Urs Fischer led Union Berlin from the second division to the premier class. But after a long negative series, the Swiss now has to go.
Urs Fischer is no longer the coach of 1. FC Union Berlin. After 14 games without a win and slipping to last place in the Bundesliga, the club and coach parted ways on Wednesday after more than five years of mostly very successful cooperation.
Three days after the 0:4 (0:1) in the Bundesliga against league leaders Bayer Leverkusen, the club drew the consequences of the sporting crisis. Union’s U19 coach Marco Grote will initially look after the team as interim coach; the next Bundesliga game is on November 25th against FC Augsburg.
“A very sad moment”
“For me personally and certainly for the entire Union family, this is a very sad moment. It hurts that we have not been able to break the negative trend of the last few weeks. In view of the time we spent together and the successes we have achieved celebrated together, I am grateful and proud. As painful as this separation is, Urs Fischer leaves as a friend who will be welcomed by us with open arms at all times,” said club president Dirk Zingler.
It is the end of an era that was the most successful in the club’s history until the summer and which continually amazed Bundesliga competitors and football fans alike. After five years, which were crowned with entry into the Champions League, the Köpenickers are now suddenly deep in the relegation battle.
“We tried a lot, the team put in a lot, but it didn’t pay off in results. I’m very grateful for the trust that I felt here at all times. Nevertheless, it feels right when a change happens now: “Sometimes a different face, a different way of addressing a team helps to trigger development,” said Urs Fischer.
U19 coach Grote is taking over for the time being
Now Grote should initiate the turnaround. Unusually for the Bundesliga: Marie-Louise Eta is assisted by a woman.
The Berliners haven’t won a competitive game since August. There were still successes for the Champions League starter in the first round of the cup and in the first two Bundesliga games. The team was even top of the table after the second matchday. Then the Köpenickers slipped unchecked.
The 1-1 draw at SSC Napoli last week also did not bring about the hoped-for turnaround. “When you’re playing in a relegation battle, you need a different body language, a different mentality,” said Fischer after the game in Leverkusen, in which his team had no chance.
The Swiss had earned a lot of credit from the club and the surrounding area in recent years. There was no coaching discussion for an unusually long time. Ruhnert had repeatedly supported him. Before the home defeat against Frankfurt at the beginning of November, President Dirk Zingler spoke unequivocally in favor of Fischer in the stadium magazine. The fans and the leading players stuck by him.
A turning point for the Iron Men
The 57-year-old’s departure is a turning point for the Iron Men. In 2018, Fischer came as a former Swiss champion coach to an increasingly ambitious second division team that had had a disappointing season. The Berliners achieved promotion to the Bundesliga for the first time in the first season. It should only be the first step in a rapid upswing.
After staying in the league in 2020, the Berliners first made it into the Conference League and then into the Europa League. Last season, Union led the league table for a longer period of time and sensationally qualified for the premier class in the end. The greatest success in the club’s history.
With his down-to-earth and matter-of-fact manner, Fischer was a perfect fit for the workers’ club from the East Berlin district. He also got more idiosyncratic but highly talented characters like Max Kruse or Sheraldo Becker to put themselves fully into the service of the team.
Without the big stars and due to high fluctuation in the squad, the Swiss was often the face of success, supported by the good cooperation with Ruhnert and Zingler. The club has always mastered the numerous upheavals almost smoothly – until this season.
Big names came to Köpenick before the season with national player Robin Gosens and Italy’s European champion Leonardo Bonucci. But injuries to Rani Khedira and Robin Knoche, an unusually high number of individual mistakes and increasing uncertainty caused the Köpenick team to falter.
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