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1 Fc Union Berlin Non-playing Staff

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Last Updated: 08 December 2020

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FC Union Berlin may not play in the Bundesliga or even have a particularly successful history, but it is a club you ca help but root for when you hear their history. Berlin may have carven out niche as European epicentre of cool in recent years, but it has a torrid old history. Flatten, rebuilt, carve up and crudely stitch back together its city of ongoing identity crisis. And football isnt immune from upheaval. When you think of the German football heartland, mind drifts to Bavaria and Bayern Munich. For sheer weight of teams, North Rhine-Westphalia also stake claim think Borussia Dortmund, Schalke, Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Monchengladbach, and FC Cologne. In contrast, Germany's capital is a relative backwater when it comes to football. Theres passion, sure. But resources and success have proven elusive. This is due in no small part due to the brutal fallout of the Second World War and subsequent Cold War division. Nowadays, most recognisable Berlin outfit is the blue and white of Hertha, who played in affluent western suburbs at the Olympiastadion built for the 1936 Olympics. Growing in stature in the second tier, however, is FC Union, pride of the East.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

Game day in the forest

Revamp Stadion Der Alten Forsterei hold 22 012, with standing terraces on three sides, creating an intimate yet boisterous atmosphere. You dont see it right away. From Kopenick station, you head for the woods. Dapple sunlight peeks through the canopy, highlighting the procession of supporters in red. The sizzle of sausages wafts through the trees. The thumping of expectant crowd grows nearer. As team is introduced over PA system, each name is greeted with unified bellow of Fuballgott! By fans. This is followed by hearty rendition of Eisern Union, delightfully jarring mishmash of anthem. Meanwhile, mascot knight with the face of Postman Pats evil twin casually twirls spike medieval flail. Among the crowd, man with an oversized basket of pretzels rings bicycle bell like Pavlov to condition hungry spectators. On post-game march back through the woods, theres informal guard of honour form by hunched backs of urinating men. Unsavoury, perhaps, but also a sign of respect for the team, that no one wants to miss a minute of action. Despite the promise of an authentic Berlin experience, this is no playground for plastic fans. It is refuge for purists who prioritise solidarity over silverware. There are no flashy names. Robert Huth was part of the youth setup in 2001 before joining Chelsea. Felix Kroos is currently wearing the captain's armband. That is about as close as it gets to recognisable prestige. The club has shown its commitment to fan experience time and again, and in 2014 created the World Cup Living Room, inviting fans to bring their own sofas to the Alte Forsterei pitch and watch internationals on purpose-build big screen.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

Where to from here?

FC Union Berlin are not your ordinary club. Small team that lived in the shadow of Stasi-sponsor Dynamo Berlin for so many years are now thriving in the German second division with remarkable fans who once saved their club by giving en masse blood transfusions and, in 2008, worked for 140 000 hours to rebuild their stadium. And on Sunday they will carry out what must surely be the best Christmas tradition in the world of football when they meet up at the stadium to sing Christmas carols for 90 minutes. And there's not even a game on. When the tradition started in 2003, 89 people turned up. Last year 17 000 come. The level of commitment from fans is extraordinary, and the club are far, far away from multibillionaire-own clubs such as Manchester City and Chelsea. And yet they could be playing in the Bundesliga next season. They enter winter break seventh in second Bundesliga. Unification has not been kind to clubs from the former GDR. Several clubs that used to be so successful never found a way to make it in the new world of free market and capitalism. A few years back, there was not even a club from East in the Bundesliga. That is why so much hope is attached to Union. The club's economy is healthy and their league position is at an all-time high. But it wasn't always like that. Defender Rolf Weber played 206 league games for Union in the first and second GDR league between 1970 and 1981. When I ask him to explain what is so special about the club, he answer: we lost more games than we won, but the fans never let US down. The atmosphere is always amazing. In fact, unions have a bigger track record of economic crises than winning trophies. And fans are always there to help. In 2004, the club urgently needed about £1. 5m to avoid bankruptcy. Supporters then organise a campaign named Bleed for Union where fans give blood and forward reimbursement to Union Berlin. The close relationship between the club and fans is well document. The president, Dirk Zingler, is a supporter who has a big understanding of what fans think and what they want. In an interview with football magazine 11Freunde he was asked what he thought of fans' criticism of police's conduct at an away game in Frankfurt. No one has to tell me what is going on there, he say. I was one of 1 500 fans there. In 2008, when Union had to modernise their stadium, Stadion der Alten Forsterei, Zingler quickly established that the club would not be able to afford it without great contribution from fans. No problem. With help from almost 2 400 volunteers, the stadium was rebuilt in 300 days. Together they work an extraordinary 140 000 hours without being paid and Union now has a modern stadium, which still has 80% standing. Also, clubs are quite allergic to transfer fees.

