FC Union Berlin – Match Report vs Bayern Munich 16/05/20

This is a guest article from Andy Watson.

Union were up against it in this match as they hosted the behemoth that is Bayern Munich, and without the support of their own fans or even the guidance of their manager Urs Fischer who had had to leave the quarantine camp due to a family bereavement.

They set-up in a 5-4-1 formation that was narrow in midfield. They were attempting to force Bayern to attack down the flanks and this ploy worked to a certain extent. Bayern were not relentless in chance creation but Pavard and Davies were more than happy to take up the space offered and worked well with the wide forwards to create overloads on Union.

Union did not play through midfield at all and Ujah found it very difficult to hold the ball for support. Union’s best moments tended to come from wider positions with Trimmel and Lenz having more possession than any other Union player. They created very few chances and only one clear-cut chance which was very early on.

Ratings

· A1 – Very good, could play higher
· A2 – Strong potential to play higher
· B1 – Good, strong player at that level
· B2 – Potential to be a good player at that level
· C – Average for the level, rewatch
· D – Below average, don’t follow up

Keven Schlotterbeck

Player Profile:
· Nationality: German
· Age: 23
· Date of Birth: 28/04/97
· Current Club: Union Berlin, on loan from Freiburg
· Career: Backnang, Freiburg, Union Berlin (L)
· Position: Central Defence
· Preferred Foot: Right

The on-loan defender played the match in the centre of the defensive three. He was rarely engaged in one-on-one battles, Subotic and Huebner took the forwards on, leaving Schlotterbeck often as the spare man. As Union coped fairly well with Bayern for the first half-hour Schlotterbeck was fairly anonymous but his importance to the Union defence became apparent as the match progressed.

He was made to look slow when coming out to cover against Alphonso Davies, but the Canadian can do that to most. Other than that instance Schlotterbeck’s moves into wide areas were effective.

His 1v1 defending stood up excellently against Serge Gnabry when Schlotterbeck was last man and he stood up well, forced Gnabry to try a shot and blocked it. He also began to step out of the defensive line more aggressively and effectively as the match progressed. This despite earning a yellow card the first time he attempted to come out and press an attacker. This showed to me that he has confidence in his movements and timing.

One big doubt I would have about Schlotterbeck moving up in the game is his technical ability. Union don’t play out from the back and Schlotterbeck never moved into positions to receive the ball from any player. It was, of course, difficult when Bayern dominated the match and pressed up fairly high but I would need to see him again to form a comprehensive opinion on his passing and ball control.

Rating – B1

Christopher Lenz

Player Profile:
· Nationality: German
· Age: 25
· Date of Birth: 22/09/1994
· Current Club: Union Berlin
· Career: Hertha Berlin (Y), Borussia Monchengladbach (Y), Union Berlin, Holstein Kiel (L)
· Position: Left Wing Back
· Secondary Position: Left Back
· Preferred Foot: Left

An ever-present as left wing back in Union’s 5-4-1 system, the German didn’t start the game well, booked on 12 minutes for a heavy challenge and this weakened his ability to hunt the ball. The movement of Muller and Goretzka combined with the attacking of Pavard on Munich’s right found Lenz outnumbered on a few occasions. He was unable to cut out crosses, including one that led to the first Bayern goal.

Lenz grew into the game slightly as it wore on. He showed some good movement and awareness in providing an interesting underlap past Kimmich. Union didn’t have enough of the ball for Lenz to have great effect in the opponent’s half, but Lenz’s final ball wasn’t up to scratch today. No crosses found their mark. However, his fitness is not an issue, as in the final minute of regular time he found a beautiful reverse pass off his right foot to create a shooting chance.

Lenz made a couple of decisions to sell himself and Bayern played around him. Also, on one occasion when he gave the ball away his initial movement was to give a little bounce of annoyance. It wasn’t much, but he didn’t get straight back into position and ended up behind the play. Also he switched off at the back post on one occasion, although this went unpunished.

Rating – C

Robert Andrich

Player Profile:
· Nationality: German
· Age: 25
· Date of Birth: 22/09/94
· Current Club: Union Berlin
· Career: Hertha Berlin, Dynamo Dresden, Wehen, Heidenheim, Union Berlin
· Position: Central Midfield
· Preferred Foot: Right

Another 25-year-old who has played almost every minute for Union this season. His game was very functional against Bayern. It was always going to be difficult for Andrich to play much with the ball, the first completed pass to his forwards that I could see was on 44 minutes.

Starting in the base of midfield Andrich is more comfortable with the game in front of him and moving forwards to challenge opponents, but is clearly more of a ball-winning midfielder than a deep-lying playmaker sort.

Andrich and his midfield partner had the unenviable task of putting themselves up against Thiago & Kimmich today. Andrich was fit enough to run with the Bayern players throughout the match until his substitution on 70 minutes.

His replacement in the match, Christian Gentner, did throw into light some of the deficiencies on Andrich’s game though. Gentner made more forward contributions and passes than Andrich did in his much greater amount of time on the field.

Rating – D

Grischa Proemel

Player Profile:
· Nationality: German
· Age: 25
· Date of Birth: 09/01/95
· Current Club: Union Berlin
· Career: Hoffenheim, Karlsruhe, Union Berlin
· Position: Central Midfield
· Preferred Foot: Right

This was Proemel’s first start since August having suffered an injury early in the season. It would seem that he was chosen for this match for his ability to work in tandem with Andrich to keep the centre of midfield tight and to challenge Kimmich and Thiago physically.

Proemel showed a few glimpses of the ability to play forwards, his first forward pass however had to wait until the 22nd minute. He unleashed a snap volley at goal in the second half which demonstrated decent technique but he squandered a decent attack building opportunity as well by being slow to make a decision and producing a poorly played pass at the end of it.

Physically he looked fit and strong, despite taking a knock to the ankle in the first half. Proemel lasted until the 85th minute before being replaced so it will be pleasing to Union that he is able to play a full match at a good level of intensity. I would like to see him again when Union have slightly more of the ball to give a fuller assessment of some of his characteristics.

Rating – C

Marcus Ingvartsen

Player Profile:
· Nationality: Danish
· Age: 24
· Date of Birth: 04/01/1996
· Current Club: Union Berlin
· Career: FC Nordsjaelland, Genk, Union Berling
· Position: Forward
· Secondary Position: Right Wing
· Preferred Foot: Right

Playing on the right wing, Ingvartsen has very few touches in this match meaning that I will have to watch the Dane again to fully appraise him.

He played one nicely weighted forward pass on a second-half breakaway and displayed some very good close control to evade a couple of defenders early on, so there is some ability there. However, he also gave the ball away a number of times and made poor decisions and overally had a negligible impact on the game.

Rating – C

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