and was part of the promotion squad in the 2018/2019 season. The central defender left the capital in 2020 and has been under contract at Heidenheim since 2022 after spells at Chemnitzer FC and Borussia Dortmund's second team.
The head to head
In twelve direct encounters so far, there have been six wins for FCH, two draws and four victories for Union. At the Voith-Arena, however, Union have only won once in six encounters.
Laurenz Dehl, Rani Khedira, András Schäfer and Robin Knoche will not be available on Saturday afternoon. Kevin Volland is suspended due to his yellow-red card in the match against RasenBallsport Leipzig.
The coaches’ views ahead of the game
"Last Sunday we analysed the defeat against Hoffenheim again, but from Tuesday onwards it was about putting the focus onto the next task,” said Union head coach, Urs Fischer, during his press conference on Thursday afternoon. “Heidenheim are a team with a lot of pace that bring a lot of mentality to the pitch and have a lot of quality, especially when playing against the ball. They always try to press, are good on the break and are dangerous after winning the ball. Their set-pieces should not be underestimated either.”
"We know Union well from the 2. Liga and from last year's cup match," said Heidenheim coach, Schmidt, meanwhile. "As far as the basics are concerned, they play a 5-3-2 against the ball. They play very compact, very intense, a lot of counter-pressing and have a physical presence everywhere on the pitch. They have scored many of their goals through set-pieces and crosses from the wings, and are very strong in the air... Union also have "very fast people up front," he continued. "They play in the Champions League and will be a real challenge for us."
Around 1700 Union fans will be there to support their team in Heidenheim, and there are no further tickets for the guest block available. Some information on visiting the stadium in Heidenheim can be found here (German). The match will be broadcast live on Sky, and there will also be an audio stream on rbb24 Inforadio and at 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.