Nottingham Forest Visits Union Berlin
for Taiwo Awoniyi Farewell Game

England, football, game strategy, Germany

Saturday, 23rd July 2022, kick-off 17.00
Stadion An der Alten Försterei (Capacity 22,012; Field size 109 × 73m)
Attendance: 15,467
FT Result: 1:0 (Siebatcheu 35′ assist. Becker)
Referee: Sven Jablonski (Germany)

Starting 11👍✔

1. FC Union Berlin:
/3/Jaeckel, /23/Gießelmann, /31/Knoche, /33/Heintz;
/28/Trimmel, /8/Khedira, /19/Haberer, /24/Haraguchi;
/27/Becker, /45/Siebatcheu
Manager: Urs Fischer

Nottingham Forest:
/1/Dean Henderson;
/26/Scott McKenna, /3/Steve Cook, /4/Joe Worrall;
/15/Harry Toffolo, /7/Neco Williams;
/8/Jack Colback, /28/Lewis O’Brien;
/20/Brennan Johnson, /9/Taiwo Awoniyi, /17/Alex Mighten
Manager: Steve Cooper

Ending 11✔

FC Union Berlin:
Rönnow, Leite (45), Schäfer (60), Michel (60), Ryerson (60), Seguin (60), Leweling (60), Skarke (60), Kemlein (82), Doekhi (45), Behrens (60)

Nottingham Forest:
/1/Dean Henderson;
/14/Richie Laryea (80), /19/Moussa Niakhaté (45), /4/Worrall;
/6/Löic Mbe Soh (80), /2/Giulian Biancone (80);
/8/Colback, /36/Cafú (60);
/33/Lyle Taylor (80), /?/Oli Hammond (70), /?/Dale Taylor (58)

The weather was very changeable these days in Berlin, due to a perpetual heat wave, but on Saturday match day it was a perfect weather condition for play, mild sunny day. It was also beautiful to be in that stadium amid forest that relates so fantastically to the name of Nottingham Forest. The stadium at the old Forestry in East Berlin, almost nothing can be more of a coincidence.

Nottingham Forest was in its new away gear, just missing Premier League logo on the sleeve, which looks like Brazil. But they didn’t play like Brazil, not in the least.

Group photo 😊

The beginning was difficult for them, even to take the ball out of their half. Somehow they didn’t expect Union to challenge them as deep as their 16m box. NF were also surprised with Union playing low height balls, instead as they would expect rolling on the pitch. In between last defence chain and middle field of NF there was no coordination. As the game was penned as Awoniyi’s farewell game to Union, the play was organized to give Awoniyi as many opportunities in the attack as possible. That was done only through a couple of “rockets” – long passes in the direction of Awoniyi, and he was supposed to make use of those balls in steaming through Union’s defence.
But that didn’t happened as he had such a strong marking by his former teammates (Paul Jaeckel) that he even didn’t manage to shoot once, losing all the direct duels. He basically played ALONE in the attack, as there was no assistance from the Forest teammates.

Both wingers were trying something on their own: Neco Williams (right) and Alex Mighten (left), without success and any usable crosses?!

Around 20min another newcomer, middle-fielder Harry Toffolo tried to solve issues his own way, tough Championship playing style since he came from the rival Huddersfield. His solid shot allegedly hit left bar, but I think it was Union’s goalie Rönnow who dived and bounced the ball off.

35′ GOAL 1:0 mastery of Union players Becker and Siebatcheu
amidst Cook, McKenna, Worall and goalie Hendersson,
1 against 4 – Siebatcheu kicks the ball in the Forest’s net.

Cook, last player, made a careless and imprecise long pass towards McKenna. Becker like an alerted hunter intercepted the ball before passive McKenna could move. Seeing his mistake Cook sprinted diagonally towards the right goalpost and tried hard with acrobatic sliding start to prevent Becker’s pass but (un)fortunately ball bounced back to Becker again and now, Cook out, he dangerously came close to 5m-box of Forest. Second pass and Siebatcheu masterfully kicked the ball in, ahead of slow reflex McKenna. It all lasted 13 seconds, when Siebatcheu and Becker were hugging celebrating.
The American scored on his first appearance for Union. He was a top scorer in the Swiss Super League, scoring 22 goals for Young Boys Bern last season.

Nottingham Forest website reports the same situation like:
“until the 36th minute when Steve Cook’s pass across the backline failed to reach Scott McKenna. He looked to redeem himself with a crunching tackle on Jordan Siebatcheu who had picked up the loose ball, however, it fell to Trimmel who was able to fire a low ball towards the near post and Siebatcheu was on hand to bundle the ball across the line from a yard out.”

“failed to reach Scott McKenna”, “loose ball… fell to Trimmel”, “Siebatcheu was on hand”

Not a word that it was McKenna’s lousy and lazy playing and that Siebatcheu and Becker outplayed them big time👏. BTW, it wasn’t Trimmel but Becker.

Scott McKenna is indispensable in NF defence and even attack with header play due to his height and heavy build, but he should learn something of his teammate Alex Mighten, who is so explosive and alerted.

Neco Williams with number 7 playing as classical right winger made a very good impression. He was agile, tried a lot, but he needs to play with Awoniyi and also Brennan Johnson for building NF attack. Obviously this game showed that newcomers and veterans need to be integrated. Probably that was the sole purpose of the manager Steve Cooper, irrespectively of the opponent – and having no particular strategy against the host team Union.

40′ saw one such successful example of the Forest play (video).
German referee Sven Jablonski was quite relaxed in a sense of a friendly game, so he overlooked one foul for penalty by Jaeckel on Awoniyi, and both he and linesman ignored irregular out by Forest’s Mighten (40′), which led to one of real goal chances for NF.

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