Union Travel to Hoffenheim
The Penultimate Game of a Remarkable Season
1. FC Union Berlin will travel to play TSG Hoffenheim in Sinsheim on Saturday, 20.05.2023, for what will be their penultimate game of the season. Kick off in the PreZero Arena is at 15:30.
The lie of the land
Almost there. Having collected three more important points in the fight for a place on the European stage with the superb 4-2 victory against SC Freiburg last Saturday, head coach Urs Fischer’s side will at least be competing in the UEFA Europa League next season. Now it is time to see if they will be competing any higher.
But if Union have been having a ball, Hoffenheim, meanwhile, have experienced a very different rollercoaster of emotions this season, having been as high as 4th place at times, before a massive slump in form from the end of October saw them slump to the bottom of the table. For 14 long games, the club from Baden-Württemberg went without a win. They reached the last 16 of the DFB Pokal, but were eliminated by RasenBallsport Leipzig losing 3-1.
Under new coach Pellegrino Matarazzo, however, who took the helm in Kraichgau in February, they were able to rouse themselves and were able to climb back up to 13th, picking up ten points from four games.
But TSG have now been in 14th place for four weeks and as such are still in the middle of a relegation dogfight, and need every point possible to stay in the league.
Like Union, Hoffenheim tend to play in a flexible 3-5-2, relying often upon their attacking wing-backs such as the left-sided Angeliño, who with nine assists, is a constant threat. Their mainstay up front has been centre-forward Andrej Kramaric who has scored ten goals, while attacking midfielder, Christoph Baumgartner, has seven goals and six assists to his name.
Due to injury, Grischa Prömel was forced to miss this encounter in January, but this time it seems likely that he’ll play against his former club. The Stuttgart-born player played 141 games for 1. FC Union Berlin from 2017 to 2022, scoring 20 goals and adding ten assists during that time.
After another injury setback, Andras Schäfer will not be available for the squad, while Robin Knoche has a question mark over him.
The coaches' views ahead of the game
"This will be an interesting game with a lot at stake for both teams," said Union's head coach, Urs Fischer, during his press conference on Thursday. "Hoffenheim have stabilised in recent weeks and won three of their last four home games. In addition, they are good on the break, and have some players who can make the difference. It will be a challenge for us."
Hoffenheim coach Pellegrino Matarazzo, meanwhile, said, "Only a few teams have been able to shine when up against Union. We need an effective approach to the game and the willingness to wear ourselves out. I'm not interested in the results on any other pitches, we won't pay attention to that. We will just play our game and we want to win."
The visitors' block in the PreZero Arena is already sold out, but there are still seats available in the adjacent areas for those who decide to come at short notice. Further information on purchasing tickets, the matchday attire and visiting the stadium in Sinsheim can be found here (German).
The game will be broadcast live on SKY. And as usual Union will keep you up to date through their own live ticker, as well as in English on Twitter. There will be an audio stream available on rbb24Inforadio and rbb24.de