Union Berlin close to the Champions League

Union Berlin beats the Bundesliga team of the hour and stays on course for Europe. The change of power in the capital should now also be cemented in the cup derby.

The Union pros had barely received the deserved applause for the home win against Hoffenheim when the fans got in the mood for the game of the year. “City champion, city champion – Berlin’s number one!” sang the 3000 supporters in the Alte Försterei and made the players excited for the cup derby on Wednesday (8:45 p.m. / ARD and Sky) at city rivals Hertha BSC.

“It’s a big game for us,” said winning goalscorer Grischa Prömel: “Reaching the next round – that’s our very clear plan.” This self-confidence is no coincidence, after all, the Irons have a nine-point lead over Hertha in the Bundesliga table.

While the blue-whites (0-0 at VfL Wolfsburg) are fighting against relegation this season despite 374 million euros from investor Lars Windhorst, the red-whites are preparing to move into the European Cup for the second time in a row. Currently even the Champions League seems possible. Union is “extremely difficult to play with,” said coach Sebastian Hoeneß from TSG Hoffenheim, who tied on points, “that qualifies them for higher things.”

But the Berliners will not lose their grip after the “dirty victory” (Christopher Trimmel). “The coach is too nagging for that,” revealed Prömel with a grin. Urs Fischer’s credo is: “We have to work hard for every point in the Bundesliga.”

It was no different against Hoffenheim, who had been unbeaten in seven games before. Union turned the game after an own goal by Timo Baumgartl (17th) not playfully, but with will, support of the 3000 spectators – and super joker Sheraldo Becker. The fast Dutchman came into play after an hour, brought a lot of momentum and initiated Prömel’s winning goal (73rd).

“We know: You can send him into a running duel and he’ll fly through the stadium,” said Prömel. The midfielder could also describe himself as a match winner, after the brace in the previous week at Bayer Leverkusen (2: 2) Prömel again proved his newly won goalscoring quality. “I’m just putting things away,” said the 28-year-old mischievously.

Heintz replaces Friedrich well

His coach was noticeably reluctant to praise the former U21 international, who has almost forgotten the departure of Robert Andrich (to Bayer Leverkusen). “I expect long distances and a goal threat from him in this position,” said Fischer, “that’s his job”.

Dominique Heintz’s task is to compensate for the departure of central defender Marvin Friedrich (to Borussia Mönchengladbach) for the winter. That worked out well against Hoffenheim – but Fischer should have liked what Heintz had to say about the European Cup chances even more. “We don’t want to look so much at the table, we want to collect points and have fun,” said the newcomer. For that you have to “remain a force at home and disgusting for the opponent”.


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