Obama was in Berlin this week. You've probably worked that out unless you've been living under a rock. If you're reading this then I'm guessing you're probably not a cave dweller. He did not give a State of the Union address - he may as well have done though. His speech writers would have had an easier job in writing about the calm before the storm, which pretty summed up last nights stroll on the 'felde, than the bland message he apparently gave to 4,000 cherry picked loyalists.
Pre-season is all about the new men. That and drinking beer and getting a closer look at the replica shirt. I'll discuss the new men after taking care of the other two topics. The beer was cheaper than at Union although a hefty €3 pfand for the Erdinger was a bit steep. I don't like the new kit. It's a bland affair and is neither modern nor retro. It's a halfway house of a kit that disappoints. In fairness, nothing would have been better than last years strip - aside from a red and white striped effort. I'll have to wait another season for that.
Of course I could wax lyrical about various passages of play and consult my notes on the first half and my half time overview of proceedings but it was a fucking friendly. Against a side that were there to give Union a work out. The opposition harried, attempted a high line but were probably unlucky to concede only 7 goals. Union were in 3rd gear.
Martin Dausch is a name that we'll no doubt be hearing a lot this term. He's an attacking player and his interchanging with Silvio was at times impressive. However, Union often come unstuck at home when Mattuschka roves too far forward and the game becomes narrow with a 4-3-3 in action rather than the 4-4-2 that was intended. Dausch will have to be careful he does not fall into this trap although one suspects the energy that he possesses will be of huge benefit to the team dynamic.
Quiring was hugging the right flank and the man from Marzahn did what he always does. Produced stunning effort (rescuing an over hit cross from going out for a corner just in front of the 400 or so Unioner) yet suffered momentary lapses of concentration (when he misjudged a simple ball and ran to get it back successfully from his man). He's a young bloke with fire in his belly and the scorpion (date of birth was printed in the programme - handy) was an impressive outlet in the first half. It was of no surprise that Dausch' goal came from good work on the west wing. The keeper could only parry and the debutant was able to stroke home a goal to celebrate his first outing in Union colours. All this in under 5 minutes.
If there has ever been a more nervous debut then I've yet to witness it. Mario Eggimann, the experienced Bundesliga defender, had the first touch of a gigantic land mammal. He proceeded to pass the ball between his feet as if it were a hot potato just grilled at the ground. Perhaps he was quite literally just finding his feet after a short summer or else the surface was unkind to him. He's a big lad but I would not be expecting raking 40 yard balls out of defence from him - possibly a good thing anyway. He became much more comfortable as the game progressed and was always looking for the short ball. He was rarely tested defensively and the freak goal (it was drilled in from an acute angle and seem to take Haas by surprise as he deflected it off the post and into his own goal) had nothing to do with him so although he'll be disappointed his defence did not keep a clean sheet, he'll no doubt of enjoyed getting his first game out of the way.
There were over 8,000 police in the city centre on Wednesday for the visit of the American President. Apologies for all the 'key words' - just hoping the NSA pick up on this piece as could do with the extra readership! Union were bombing forward launching wave after wave of attack and made it 3-1 just after the half hour mark with Silvio adding to Terodde's earlier effort. I nearly missed the goal as about 20 coppers went marching by in full kit. Must have been hot but probably a good assignment. Why on earth you need that many police (around 50 in total) is beyond me. I resisted the temptation of taking a photograph of the fat policeman eating a burger with gusto in his van. It's rumoured that Joe Kinnear will sign 'Gusto' next week.
Damir Kreilach was the third debutant and was operating in the centre of midfield. He was largely anonymous which as a defensive midfielder is a good thing. He has a neat touch and plays it simple and was like the fat plod - always hungry - but for the ball rather than greasy meat. Let's hope this occurs at the Alte Försterei as Union try to break down another side coming to sneak a 1-0.
So, what is the state of the Union? I'd say there were a lot of positives judging by this work out. Clearly Martin Dausch will add an attacking option. He'll keep Mattuschka on his toes. The Union stalwart bagged a couple. A stunning 30 yard free-kick, that he placed with power rising high over the wall and nestling in the top corner, was the pick of the 7 goals. His penalty was put away with ease as he wrong footed for the keeper.
With rumours of more additions to the squad this season should be an interesting one. The big challenge for Uwe Neuhaus will be finding a way to accommodate so many attack minded players. The 'we'll score one more than you' style worked at home last year but this mentality was non-existent on the road. Pfertzel and Parensen at full back won't work against better opposition. One wonders if Union are chasing the right targets or with the potential signing of Brandy, simply taking advantage of Duisburg's misfortune and ushering Silvio out of the door. He only has one year left to run on his current deal. It's unlikely that it will be renewed next year.
Whatever happens on the pitch the Unioner will continue to follow their side. The few hundred that made the trip across the city for the very enjoyable opening friendly will have had to get home quickly if they were to have avoided last night's storm. I was in 7th heaven as I jumped in a taxi - just as the Unioner will be if Neuhaus' tactics can be repeated on the opening day for real.
FT. FC Viktoria 1889 Berlin 1:7 FC Union Berlin
First half: Haas – Pfertzel, Eggimann, Schönheim, Parensen – Kreilach – Quiring, Dausch – Zejnullahu - Silvio, Terodde
Second half: Glinker – Kopplin, Puncec, Stuff, Kohlmann – Koch – Köhler, Razeek – Mattuschka - Nemec, Skrzybsk