With a 4-0 lead from the first leg against Finland’s KuPS, 1. FC Union Berlin will look to secure a spot in the UEFA Europa Conference League group stages on Thursday at 20:15 local time.
Review: The last matches
After the European win in Helsinki, 1. FC Union Berlin returned to Bundesliga action on Sunday, picking up another valuable point on the road. Niko Gießelmann and Taiwo Awoniyi struck to earn a 2-2 draw against Hoffenheim who ran out 4-0 winners on the first weekend of the Bundesliga season at Augsburg. The former Fortuna Düsseldorf left-back, who started in place of Tymoteusz Puchacz, made an immediate impact with the opener after 10 minutes. Julian Ryerson whipped in a great cross from the right and Gießelmann was perfectly positioned in the box to head past Oliver Baumann. Urs Fischer has warned about playing well in periods and Union were second best to the home side for the remainder of the half. Kevin Akpoguma headed home after 13 minutes before Jacob Bruun Larsen put Hoffenheim ahead midway through the half. The Köpenick side needed a response after the interval and they got it. Taiwo Awoniyi punished Akpoguma for a poor clearance and fired home his fourth goal in three games for 1. FC Union Berlin in the new season. Awoniyi and Max Kruse have created a superb strike partnership between them this campaign and the duo nearly found the winning goal. Kruse was positioned around the edge of the box, receiving the pass from Awoniyi but Baumann made an important stop to keep the scores level.
KuPS: Opposition Report
The six-time Finnish champions and last year’s cup winners recovered from defeat in Helsinki with a 5-1 win over HIFK. The gap at the top of the Finnish top division stands at nine points with HJK Helsinki having played one extra game. Despite going behind on 11 minutes, Simo Valakari’s team pulled off a huge second-half performance to turn the game around. Urho Nissila started the rout on 50 minutes before Jnis Ikaunieks scored from the penalty spot. The Latvian completed the three goals in 10 minutes turnaround to make sure of the points. The hero of Astana Lucas Rangel scored and Nissila bagged the fifth.
KuPS: The coach’s view
“We have a strong starting position that we need to use. KuPS will be ready from the first minute to try and turn the score around. I expect them to be set up to attack. They know where the goal is and they showed that in the last league game and in Astana. We need to get the focus and mindset right. The game starts at 0-0,” added Urs Fischer.
Fabio Schneider and Grischa Prömel are still unavailable for selection.
Tickets are exclusively available here and there is no opportunity to purchase direct at the Olympic Stadium on Thursday.
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