Union Berlin head into the new 2020-21 campaign facing a tough challenge topping last season’s efforts. Urs Fischer’s side were big favorites to go straight back down but upset all the odds to finish in 11th place in the Bundesliga table.
There will certainly be no teams underestimating Union this season, particularly after they enjoyed memorable wins over Borussia Dortmund and city rivals Hertha Berlin in 2019-20. Indeed the win over Dortmund was Union’s first-ever in the Bundesliga.
Survival will once again be the name of the game for the men from the capital, and it would certainly be some achievement if they could secure a third straight season in the German top-flight.
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Starting with the 2020-21 season, anyone in the US can watch every Union Berlin game live on ESPN+:
ESPN+ will have live coverage of every Bundesliga match in 20-21, as well as DFL Supercup, Bundesliga 2, Serie A, FA Cup, Carabao Cup, MLS and other live sports. It also includes every 30-for-30 documentary and additional original content (both video and written) all for $5.99 per month.
Or, if you also want Disney+ and Hulu, you can get all three for $12.99 per month, which works out to about 31 percent savings:
Once signed up for ESPN+, you can watch every Union Berlin match live on the ESPN app on your Roku, Roku TV, Amazon Fire TV or Firestick, Apple TV, Chromecast, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, iPhone, Android phone, iPad or Android tablet. Or you can watch on your computer via ESPN.com.
Union Berlin 2020-21 Preview
Union Berlin may lack the quality and star players of many of the other teams in the Bundesliga, but they certainly don’t lack for intensity and desire which will be needed once again in 2020-21.
The same is true of the club’s supporters, who will be badly missed at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei, although some fans are set to be allowed back in. Fans of Union have, quite literally, bled for the club, in the past to keep their side alive.
Captain Christopher Trimmel should prove an inspirational figure on the pitch once again for the Bundesliga underdogs. The 33-year-old plays at right-back but is a set-piece specialist and a handy attacking threat.
8 – Christopher #Trimmel has assisted 8 league goals from set pieces this season, more than any other player in the Top 5 European Leagues (ahead of Trent Alexander-Arnold with 7). Specialist. #KOEFCU @fcunion_en pic.twitter.com/eAUUa6CojA
— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) June 13, 2020
The defender spoke about his exploits last season to the Bundesliga, hinting that fans can perhaps expect even more from his free-kicks in the future.
“It’s tough enough to stay at the top in this statistic. Now I’ve got to get even more creative with my set pieces. At the end of the day, however, all that matters for us is remaining in the league.”
Striker Sebastian Andersson was often the main beneficiary from Trimmel’s dead-ball delivery, netting 13 times in all competitions last season. However, the hardworking forward has just sealed a move to FC Koln which will be a big blow.
Director of football Oliver Ruhnert, Director for Professional Football, has said the club will do their best to replace the 29-year-old.
“To lose a player of Sebastian’s quality is not easy for us as a club. He was a fundamental part of our team and we must now try to replace him. Thanks to his important contract extension in February, we succeeded in holding on to a player whose sole focus was Union. Now we had to accept that he attracted interest from other clubs and it was clear to us that in certain economic conditions we have to let players go. We would like to thank Seb for two excellent years and wish him all the best.”
Union have brought in Max Kruse in the summer transfer window who should add some further punch to the attack. The striker has previously played in the Bundesliga for Freiburg, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Wolfsburg, and Werder Bremen.
Transfer Ins and Outs
Kruse’s arrival is easily the most eye-catching signing Union have made this summer. The 32-year-old knows exactly what it takes to score in the Bundesliga. He has a record of 74 goals in 250 appearances and arrives with a point to prove after a tough spell in Turkey with Fenerbahce.
— 1. FC Union Berlin (@fcunion_en) August 6, 2020
Indeed Kruse has discussed his feelings about a return to the Bundesliga and what convinced him to make the move to the Stadion An der Alten Försterei.
“I’m happy to be playing in the Bundesliga again and to get to know a cool new club like Union, who have developed really well in recent years. It was important for me to switch to a club that completely convinces and challenges me. During the conversations with those responsible at Union I immediately felt comfortable, that’s why I decided to join Union.”
Union have also moved to bring in Robin Knoche and Niko Gießelmann to strengthen the defense, while Sebastian Griesbeck and Cedric Teuchert have also been added to the squad. Japanese winger Keita Endo is also a new addition after joining on a season-long loan from Yokohama F Marinos.
One big loss is that of goalkeeper Rafal Gikiewicz. The Poland international was a key player for Union last season but has moved on to Augsburg on a free transfer.
Rafal Gikiewicz has made more saves than any other Bundesliga keeper this season, with only seven teams conceding fewer goals than Union Berlin 🇵🇱💪🔨 pic.twitter.com/pT2pnYbirV
— Bundesliga English (@Bundesliga_EN) January 15, 2020
Andreas Luthe is set to replace Gikiewicz between the sticks for Union and will need no reminding he has some big gloves to fill next season.
Manager: Urs Fischer
Manager Urs Fischer is heading into his third season at the club and will be aiming to smash expectations once again. The Swiss coach arrived in 2018 from FC Basel where he had guided the team to back-to-back championships and a domestic cup.
Success has continued in Germany for the 54-year-old who has already made history by taking Union into the Bundesliga for the first time. Fischer has now strengthened his squad, adding experience and quality, with the aim of consolidating their place in the top flight.
Yet after such a successful run Fischer now faces a fresh challenge, namely can he and Union Berlin avoid the dreaded ‘second-season syndrome’ that seems to affect so many clubs after promotion?
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