Déjà-vu an der Wuhlheide!
Flapper, the second: Once again, Union Berlin and Royale Union SG face each other in the Europa League! During the group stage, the visitors won both legs 1-0 and the Berliners had to settle for second place, while the Blue-Yellow team from Brussels secured the top spot in the standings!
For the home side, this means that they have already had to play in the intermediate round before the current round of 16. Here, the Eisernen eliminated none other than Ajax Amsterdam. For the next edition of Union Berlin against Royale Union SG, the forecast includes a draw.
Union Berlin – Statistics & current form
The kickers from Köpenick clinched their participation in the Europa League with a surprising fifth place in the Bundesliga last season and the current season in the German top flight is again very successful.
Although Union was shown the limits for the time being on the penultimate matchday with a 3-0 defeat in Munich, the capital city team continues to play in the top section of the table in third place. One advantage of the team from the Wuhlheide is their flexibility on the offensive.
Five players have already scored at least four times in league play. This allows the home side to compensate for the lack of form of top striker Sheraldo Becker, who was still outstanding in the first half of the season and has not scored since 9 November last year, although this has become increasingly difficult recently.
Union efficiently nail the box
Union coach Urs Fischer can also be very pleased with his defence. During the group stage of the Europa League, they conceded only two goals in six games and in the previous round, Ajax also cut their teeth on the defence.
Amsterdam scored only one goal in the two matches. Even though the Dutch record holders have seen better days, the goalless draw and the subsequent 3-1 home win at the Alte Försterei were of course well worth watching.
Not more than two goals?
In view of the strong defence, betting on less than 2.5 goals in the clash between Union Berlin and Royale Union SG is also worth considering.
The prediction is supported by the equally strong defensive performances in the home games in league play. In the eleven matches played in front of their own fans, the 1968 FDGB Cup winners conceded only eight goals – together with Bayern Munich, this represents the best home record in the division.
In addition, the 2001 Cup runners-up are strong at home thanks to their reliable defence. The home side has yet to lose a game at the Alte Försterei in the current Bundesliga season (7-4-0)! In fact, they have played 17 consecutive Bundesliga games without a home defeat.
Last games of Union Berlin:
04/03/2023 – Union Berlin 0 – 0 1. FC Köln
26/02/2023 – Bayern Munich 3 – 0 Union Berlin
Europa League Final Stage
24/02/2023 – Union Berlin 3 – 1 Ajax Amsterdam
19/02/2023 – Union Berlin 0 – 0 Schalke 04
Europa League Final Stage
17/02/2023 – Ajax Amsterdam 0 – 0 Union Berlin
Royal Union SG – Statistics & current form
St. Gilles were back in the Belgian top flight for the first time in 2021 after 49 years of abstinence and ended up winning the runner-up spot straight away! This was also the first ticket to the top flight, but only for the qualifiers.
In the qualifying rounds, the Brussels team was narrowly beaten by Glasgow Rangers, which is why they ended up in the Europa League and made it through the group stage. The footballers from Dudenpark were also dancing on three weddings until the last week.
But after the defeat against Antwerp in the second leg of the semi-final of the domestic cup, at least this competition is over for Royale Union. The elimination was very close after a penalty shoot-out. On the other hand, it can be said that the Belgian runners-up have been in a downward spiral for several weeks.
In the Jupiler League, coach Karel Geraerts’ team has won only one of their last four matches and last weekend’s success only came against fourth last from Eupen.
KRC Genk have moved away in the standings
While the visitors still occupy second place in the standings, the leaders from Genk are now quite far away. Thus, the gap amounts to eight points and even if the points are halved before the start of the soon upcoming championship round, the prospects for the first title after almost 90 years (1935) in St. Gilles are diminished.
In terms of personnel, the team from the Stade Joseph Marien has also been weakened for a few weeks. The reason is the departure of the Belgian Dante Vanzeir to New York in the MLS. As a result, St. Gilles lost its best striker.
The extremely goal-scoring duo from the previous year, which consisted of him and the German Deniz Undav, and was instrumental in the completely surprising runners-up title as a promoted team, is now completely history, after the latter striker had already packed his bags for Brighton from the Premier League before the season started.
Boniface to get it right in attack
In the attack of the eleven-time champions of the country, the hopes are now mainly on Victor Boniface. The Nigeria striker has scored in three of the last five competitive matches and is currently the sharpest weapon in the visitors’ attack. Against this background, the prediction and odds on his next goal in the match between Union Berlin and Royale Union SG are also worth a recommendation.
This is also backed up by the fact that he has already delivered his team’s best haul in six games during the group stage with three goals. In addition, he was given a breather in the last league match against the East Belgians and was substituted for only 24 minutes. This should make him physically fresh again.
Last matches of Royale Union SG:
06/03/2023 – Royale Union Saint-Gilloise 2 – 1 KAS Eupen
03/03/2023 – Antwerp (4)1 – 0(3) Royale Union Saint-Gilloise
26/02/2023 – KVC Westerlo 4 – 2 Royale Union Saint-Gilloise
19/02/2023 – Royale Union Saint-Gilloise 2 – 4 Standard Liege
11/02/2023 – Club Brugge 1 – 1 Royale Union Saint-Gilloise
Union Berlin – Royale Union SG Direct comparison / H2H record
As mentioned, the teams have also already faced each other in the group stage of the current edition of the Europa League. The Belgians first picked up a 1-0 win at Union Berlin in September last year.
Then, two months later, the Spree-Kickers returned the favour with a 1-0 win at St. Gilles, respectively in Leuven, where Royale play their games in the competition. Furthermore, the clubs played a test match in 2020 that ended in a 2-2 draw.
Union Berlin – Royale Union SG Tip
In the clash between Union Berlin and Royale Union SG, the tip and betting odds on a draw appear profitable. The clubs are on a par in terms of play and the visitors have ended their interim drought of three defeats in a row in league and cup play with their recent win in the league against Eupen.
Admittedly, the East Belgians are a size smaller than their namesakes from the Wuhlheide. Nevertheless, the Blue and Yellows have gained new self-confidence thanks to the win.
Another factor in favour of the prediction is that the visitors from Brussels will be very defensive. Instead, they will look for their chance to advance in the second leg next week.
Furthermore, the home side’s attack has been declining recently, with four nil goals in their last five competitive matches, including the dress rehearsal at home against 1. FC Köln. It is obvious that the Berliners are slowly reaching their physical limits with their participation in three more national and international competitions.