Being able to bring the Dutch record champions Ajax Amsterdam to the brink of defeat in their stadium was no longer a surprise for the professionals at 1. FC Union Berlin after the successes of the past few months.
"We won in Leipzig, they play in the Champions League. We can keep up with everyone," said defender Josip Juranović after the Bundesliga runners-up were 0-0 in the first leg of the Europa League on Thursday evening. "We have a lot of confidence. We know that as a team we are hard to beat," said his team-mate Danilho Doekhi. Good prospects for the second leg next Thursday.
The equal appearance was logical for the iron. There was even more in it than a draw. "We had four chances, maybe they had one. It was a midfield battle," said Juranović.
Praise from coach Urs Fischer
The team improved during the game, Ajax hardly found any solutions on the offensive. "Compliments to the team for how disciplined they played for ninety minutes, how much effort they put into it, how well they closed a lot of spaces," praised coach Urs Fischer. Even though Ajax let the ball run, his team stayed active and tried to put pressure on the ball.
The Berliners also had a hard time going forward, but still had good opportunities. "We had one or two scoring chances where you should have scored in the end. Unfortunately, that didn't work out. But it's definitely a good starting position for the second leg," said Fischer.
Believe in home strength of the Köpenicker
Morten Thorsby supposedly even scored the crowning goal. But because of a handball it was not recognized by the video referee. "That was a bit unlucky," said Doekhi. "If we win 1-0, it's perfect." Neither Fischer nor his players had seen the scene on television immediately after the game, but he also said: "But we can no longer influence it. The game is over."
Juranović estimated the chances of making it into the round of 16 in the second leg in the An der Alten Försterei stadium next Thursday (9 p.m. / RTL ) at 50:50. "We can take a lot of positive things with us," said the full-back. Doekhi believes in the strength of the Köpenicker at home: "Now we have the advantage that we have our fans behind us. We have to use that." Union have only lost two of their last 22 competitive games at the An der Alten Försterei stadium.
Before Ajax arrives, Bundesliga bottom Schalke 04 (3:30 p.m. / DAZN) will make a guest appearance in second place on Sunday.