Urs Fischer takes the reins at Union Berlin
Urs Fischer. | Photo: 1. FC Union Berlin.

1. FC Union Berlin have unveiled former FC Basel coach Urs Fischer as their new boss.

He replaces André Hofschneider, who had been in charge of the team following the surprise sacking of Jens Keller in December.

The 52-year-old has signed a two-year contract with the 2. Bundesliga side, and will face a rebuilding task with several key players leaving the club in the last few days.

Success in Switzerland

Fischer was born in Zürich and has spent much of his career as a player and a manger with FC Zürich. He started and ended his playing days there, with an eight-year spell with FC St. Gallen, and after retirement worked with the club’s youth teams, and as an assistant, before eventually becoming the head coach in 2010.

He was in charge for two years, taking them to second place in what turned out to be his only full season, and eventually he moved on to FC Thun, finishing fifth, sixth and fourth before capturing the attentions of perennial champions Basel.

In his two years he did the minimum expected of him – winning back-to-back Swiss Super League titles – as well as a Swiss Cup victory and runs to the UEFA Champions League group stage and the last-16 of the UEFA Europa League. However he left after guiding them to the double in 2017 and had been out of work since. Basel went without a trophy in 2017-18.

Fischer confident despite a tough mission

The club’s Managing Director for Professional Football, Oliver Ruhnert, said that Fischer “is a seasoned football coach with a wealth of experience at the highest level.” He believes they have found “the right coach” in him due to “his football philosophy, his ideas about the daily engagement with the team and his authentic appearance.”

Fischer meanwhile said he was “both surprised and pleased” to be contacted by the club. He said that “Swiss coaches have already left their mark on German football” and he hopes to follow suit. He added that his new club is “ambitious” and he is hoping “to create a strong and dominant team” over the summer.

His appointment appears to be another sign that the club is determined to reach the Bundesliga, but Fischer will face a tough task. This week the club have lost key player Steven Skrzybski to Schalke 04, whilst Dennis Daube, Stephan Fürstner, Daniel Mesenhöler and Toni Leistner have been released. Kristian Pedersen is also expected to leave for Birmingham City in the coming days.

Quotes via 1. FC Union Berlin.