Union vs Mainz
Second against Eleventh at the Alte Försterei
1. FC Union Berlin are to play 1. FSV Mainz 05 in the 19th game of the Bundesliga season on Saturday, 04.02.23, in the Alte Försterei. Kick off is on Saturday, 04.02.2023, at 15:30.
The lie of the land
Once again, as with last weekend, this is a clash between two sides in very different moods, and in very different form. It’s second versus eleventh. Union, unbeaten in 2023, versus Mainz who have lost two out of four, the last of which was the 4-0 at home to Bayern in the Cup in midweek. Mainz also lost 2-1 at home to Dortmund in the league. But a draw in Stuttgart and a 5-2 victory over Bochum have kept their place in the league comparatively stress free.
With 23 points, Mainz are currently safe in mid-table, nine points off European qualification, and seven ahead of the relegation play-off place. It smacks of solidity and consitency, but a closer look at the season so far paints a somewhat different picture. Over the first nine games of the season they swapped wins and losses and draws each week, not winning back-to-back games until their wins over Bremen and Köln in October. But they were followed by the 6-2 defeat to FC Bayern, a loss that sent them into a sporting slump, with four defeats and two draws in the following six matches. They dropped from 6th to 12th in that time alone.
While Union’s home form is the second strongest in the league, Mainz have performed creditably on the road, where they sit seventh. Four of their six victories so far have come away from home.
And the game between the sides in September, in the sweltering, stifling heat, remains either side’s only goalless draw, though the feeling remains that they could have played on and on that day for another 90 minutes and no-one would have scored.
The Eisernen will be visited by a former player in Saturday's clash. Marcus Ingvartsen moved to the Rhineland-Palatinate state capital last summer after 68 appearances for Union and currently has a tally of seven goals in 15 appearances this season.
Head coach Urs Fischer can call on almost his entire squad against FSV. Only András Schäfer, who got injured again during the derby, and keeper, Jakob Busk, who is sick, are not available.
The coach’s views ahead of the match
"They play a very combative game with a lot of duels” said urs Fischer during his press conference on Tursday. “Their game is very interesting, they are quick on the attack and are always trying to win those second balls, they are very good at that. I think they will play against us like they did in the second half against FC Bayern in the second half in the cup match. I expect a close game."
Tickets for the match are no longer available, with both home and away sections sold out.
The stadium will open its gates at 13:30. The match will be broadcast live on Sky and, as usual, Union will provide information on the match on the club's own live ticker, as well as in English on twitter.