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Union face strong test against Leverkusen

Friday night action:

Thu, 14. January 2021
Union face strong test against Leverkusen

1. FC Union Berlin's third Friday evening clash of the 2020/21 Bundesliga season will see the Köpenick club host Bayer Leverkusen at the Alte Försterei at 20:30.

Urs Fischer's team have won twice under the lights – against Mainz and Borussia Dortmund – and will be looking to make that a third in Round 16 of the campaign.

Review

Against another strong opponent last weekend, 1. FC Union Berlin came out with a positive result in the Bundesliga. Urs Fischer's team will feel unfortunate not to have taken all three points, but a 2-2 will draw satisfy the Köpenick club. Renato Steffen's opener for Wolfsburg was cancelled out by Sheraldo Becker's thumping strike after half an hour at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei. The match turned in Union's favour in the second half when Marcus Ingvartsen sliced open the Wolfsburg defence to find Taiwo Awoniyi, who was bundled over by Maxi Arnold. Referee Patrick Ittich dismissed the Wolfsburg player, but consulted with VAR to change the penalty decision to a free-kick at the edge of the box. That mattered little to Robert Andrich who swung the ball over the wall and past Koan Casteels. Union's lead should have been extended to 3-1 when Christopher Trimmel's corner/goal was ruled out for a foul – consultation with the VAR would have shown this was a valid goal for Union. Instead, Wolfsburg took advantage, winning a penalty kick for a handball with the help of the video monitor and Wout Weghorst converting to make it 2-2.

Opponent

Peter Bosz's Bayer Leverkusen are enjoying a quietly impressive Bundesliga season with the Werkself in third place, four points better off than Union. Leverkusen's fast and offensive style of football has caught the eye and has given them a fighting chance to nudge Bayern Munich away from the summit of German football. The schedule, however, is tight for Leverkusen ahead of Friday's fixture following a midweek clash in the DFB Pokal against Eintracht Frankfurt. That test was passed by Bosz's men (4-1) despite going a goal behind early doors. Leverkusen stumbled in the Bundesliga last time out at the BayArena, drawing 1-1 with Werder Bremen.

Personnel

Urs Fischer's pre-match press conference contained some positive updates on the injury front. Although Christian Gentner is a doubt despite taking part in training, defender Nico Schlotterbeck has been given the all-clear and looks to be an alternative option for Union Berlin. Joel Pohjanpalo, Max Kruse and Anthony Ujah are the absentees from the Union squad as they continue their rehabilitation from serious injury. Midfielder Grischa Prömel is back from his one-game suspension to give Fischer a potential selection headache in the middle of the park.

Service

Friday's game will be played behind closed doors at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei.