1. FC Union Berlin take on Hoffenheim on Saturday in the first Bundesliga game of 2022 at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei.
Review — The last match:
Union's dominant second half performance in Leverkusen left Urs Fischer's side frustrated at not taking all three points from the BayArena. Patrick Schick made it 18 for the season with a first-half opener as Leverkusen bossed proceedings. Gerardo Seoane's side, fourth in the table pre-match, passed up opportunities before Grischa Prömel bundled in the equaliser near half-time. The midfielder followed up on two excellent stops from Finnish goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky to give Union a lifeline. Fischer made two changes at the break with Levin Öztunali and Andreas Voglsammer entering the game — and Union turned on the style. Prömel put Union ahead but the Köpenick club failed to turn their opportunities in the second 45 into a more convincing lead. Max Kruse hit the crossbar and Voglsammer forced more work out of Hradecky. Jonathan Tah equalised with six minutes to go, but Union had more chances to put the game beyond doubt. In stoppage time, Bastian Oczipka struck off the post as Union had to be content with one point instead of three.
Hoffenheim — Opposition Report:
Hoffenheim's growth over the league season sees them up in third place, six points off Borussia Dortmund in second. While Bayern Munich have extended their advantage at the top of the Bundesliga, Hoffenheim are in the mix to qualify for next season's Champions League. Sebastian Hoeneß's team lost their last Bundesliga game at the start of November in Bochum — the previous defeat at Bayern Munich. His side have showed a consistency and stability in form with seven games returning 17 points. A win at home to RB Leipzig was followed by a 6-3 win at Greuther Fürth. A pleasing feature of Hoffenheim's side for coach Hoeneß is the goals coming from all over the park. Ihlas Bebou has seven goals to his name in the Bundesliga, but others have chipped in too including midfielder Christian Baumgartner, left-back David Raum, winger Jacob Bruun Larsen and strikers Munas Dabbur and Andrej Kramaric.
Hoffenheim — The coach's view:
Urs Fischer: "They've been the strongest team over the last 7 games with 17 points. It is fully deserved from my perspective when you look at the games. Good balance betwen defence. Stable defence. MAke good runs. Force errors. With the ball, good mixtures to open. Goodplay behnd the lines. They can attack from wide with crosses. It's a team doing really well.
Laurenz Dehl is working back from injury at the minute. Sheraldo Becker has returned to training following his time in isolation at home. Ricky van Drongelen returned a positive test this week and is out. Niko Gießelmann has trained individually and it will be tight for him. Marvin Friedrich and Tymoteusz Puchacz have left the squad this week. Taiwo Awoniyi is participating at the African Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
The match will take place under 2G-Plus regulations and matchday information can be found here.
A maximum of 3,000 spectators are permitted to attend.