Celebrated Union Berlin coach Urs Fischer enters the last chance saloon when his troubled side collides with Stuttgart in a German Cup (DFB Pokal) encounter on Tuesday night. The Swiss gaffer commands a groundswell of goodwill after guiding the Iron Ones from the obscurity of Germany’s second tier league – Bundesliga II, to Europa Conference League, Europa League and then Champions League qualification is consecutive seasons.
A run of ten successive defeats including a 0-3 reverse at the hands of tonight’s opponents Stuttgart ten days ago has left Fischer’s job in peril. Union Berlin’s statistics over the last two months are damning. The side from Germany’s capital have gone from scoring eight goals in their first two Bundesliga games this season to failing to score in seven out of their last ten games.
The trip to Stuttgart’s Mercedes Benz Stadium has been further complicated by the one week suspension handed to striker David Datro Fofana for refusing to shake Fischer’s hand when he was substituted in Union’s 0-1 Champions League loss to Napoli. The good news for Iron Ones is that Stuttgart’s 14-goal striker Serhou Guirassy, who scored in his sides 3-0 pummelling of Union Berlin on October 21 remains sidelined by a hamstring injury.
Another pair of Bundesliga coaches hoping to arrest the rot are Mainz’s Bo Svensson’s whose side will be targeting an upturn in fortunes when they face Hertha Berlin tomorrow, and FC Koln’s Steffen Baumgart whose bedraggled outfit are away to Kaiserslautern. Mainz sit bottom of Bundesliga standings without a win after nine rounds of action whereas Koln have won just once.
Two time defending German Cup winners RB Leipzig face a potential banana skin when they travel to Wolfsburg in another all Bundesliga tie on Tuesday night. Marco Rose’s side have gathered a good head of steam after securing back to back victories over Red Star Belgrade (3-1) and Koln (4-0). Summer signings Lois Openda and Xavi Simons are the players to watch after accumulating a combined twenty goal involvements across all competitions.
Tomorrow’s action will feature two goal feasts. Europe’s leading scorers Bayern Munich turn their considerable firepower on lower division Saarbrucken looking for a repeat of Saturday’s 8-0 obliteration of Darmstadt. Even without suspended Joshua Kimmich and injured trio Leon Goretzka, Serge Gnarby and Jamal Musiala, the Bavarians are primed to maintain their average of almost four goals per game.
The match up between Borussia Dortmund and Hoffenheim at Signal Iduna Park could also produce a goals avalanche as the visitors’ nine Bundesliga games have witnessed 36 goals scored. Sebastian Haller, Giovanni Reyna and Youssoufa Moukoko are all in contention for starting slots after bit part roles in the Black and Yellows 3-3 draw at Eintracht Frankfurt.
Wolfsburg v RB Leipzig,
Stuttgart v Union Berlin,
St Pauli v Schalke,
Homburg v Greuther Furth,
Kaiserslautern v Koln,
Gladbach v Heidenheim,
Unterhaching v Fortuna Dusseldorf,
Arminia Bielefeld v Hamburger
Holstein Kiel v Magdeburg,
Borussia Dortmund v Hoffenheim,
Freiburg v Paderborn,
Sandhausen v Bayer Leverkusen,
Nuremberg v Hansa Rostock,
Hertha Berlin v Mainz,
Viktoria Koln v Eintracht Frankfurt