1. FC Union Berlin will look to build on last week’s derby success when Urs Fischer’s men travel to Mainz on Saturday at 15:30.
Review: Union triumph in derby, Mainz hammered in Leipzig
The first Bundesliga derby between Union and Hertha lived up to the billing. Tempers may have flared in the stands, but Union held their nerve to win in dramatic fashion. Christian Gentner was bundled over by Dedryck Boyata on 89 minutes and referee Deniz Aytekin pointed to spot after confirmation from VAR. Sebastian Polter stepped up in additional time to score the winner, a week after he celebrated scoring at Bayern Munich. There were scuffles at the end which threatened to boil over but there was no distraction from an important three points for Fischer, whose side moved on to double figures for the season and into 14th.
“In front of us stands Mainz,” the Swiss coach told the gathered media on Thursday. “We’ll see if there’s a chance to add points. Then we’ll concentrate on the next game. We aren’t making a list of “we want points here or this number or points by then”. We saw how important the 3 points were v Hertha.“
Sandro Schwarz’s Mainz are one spot above the relegation play-off position in the Bundesliga and the Carnival Club are coming off the back of an awful result in Leipzig. Mainz conceded eight without reply as Timo Werner helped himself to a hat-trick of goals and assists, while Marcel Sabitzer continued to shine in Julian Nagelsmann’s team. Mainz’s campaign has thus far followed a similar pattern of win and defeat, win and defeat. At home, Mainz ran out 3-1 winners against 1. FC Köln last time out with goals from Jean-Paul Boetius, Robin Quaison and Levan Öztunali.
Record: Mainz hold upper-hand
Saturday’s game is the first competitive meeting in 15 years. Both games in Mainz have gone the way of the home side — 1-2 and 0-1 defeats both in 2003. The previous encounter was in 2004 at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei with the sides playing out a 1-1 draw. The Köpenick club have won two of the last three games following victories against Freiburg & Hertha in the Bundesliga. Union’s solitary Bundesliga point came on the second weekend of the season at Augsburg.
Personnel: Just two absentees
Fischer confirmed in the pre-match press conference that Andy Gogia and Grischa Prömel are still unavailable for selection. Otherwise, there is almost a clean bill of health ahead of Saturday’s fixture. Michael Parensen is making good steps in training following a knock in Freiburg, while Suleiman Abdullahi has successfully returned to team training. Meanwhile, Laurenz Dehl was badly injured in the last U19 match and has undergone surgery, which will see him out of action for the remainder of 2019.
Service: Tickets on matchday
More than 2,600 tickets have been sold for visiting supporters and there will be a final opportunity for fans to secure their place at the match at the OPEL Arena on Saturday. The complete attendance is expected to be 23,000, according to Mainz’s own calculations.