Union Berlin Coach Urs Fischer and his side could barely have wished for a more grand opening night for their Champions League debut, as they take to the Santiago Bernabeu against Real Madrid. He has been clear that they are not just making up there for the occasion though.
Fischer spoke to Diario AS ahead of the match, and acknowledged that it could be a once in a lifetime occasion.
“I think that both the players and I, as a coach, don’t know how many more times we will be able to play here and it is a great experience. In the Bundesliga we also have impressive stadiums, but of course, playing in such a famous stadium against such a great team is something very special. We have great respect, but we are not going to exaggerate.”
He was keen to impress on his players that they had to be cool under the bright lights of the Bernabeu though, and noted that he had not overloaded them information in the lead up to the match.
“We have to play mature and brave football. We want to have the ball and know how far we can get. If we only defend, we will have a very difficult time. The adult way of playing means knowing how to take advantage of spaces, winning duels… The boys will have to make many good decisions.”
Fischer also believes he might have hit on a formula to hurt Real Madrid too.
“We have analysed many games. The one against Real Sociedad, the one against Celta, the friendly against Juventus… We’ve detected some weak points. And about the quality of the team, I already told you at the beginning. Bellingham, Rodrygo is also a player we have to defend. We must defend their turns. If he gains speed and plays one-on-one, he is almost unstoppable. In the middle of the pitch, anyone can make the last pass. We need a compact and well-organised team.”
Real Madrid are expected to make a handful of changes ahead of their Madrid derby clash with Atletico Madrid on Sunday, but will likely send out a strong side all the same. Los Blancos have only won two of their opening five matches by more than one goal this season, and only scored more than twice on one occasion. If Union manage the game well, they will like their chances of making it tight at least.