by Oliver Trust
BERLIN, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) — For years, Union Berlin has been living a unique way in professional football. After proceeding to the first tier in 2019 and into the UEFA Champions League in 2023, things didn’t seem to change despite a deep sporting crisis having taken hold of the side.
Ahead of the group encounter in Naples this Wednesday evening, the team of coach Urs Fischer suffered 12 consecutive defeats. Eight in the national league aside from the exit from the German Cup and the three setbacks in the Champions League.
Despite the team seeming to have reached an unprecedented performance low, the support for Fischer is growing with every defeat.
Fans show banners praising the Swiss as “one of us” and “we demand it stays this way.” Team captain Christopher Trimmel is spreading the team’s opinion “that he is our coach, doing all he can to take us back to success. He is talking to us; only together we get over this.”
The club’s powerful president Dirk Zingler is repeating his view by saying: “He undoubtedly is one of the league’s best coaches.”
While 57-year-old Fischer is emphasizing “the unusual unity,” the Swiss is aware that “things can’t go on like this forever.”
While the club, team, fans, and coach hope to trigger a turnaround counting on unity former team captain Felix Kroos, from the outside seems to get to the story’s core.
“We all know it can’t go up to the 15th or 16th defeat,” the brother of Real midfielder Toni Kroos said in a podcast on social media.
Time seems to run out to return to happiness as neither the duel against Naples nor the following league encounter against leader Leverkusen seems to provide the stage for a surprise.
In case Fischer can survive the upcoming challenges the league game on home soil against Augsburg on November 25th might be the last chance for the former Basle coach to escape his dismissal.
The story of Fischer and Union is the story of a club that has lost track due to what might be called the Champions League trap.
Having assumedly increased the squad quality by signing prominent players to bear the burden of the unknown competition such as the Champions League, stability is now out of sight.
New arrivals and the established forces don’t seem to fit together to continuously deliver what made the side strong such as a solid defense relying on counterattacks.
While midfielder Rani Khedira is returning to action in Naples, many of the recent games were narrowly lost, some in the dying minutes, others right from the start.
The sureness to not “carry out things badly in general” currently seems to provide the glue keeping things together.
The upcoming weeks might give proof of how strong the unity is and how many defeats it takes to make things fall apart.
Expectations might be manageable when it comes to the games against Naples and Leverkusen, but everyone in Berlin is aware, that only successful games help to make Fischer write additional chapters as the team’s coach in charge.