Union Berlin – Match Report vs Hertha Berlin 22/05/20

This is a guest article from Andy Watson.

Union took on city rivals Hertha and employed their familiar deep-lying and narrow 1-5-4-1/1-3-4-3 system. The primary goal of the tactical approach was to deny Hertha time and space in the centre of midfield and force the creative work of their opponents to come out wide. The plan worked for the first 45 minutes as they frustrated their hosts and were able to attack the Hertha goal using their set-piece threat and direct play on a few occasions, albeit without creating a clear-cut chance. 

However, early in the second half Hertha made the breakthrough and made it two within a minute. This changed the game totally, Hertha then played with total confidence and Union became scrappy and disjointed in their strategy. They were unable to create a single good chance from open play and their wide forwards in particular were anonymous, attempting only 16 passes between them in the whole match. Forward passes completed were at a premium all over the pitch and their only opportunities seemed to come through set-pieces. 

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 

Grischa Proemel 

Player Profile: 

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

Very competitive again from the German but struggled to have any impact on the game with the ball. Proemel was able to prove that athletically he is capable of matching his opponents in central midfield and there is little doubt that his physical attributes of strength, pace and stamina are adequate for this level. 

Proemel’s ability to affect the game with his technical skill however is still unproven. His first touch is perfunctory but basic. He showed little composure on the ball and no desire to keep possession of it. This may be partially down to team strategy though Proemel attempted very few forward passes either. A couple of the ones he did play hinted at a good weight of pass. 

From his on-pitch behaviour Proemel is clearly a team player that fits in with the ethics of the Union squad. Though outclassed in the game, Union never really gave up and Proemel was a part of that, continuing to work through the 90 minutes. There was a blatant foul committed by the German wide in midfield as well, which demonstrated that he wasn’t afraid to bend the rules to lend his team an advantage. 

This is the second time in two weeks I have been able to watch Proemel and though his desire and work rate isn’t in doubt, his lack of footballing ability from a technical standpoint makes it difficult to recommended him for a higher level. 

Rating – C 

Marvin Friedrich 

Player Profile: 

  • Nationality: German 
  • Age: 24 
  • Date of Birth: 13/12/1995 
  • Current Club: Union Berlin 
  • Career: Schalke 04, Union Berlin 
  • Position: Centre Half 
  • Preferred Foot: Right 

The central defender returned from suspension to replace the now suspended Keven Schlotterbeck, but played on the right of the three defenders rather than in the centre.  

Friedrich has a tall, athletic build and moves quite elegantly. He wasn’t tested for pace very often but he certainly isn’t a slow player, though in Union’s low block it is difficult to assess this fully. Friedrich brought the ball forwards nicely on a couple of occasions, again a trait that is unusual to see from a Union defender. Though he didn’t play many passes his range appeared quite limited. His short passes were accurate and purposeful but he was responsible for playing a poor long pass from kick-off after the first goal that then directly resulted in Hertha’s 2nd goal. 

Friedrich wasn’t caught out of position often and made mostly good decisions. His direct opponent in the match was the dangerous and talented Matheus Cunha and Friedrich found it difficult to keep him under wraps as the Brazilian got ahead of him early on to clip at attempt at goal. However, a lot of Cunha’s best work came when he moved out of Friedrich’s area of the pitch. 

I suspect from what I saw of Friedrich in this match that he would perhaps be more suited to playing a different system. A higher line with more of an emphasis on possession and controlling the ball may be more suitable to the attributes it appears the German has. Certainly something of interest for potential suitors.  

Rating – B2 

Marcus Ingvartsen 

Player Profile: 

  • Nationality: Danish 
  • Age: 24 
  • Date of Birth: 04/01/1996 
  • Current Club: Union Berlin 
  • Career: FC Nordsjaelland, Genk, Union Berlin
  • Position: Right Wing 
  • Secondary Position: Attacking Midfield
  • Preferred Foot: Right 

For the second match in a row Ingvartsen was very quiet and unable to affect the game in a meaningful way. It is a concern that the Dane has neither been involved in the build-up play in attacks nor been on the end of any chances created. His position in the side is currently sustained upon his defensive contributions, which do at least indicate that his teamwork, communication and work rate attributes are good. 

Technically on the ball Ingvartsen has good control but it is still difficult to assess his passing range, finishing, crossing and other technical skills as he didn’t have the chance to demonstrate them. This is perhaps an indictment on other aspects of the Dane’s game though. His movement, pace and acceleration couldn’t find him the space required to be available. The play down the Union right was controlled by the right-wing-back Trimmel and he rarely looked to use Ingvartsen as an option. 

Rating – D 

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