After 1. FC Union Berlin's European trip ended without a win this season, sadness and disappointment prevailed. Players and coaches didn't really know whether concentrating solely on the fight against relegation from the Bundesliga after failing to finish bottom of the group in their Champions League debut was an advantage.
“Of course we have to focus on the Bundesliga now, but it was also great to play the Champions League in these last few months,” said goalkeeper Frederik Rönnow after the 2:3 (1:0) against Real Madrid in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium. "Maybe it's good, I don't know," he said, pointing out that the Iron Men had also played successfully internationally and nationally in recent years.
Missed wintering in Europe
The first premier class season for Köpenick, who were promoted to the Bundesliga in 2019, ended with just two points from six games. Union didn't manage a win in Group C with Real, SSC Napoli and SC Braga. The club from Portugal secured the Europa League consolation prize in third place behind Madrid and Napoli.
If they had won against the favorites from Madrid, Union would still have wintered internationally. “I would have liked to have continued to play in Europe,” said coach Nenad Bjelica. The 52-year-old Croatian has only held the position since the end of November after the end of Urs Fischer's era. Last weekend, Union achieved their first win in a competitive game under Bjelica after 16 games and improved to 15th place.
"The last game against Gladbach gives you the biggest reason to have self-confidence," emphasized midfield organizer Rani Khedira, with a view to the Union's victory in the Bundesliga next Saturday at VfL Bochum, 14th in the table. with three points more than the Berliners.