1. FC Union Berlin will fight for the first home win of the 2020/21 Bundesliga season on Friday (20:30) when Mainz make the trip to the Stadion An der Alten Försterei.
A fortnight ago, Nico Schlotterbeck was the hero to send Union into Round 2 of the DFB Pokal with a dramatic winner in Karlsruhe. The Germany U21 international, on loan from Freiburg until the end of the season, headed in an equaliser with 10 minutes to spare to secure 1. FC Union Berlin's first point of the club's second Bundesliga campaign. Borussia Mönchengladbach struggled to keep check of Sheraldo Becker in the first 45 minutes as the Dutch winger carved out a number of opportunities on the break. Marcus Thuram, however, had other ideas and left Union trailing. Fischer's men dug deep and showed team spirit to fight back against the Foals, who will be in this season's UEFA Champions League. Capping off a strong response, Marcus Ingvartsen crossed for Schlotterbeck whose header beat Yann Sommer and evaded Lars Stindl on the goalline.
Mainz 1-4 home defeat to VfB Stuttgart would prove to be the final game of Achim Beierlorzer's tenure at the club. Moussa Niakhate was sent off as the Swabians ran out dominant victors at the OPEL Arena. Swedish striker Robin Quaison put his team in front after 12 minutes but Stuttgart's strong second half display made sure of the points — despite Pascal Stenzel's late dismissal in stoppage time.
Jan-Moritz Lichte will lead Mainz in action on Friday night in Köpenick. The 40-year-old was the assistant coach to Beierlorzer and will look to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Sandro Schwarz, Jürgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel who have established their foot in the Bundesliga with Mainz. Lichte takes over in choppy waters at the OPEL Arena with issues between players, which led to a training strike earlier in the week. Mainz will be looking to put the negative run behind them when they look to win at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei for the first time since the opening matchday of the 2002/03 2.Bundesliga season.
The main topic of conversation at the pre-match press conference was the availability of this week's new faces Loris Karius and Joel Pohjanpalo. Both players are "game ready" according to the Union head coach, who also confirmed Keita Endo had successfully completed training sessions with the squad this week. Just Anthony Ujah and Christian Gentner are unavailable for selection due to their respective injuries.
The current infection protection measures in Berlin permit 5,000 supporters to be in attendance at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei. Please observe the health and safety measures. Gates open from 18:30.
The match will be live on DAZN in Germany, ESPN in the United States and BT Sport in the UK.