Union Berlin vs. Mainz preview:
Die Eisernen try to stay undefeated in 2023
By Jonathan Dicks @Jonathan_Dicks
Mainz are looking to rebound from their midweek defeat to Bayern Munich, while Union Berlin want to keep pace with the champions at the top of the Bundesliga and continue their hot streak.
|Janik Haberer.||Photo: 1. FC Union Berlin|
2023 couldn’t have started any better for Union who have three straight victories in a row. The best club in the capital are into the quarterfinals of the DFB-Pokal and sit 2nd in the Bundesliga. Just one point behind Bayern Munich.
Union were surprisingly pretty busy in January and in particular signed right-back Josip Juranovic for nearly €9 million. He’s still sharing time with set-piece wizard Christopher Trimmel, while Niko Gießelmann is ahead of Jerome Roussillon on the left.
In usual Urs Fischer fashion, he stated on Thursday that, "First and foremost, it's about playing a good game and getting the best possible performance. We are playing at home and want the three points. This is especially in our minds. I am only interested in the table after Matchday 34.”
Andras Schäfer is unavailable and goalkeeper Jakob Busk is out due to a sickness. In-form Kevin Behrens should be given the starting nod ahead of Jordan up front.
Mainz expectedly lost to a determined Bayern Munich team midweek in a game that saw coach Bo Svennson get sent off with a red. But, it won’t be too difficult to forget about this performance and think back to their 5-2 win over Bochum on Matchday 18.
The physical Karim Onisiwo is coming off a league hat trick as Mainz try to further inch their way out of any relegation conversation on Saturday. Still, Mainz are struggling to find consistent goals and it doesn’t help that Jonathan Burkardt is constantly dealing with injury issues.
Svensson said, "Urs is doing good things at Union. There aren't many more teams in the Bundesliga who have such an identity in terms of how they play. They deserve to be up there in the table. It will be tough but we have shown that we can cause them problems."
Robin Zentner and captain Silvan Widmer are both unavailable, while Burkardt is questionable. Danny da Costa is likely to start in Widmer’s place and Finn Dahmen will continue in goal.