Most Union fans are reluctant to remember the DFB Cup semi-finals in Leipzig almost exactly four months ago. Back then, Domenico Tedesco’s team won as narrowly as possible in added time after a goal by Emil Forsberg.
The starting position is a bit different when you look at the table: After two matchdays and the best start to the Bundesliga in the club’s history, 1. FC Union is in fifth place, RB is only eleventh. Apart from the cup defeat, Union has won all of the last three Bundesliga duels.
According to head coach Urs Fischer, in the top game on Saturday evening (6.30 p.m., Sky) at the An der Alten Försterei stadium, the Köpenickers need “more trust in us than in the last game in Mainz” and an “optimal game” in order to continue this winning streak against RB. According to Fischer, Leipzig is “a team that really has incredible speed when moving forward” and is also very precise in the passing game. “It’s important to be compact, not to give them any space, to always ensure depth and to force them to make mistakes.”
While Union didn’t score in the duel with Mainz last week and didn’t really present themselves as a goal threat, Leipzig is extremely variable on the offensive and has recently strengthened with Timo Werner and David Raum. “There are really difference players who can decide a game on their own,” says Fischer. Despite the strong offensive, Leipzig did not get off to a particularly good start with just two points from two games and are under a bit of pressure early in the season. “I think they imagined it a little differently,” says Fischer.
Nevertheless, Leipzig should go into the game as a favorite, even if Union is no longer considered the blatant outsider, as it was perhaps the case after they were promoted to the Bundesliga. “I think if you are compact and well organized in the game against the ball, then also have the necessary aggressiveness, defend in front, find the height somewhere where you start to attack, you’re doing a lot of things right,” says fisherman. Playing with the ball yourself is important in order to let the opponent run and save energy.
At Union, everyone is ready for action except for Timo Baumgartl. Unlike RB, where goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi is out due to an adductor injury and will not make his 200th Bundesliga appearance. The Berliners should start again in the usual 3-5-2, and no major changes are to be expected in the starting XI.
The only personal detail that could still change would be a return of captain Christopher Trimmel, who lost out to Niko Gießelmann in Mainz. Julian Ryerson should be seeded on the flank, who showed a good performance in the first two games and can play both on the right and left.
The first quarter of an hour of the game will probably be very quiet again. In the past, Union maintained a silent protest against the club construct in all duels with Leipzig. Above all, Fischer wanted to prepare the new players, who would have experienced a completely different volume level after the derby against Hertha. So the signs are not bad from a Union point of view and the latest balance sheet should also be encouraging. “The good thing is, we know the feeling that we’ve already beaten them, I think you have to take that with you.”