Union Berlin will play their first match since Urs Fischer's departure when they face Augsburg on Saturday.
There will certainly be a strange feeling around Stadion An der Alten Försterei following Fischer’s departure before the international break. Fischer mutually agreed to end his five-year tenure after overseeing a poor run of form, consisting of 13 defeats and one draw.
In his final game in charge, Fischer saw his side comfortably dispatched by leaders Bayer Leverkusen, who cruised to a 4-0 win thanks to goals from Álex Grimaldo, Odilon Kossounou, Jonathan Tah and Nathan Tella. That result ensured Union finished matchday 11 at the foot of the Bundesliga table with two points separating them from safety.
While Union are searching for Fischer’s successor, the club’s Under-19s coach Marco Grote has been placed in temporary charge. Grote will be assisted by Marie-Louise Eta, who is set to become the first female coach in the Bundesliga. The coaching staff will be hoping to get off to a positive start and lead Union to their first win since August.
Union are unable to call upon the injured trio of Leonardo Bonucci, Sheraldo Becker and Danilho Doekhi. Meanwhile, Rani Khedira will serve the final game of a three-match suspension.
Augsburg are hoping to continue their fine run of form under Jess Thorup, who has overseen two wins and two draws since replacing Enrico Maaßen in October. Thorup began his tenure with a commanding 5-2 victory over Heidenheim and a 3-2 win against Wolfsburg.
The Fuggerstädter went on to play out a 1-1 draw in their home meeting with Köln, before they repeated the scoreline against Hoffenheim in their most recent fixture. Augsburg trailed at the break following Wout Weghorst’s 23rd-minute effort, but a second-half strike from Ermedin Demirović ensured the contest finished all square, leaving Augsburg in 10th place after 11 matches.
Although Thorup will be pleased with his four-game unbeaten start, he will still be looking for an improvement from his side, especially in defensive areas. Having conceded in each of their last 14 league matches, Augsburg are still searching for their first clean sheet since May. However, they can take confidence from the fact their most recent shutout took place in their previous meeting with Union, which produced a 1-0 victory at the WWK Arena.
The visitors are unable to call upon Irvin Cardona, David Colina and Raphael Framberg due to knee injuries. They are also without Masaya Okugawa, Sven Michel, Arne Maier, Frederik Winther and Reece Oxford.