The prospect of a birthday party with his family made Urs Fischer smile again. The missed table lead with 1. FC Union Berlin wormed the iron coach.
"Logically we would have liked to have won this game," said the Swiss after the hard-earned 0-0 draw against bottom side Schalke 04. Traveling as a pursuer to the top game at leaders Bayern Munich next Sunday is more in line with the nature of the iron than eternal Underdog, but of course Fischer would have liked to take first place in the Bundesliga.
Fischer's pragmatic conclusion after 90 tough minutes against the zero number experts from the pot was: "Don't complain, take the point with you, there's one more on the account". Union has 43, as many as Munich after 21 match days. Fischer has to be careful anyway that he doesn't get mixed up in the iron team's top game.
Union already demanded against Ajax on Thursday
On Thursday, after the 0-0 draw in the first leg against Ajax Amsterdam, there is a realistic chance of reaching the round of 16 in the Europa League. "As soon as possible" you have to "regenerate" is Fischer's standard vocabulary when chasing appointments.
Regenerate. And celebrate a birthday. Fischer will be 57 on Monday. And if the team didn't give him a win, he was happy to have visitors from home before his anniversary. "It's nice that my family is here, so it's a bit special," said Fischer.
However, the celebrations at the beginning of the Ajax and Bayern week should not distract. "It's not my first birthday, I have a certain routine," the success coach put the party expectations into perspective. Far away for Fischer is the cup quarter-finals at Eintracht Frankfurt, which was drawn minutes after the final whistle. "Great game," whispered Fischer.
Schalke set a league record
Schalke have a certain routine with goalless games. The fourth 0-0 in a row was a first in the Bundesliga. Not enough for a spirit of optimism in the relegation battle. But the consolidation of the miners continues. "We're on the right track. You can see that something has happened here," said coach Thomas Reis, but lamented the continuing weakness on the offensive.
The guests could not significantly improve the starting position in the relegation battle. The safe table region is still at least six points away. "We mustn't forget that we played against the second-placed team. That's an extra point that nobody expected," said goalkeeper Ralf Fährmann.
Two series continued with the draw: Schalke have now been without an away win for 38 games, Union have been undefeated at home in the league for more than a year and now 16 games.
Union waiting and controlled
The spectators saw typical Union football in the stadium at the Alte Försterei. Wait, check. Not necessarily beautiful, but so solid that the competition has long since gotten used to the iron at the top of the tableau.
Reis had hoped in vain for more effectiveness on the offensive after the three zero numbers that helped calm things down. There wasn't a single chance to score in the first half. So it could not work with the hoped-for effectiveness. Union also held back. Danilho Doekhi (23') got a shot from a free-kick cross. Rani Khedira (39th) tried it very tentatively from a distance.
The zero number ultimately helped neither Union nor Schalke. So both took more risks after the break. The result was more presence in the penalty area - and Schalke even more active. But there was no greater danger for the Union gate. Fischer also brought his top strikers Becker and Jordan Siebatcheu. The otherwise so typical lucky punch didn't work this time. But Fischer was still able to smile later.