After beginning the Bundesliga season with an emphatic victory over Mainz 05, Union Berlin will be looking to claim another win when they face newly-promoted Darmstadt on Saturday.
|Photo: 1. FC Union Berlin
After spending six years in the second tier, Darmstadt returned to Bundesliga action last weekend with an away fixture against Eintracht Frankfurt. The newly-promoted side were ultimately left empty-handed after Randal Kolo Muani’s first-half strike proved to be the difference between the two teams.
While Torsten Leiberknecht would have been encouraged by his side’s battling display, the result represented a second straight defeat following the club’s surprise DFB-Pokal exit to fourth-tier Homburg.
Darmstadt are now preparing for their first home game of the season, where they will face a tough test against Champions League participants Union Berlin. Ahead of Saturday’s meeting, the hosts will look to draw inspiration from the fact they lost just one of their 17 home league games in the 2.Bundesliga last term. While the level of opposition may have increased, Darmstadt will attempt to make the Merck-Stadion am Böllenfalltor a fortress once again.
The hosts are expected to be without the services of Mathias Honsak due to an ankle injury, while Matej Maglica is also a doubt.
Union Berlin have flown out of the blocks, scoring eight goals in their first two competitive games of the new season. After thrashing Walldorf 4-0 in the first round of the DFB-Pokal, Union claimed another comfortable victory in their league opener against Mainz 05. A sublime Kevin Behrens hat trick was complimented by a late Milos Pantovic effort, guiding Union to a commanding 4-1 home win.
With Union's first-ever Champions League campaign set to get underway in September, they will be keen to head into the group stage in a positive vein of form. With Union set to face a newly promoted side, they will certainly believe they have the capability to claim all three points. However, their away form in the closing stages of the 2022-23 season suggests that recording a win may be easier said than done, with their final six games producing just one victory. They did at least manage to win their two away games against newly-promoted sides last season.
The visitors are unable to call upon the injured quartet of Laurenz Dehl, Janik Haberer, András Schäfer and Rani Khedira. Lucas Tousart, who arrived from city rivals Hertha BSC, is yet to make his debut and remains a doubt for Saturday's contest.
More about the match
15:30 Kickoffs: Gosens brace leads Union past Darmstadt, Philipp sinks Bremen, Revierderby ends in draw