Bundesliga action returns this weekend as 1. FC Union Berlin head for the Veltins-Arena to play Schalke on Sunday October 18 at 18:00.
1. FC Union Berlin finished up before the recent international break on a high with a 4-0 win over Mainz at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei. Max Kruse's first start in Union colours was followed up with his first goal for the club since arriving in Köpenick this summer. Union stepped up a gear into the second half and doubled the lead through Marcus Ingvartsen on 49 minutes. Christopher Trimmel notched his second assist of the game as Marvin Friedrich headed in a third after 63 minutes. Less than a minute later, Joel Pohjanpalo marked his first appearance for Union by scoring about 30 seconds after coming on the field as a substitute. Urs Fischer used the time during the international fixtures to push his players to the maximum and hand out important minutes to players on the fringe of the first-team. Union fought past Hannover in a friendly game last Thursday with a double for Cedric Teuchert and one each for Akaki Gogia and Marius Bülter.
David Wagner's time in Gelsenkirchen came to an end after three successive defeats in the Bundesliga — 0-8 at Bayern Munich, 1-3 at home to Schalke and 0-4 in Leipzig. Manuel Baum, the former head coach of Augsburg, has been brought in to turn the ship around with Schalke sitting at the bottom of the table. In their friendly against Paderborn last week, Schalke came from behind to beat the 2.Bundesliga side 5-1. Mark Uth scored a hat-trick for the Royal Blues, while there were goals for Vedad Ibisevic and Benito Raman.
Urs Fischer confirmed the absences of Anthony Ujah and Nico Schlotterbeck at the pre-match press conference. Christian Gentner has trained this week and will be part of the final session on Saturday before the journey to Gelsenkirchen. Christopher Trimmel and Joel Pohjanpalo returned from their respective national teams and will train fully with the team on Saturday.
Sunday's game takes place under special conditions due to the coronavirus pandemic. Just 300 supporters will be given access to the stadium and Schalke have handed over the tickets to key workers.