Union Berlin will go into their first Champions League season without two of their six attackers. Two newcomers bring concentrated CL experience with them
Narrative lessons from Robin Gosens and Leonardo Bonucci are starting to get really interesting: the two new arrivals, who have already made it to the final in the top flight – Gosens in 2023 with Inter Milan, Bonucci in 2015 and 2017 with Juventus Turin – will accompany Union Berlin through the first Champions League season in the club’s history from 20 September. On Thursday, the Eisernen announced their squad for Europe’s biggest club competition.
Frederik Rönnow, Alexander Schwolow and Yannic Stein are among the goalkeeper quartet – Jakob Busk is not. In midfield, the long-term injured Andras Schäfer (fractured metatarsal) is missing, in attack Urs Fischer and his coaching team have nominated only four players. The two 22-year-old newcomers Mikkel Kaufmann and Benedict Hollerbach were not included. Clubs who reach the round of 16 can nominate three more players before the start of the knockout round.
Because UEFA guidelines require that at least four players between the ages of 15 and 21 must have trained at the club for at least three years, but Union only provides their three – Yannic Stein, Laurenz Dehl and Aljoscha Kemlein – the Eisernen were only allowed to nominate 24 players instead of 25.
Union will kick off on 20 September with what is probably the biggest highlight of the season: an away match against group favourites Real Madrid at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. FCU’s first home match is against Braga on 3 October, followed by the Italian champions SSC Napoli at the Olympic Stadium (24 October), where the capital city team plays in the top flight. This is followed by the guest games in Naples (8 November) and Braga (29 November), and finally Real come to Berlin (12 December).
The Berlin CL line-up at a glance:
Goal: Frederik Rönnow, Alexander Schwolow, Yannic Stein
Defence: Leonardo Bonucci, Danilho Doekhi, Robin Gosens, Paul Jaeckel, Josip Juranovic, Robin Knoche, Diogo Leite, Jerome Roussillon, Christopher Trimmel
Midfield: Brenden Aaronson, Laurenz Dehl, Janik Haberer, Aljoscha Kemlein, Rani Khedira, Alex Kral, Aissa Laidouni, Lucas Tousart
Attack: Sheraldo Becker, Kevin Behrens, David Fofana, Kevin Volland