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A Prime-Time Clash in Bavaria

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After reaching the last 16 of the Europa League on Thursday, 1. FC Union Berlin will travel to face FC Bayern in Munich on Sunday, 26.02.2023. Kick off at the Allianz Arena is at 17:30.

The lie of the land

At the end of the 21st round of Bundesliga fixtures three teams – FC Bayern, Borussia Dortmund and 1. FC Union Berlin – were level on points at the top of the table. This was the first time this had happened at such a late stage in the season since the introduction of the three points for a win rule. The ramifications of Sunday’s match could be huge for the ultimate destiny of the title. 

The record champions can look back on a full week of preparation, with Bayern not having played since their 3-2 loss away at Borussia Mönchengladbach, ending their previous run of 20 games without defeat. Their last steps on the international stage were four days prior even to that, when they won 1-0 at Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16.

With the 3-1 win over both legs against Ajax, Union meanwhile qualified for the last 16 of the Europa League. As the draw in Nyon, Switzerland, revealed, they will face Royale Union Saint-Gilloise – just as they did in the group stage.

The opponents

The best attack and the defence with the fewest goals conceded. As has often been the case over the last few years, the statistics, when looking at FC Bayern, can be sobering. They score an average of almost three goals a game, conceding only one, testifying to their attacking and goal-rich style of play. After Bayern’s 61, second-placed Borussia Dortmund have the second-best attack in the Bundesliga with “only” 44 goals scored (before their kick off against TSG Hoffenheim).

While Union are still undefeated in 2023 and, the two draws against FC Schalke 04 and Ajax Amsterdam the only slight blemishes on their record, FC Bayern have only picked up nine of a possible eighteen points in the Bundesliga since the winter break.

The personnel

Apart from András Schäfer, all Union’s players are available for the match.

The coaches’ views ahead of the match

“FC Bayern are a top European team,” said Urs Fischer during his press conference on saturday afternoon. “They have many players who can make a difference and who can decide games on their own. Recently, they have changed their style a bit, choosing to play more long balls, and after the defeat last week, they are probably a bit irritated. We had a good plan in the first leg, which worked to a large extent, and we need that again now. Nevertheless, it will be a very difficult match.”

“I’m expecting a top match, it’s about leading the table and putting a direct rival at a distance again,” said Fischer’s opposite number at Bayern, Julian Nagelsmann. “Union had an exhausting game in the Europa League on Thursday, but they are used to playing midweek and have a big squad. Union always bring their style of football to the pitch: defending deep, often counter-attacking, and with their physicality they are always getting to the second balls. It’s always unpleasant to play them, it’s not easy because you have little space. We can’t make any mistakes in possession so their speed doesn’t show on the pitch. I’m sure it will be an exciting and interesting game, hopefully with the better outcome for us.”

Service info

The away sector is completely sold out. Further information on how to get to the stadium and matchday can be found here (German).

The match will be broadcast live on DAZN and, as usual, Union will also provide information on the match in the club’s own live ticker, as well as in English on Twitter. In addition, there will be an audio stream on rbb24 Inforadio and on www.rbb24.de.

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A Prime-Time Clash in Bavaria

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