In a fitting start to their first-ever Champions League campaign, Union Berlin opens the group stages away at record champions Real Madrid.
Union are going into the game coming off two losses in a row. At the weekend, they lost 2-1 to Wolfsburg in a game where the Berlin side should of won the game with the amount of chances in front of goal that they had. While the weekend beforehand they were convincingly beaten by RB Leipzig 3-0. Union face a Real Madrid side who are currently unbeaten in La Liga with a familiar face in former Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham being key in their winning streak to begin the season.
For Union, it is unlikely that they will qualify out of Group C but with these games against European royalty such as Real Madrid they will just want to cherish the moment of making it into Europe’s premier competition as every follower of German football knows, Union have defied the odds to be in this position.
However, with Madrid expected to dominate the game, it will allow Union to play the way they want to which is making use of counterattacks. Union have been known to sit back and counter teams and that is exactly what will happen in this game, whether unsung hero Kevin Behrens is able to take the minimal chances he gets will be the decider on whether Union are able to give Madrid a game.
These types of games as well are when Union’s summer signings come into play to provide the experience the rest of the squad lacks. Kevin Volland, Robins Gosens and Leonardo Bonucci all have Champions League experience, with the latter two even having Champions League final experience. These three will likely provide the advice to make sure Union do not look like a rabbit caught in the headlights on Wednesday evening.
The main absentees for Union are Rani Khedira who has missed the majority of the first four games of the season with a calf injury. While Janik Haberer is suspended due to too many yellow cards in the Europa League last season.
Kepa – Vazquez, Rüdiger, Alaba, Garcia – Tchouameni – Valverde, Bellingham, Kroos – Rodrygo, Joselu
Rønnow – Doekhi, Knoche, Leite – Juranovic, Laidouni, Kral, Tousart, Gosens – Becker, Behrens
GGFN | Jack Meenan