Watford face their third pre-season friendly tomorrow, as they face 2. Bundesliga side, 1. FC Union Berlin. The Hornets will have the motivation from their last game to hopefully see them emerge as winners against the German team.
In their last outing, Watford won comfortably against Stevenage, as goals from Jerome Sinclair and Etienne Capoue settled the score and gave Walter Mazzarri his first taste of victory as the manager of Watford. However, the Hornets will have to raise their game once more if they are to beat Jens Keller’s in form squad. In their previous game, Schlosserjungs emerged victorious over Udinese, a club linked with Watford through their owner, Gino Pozzo – Pozzo also currently owns the Italian club.
New faces in charge for both teams
The two opponents have something in common with each other, also. Like Walter Mazzarri’s newly appointed role as manager, Jens Keller has recently taken the reins from Andre Hofschneider. Union have had a fairly inconsistent time with their past managers, Hofschneider was only in charge of proceedings on the pitch in the absence of the late Sascha Lewandowski.
Jens Keller is mainly associated with his work at Schalke, in which he worked his way from youth manager to first team head coach. Keller’s time in Gelsenkirchen was cut short, as he was dismissed from his role in 2014, after two years in charge.
The opponents - Union Berlin
Union finished 6th in Germany’s second division, in an inconsistent season. However, the club possesses from great quality in their ranks, players such as; Damir Kreilach, Felix Kroos, Toni Leistner and newly arriving Hosiner.
Like Watford, Union have been beating around the top end of the second division for some time, but unlike the Hornets, they have not featured in the peak division of their respective nation's football organisation since German reunification.
They are a club with a firm bond between club and fans, a passionate fan base made stronger by the sensational backing from the club’s hierarchy – who are also avid supporters of Union’s success as a football team.
The ins and outs so far
A down side for the capital club is the recent loss of their top goal scorer, Bobby Wood. The American international scored 17 goals in his first season at Union Berlin, but unfortunately for Union, they couldn’t keep hold of their striker as he was tempted by a move to the Bundesliga. Wood completed a £3m move to Hamburger SV, as Union introduced former 1. FC Köln striker, Philipp Hosiner after his less than successful loan spell in Cologne from French side, Rennes.
Hosiner, like Watford’s new striker, Sinclair, scored in the previous friendly. Hosiner opened the scoring in Die Eisern’s friendly with Udinese, and Sinclair got his first goal for the Hornets in their previous encounter with Stevenage.
Predicted Union Berlin XI (4-2-3-1): Busk; Trimmel, Pogatetz, Leistner, Parensen; Kroos, Fuerstner; Quiring, Kreilach, Thiel; Hosiner.
It will be an interesting game to follow, as Mazzarri will be able to exercise his squad flexibility in the hunt to find his best fitting eleven before the start of the season.