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* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

Bundesliga News

FC Union Berlin were seen as a welcome addition to the 2019 / 20 Bundesliga, This was mainly attributed to the much-herald atmosphere created by their loyal fans and the prospect of a top-flight Berlin derby. Little was expected of Union from a footballing perspective, with relegation widely predict. However, they perform admirably on the pitch. Even the most optimistic Union supporters could not have anticipated an 11 place finish with memorable victories over Borussia Dortmund, Borussia Monchengladbach and city rivals Hertha Berlin along the way. The real challenge for Urs Fischer is to maintain this over-achievement. Union have made some astute signings over the summer to try and further improve their squad, but they will no longer be surprise package after earning the respect of other Bundesliga teams who will have greater awareness of their style of play. It may be unusual for a team's key player to be a 33 year-old right back, but Christopher Trimmel is indispensable to the way that Union Berlin play. The team are heavily reliant on set pieces as the source of goals and Trimmel provides accurate delivery from both corners and free kicks, usually with striker Sebastian Andersson as his target. The Austrian international contributed a vital 11 assists in the Bundesliga last season. Union also benefited from Trimmel's leadership qualities with Fischer designating him as captain for the last two seasons. He has been the mainstay in the side since his arrival from Rapid Wien in 2014. Trimmel is vital as both a player on the pitch and as a figurehead in the dressing room. The return of Max Kruse to Germany is a welcome sight for Bundesliga fans and represents an impressive coup by Union. He had in the past been a key man in Werder Bremens side, who sorely missed their enigmatic forward last season and, without coincidence, finished in 16 place. Now it is Union who will benefit from Kruses talents after his acrimonious departure from Fenerbahce. At 32, Kruse still has plenty to offer, being able to both score and create goals. His link-up play between midfield and attack may be of benefit in particular for Union Berlin, as his creativity should give die Eisernen a different dimension to their play. The main challenge for Fischer will be how best to fit him into the side alongside main goalscorer Andersson. As previously alluded to, unions ' real strength comes from their ability to score from set pieces. Making the most of crosses from corners and free kicks with aerial prowess of players such as Andersson, they netted 15 times last season from dead ball situations. Kopenick's side also find strength in playing at Stadion der Alten Forsterei, where they have a particularly strong defensive record. Only conceding 20 goals, Union collected 27 points in their own stadium and boasted the eighth-best home record in the league. Unions set piece prowess may ultimately become their downfall. Relying so heavily on this scoring method makes side seem slightly one-dimensional.

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* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

Checkered history

In a team that is very much unit, it is difficult to pick out one star performer. Sebastian Andersson finished as top scorer with 12 goals, while Felix Kroos carry big name in midfield, but the performances of goalkeeper Rafal Gikiewicz were certainly headline-grabbing. As well as pulling off key saves in Unions notoriously tight games, he also played his part at other end and was the only goalkeeper in Bundesliga 2 to record a goal and assist in 2018 / 19-both providing injury-time equalisers for a team that finished just a point ahead of Hamburg in fourth.

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* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

Pride, solidarity, commitment

People are proud of their history in the East of Berlin. During GDR times, Union was considered to be an anti-Stasi club, refuge for dissenters. That makes Die Eisernen antithesis to Dynamo Berlin, other big club in the East of the city. Union were underdogs. That was the case before the Second World War in the shadow of big neighbors Hertha Berlin and has continued till today. History has brought an enormous sense of solidarity within the club. The union is a workers club. A lot of fans, but also several players, usually work in factories and industrial areas in the district of Kopenick. Stadion der Alten Forsterei, rebuilt with the help of fans in 2008 / 2009, has a special atmosphere. The home team seldom if ever get booed. As demonstrated by campaigns such as fans bringing photos of deceased relatives to the stadium for the first Bundesliga home game, traditional Christmas carol singing and enormous commitment to the local community: Union is a special club.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

Current state of play

German third-division football club FC Union Berlin clinched early promotion to the second division of the Bundesliga on Saturday, with a convincing 2-0 victory over Jahn Regensburg three games before the end of the season. Iron men-as they are popularly know-have gained notoriety over the past 11 months as their unique fans have been training their Old Stadium into a modern Soccer Arena. This is the most unique experience of my career, Sylvia Weisheit told DW Radio. Weisheit, who has been a Die-hard Union Berlin fan for the past three decades, is manager of the Stadium construction project. Fans spend their free time and holidays working at construction site. They are totally committed to the community, and any company would be glad to have such workers. A middle-age blonde is one of only about six to 10 professional builders on site. The rest of 60 to 80 workers turning up each morning at 7 am are Union supporters. Since construction of the new Stadium began last June, around 1 600 volunteers have put in an estimated 90 000 hours of work. They have saved the club two million euros from overall construction costs of 15 million euros. The German Soccer Association had threatend to close clubs at Old Forestry Stadium, which dates back to the 1920s. DFB offcials say it no longer meets the security requirements of professional soccer in Germany. Michael-or Kibi as he liked to be know-say DFB's decision was a test of Union supporters ' unique fan culture. Describing the club as a big family bound together by more than just football, he say: Union is a social event. Weve get the spirit of a neighborhood club where everyone sticks together. The stadium construction project was proof, he say, that it is possible to combine commercial soccer with preserving the club's century-Old tradition. FC Union Berlin was founded in 1906 by metalworkers in the industrial district of Koepenick in the east of the city. Union supporters ' rapturous chant Eisern Union-meaning iron Union-first echoed through Old Forestry Stadium in the 1920s. After World War Two, Berlin was divided and Union Berlin played in the leagues of then Communist East Germany. Union Berlin enjoys cult status as a club of non-conformists and of all East Berliners opposing regime. Their eternal rivals in the city were BFC Dynamo, club run by the dreaded Stasi secret police. They had a lot of money and they had the best players, recall Thommy Thiele, Union fan since he was 13 years old. We hat BFC Dynamo, we hat secret service, we hat Berlin Wall, we were in opposition to the state, he told DW Radio. That is why in the 1980s there were over 20 000 people at FC Union Stadium every match and only 5 000 people at BFC Dynamo. After German unification in 1990, FC Union Berlin experienced difficult economic times in professional soccer. Club frequently hover on the brink of insolvency.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

'Against the establishment'

In 1906, group of young footballers and friends of Excelsior FC came together to form FC Olympia behind school on Today's Plonzeile, around four kilometres from Stadion der Alte Forsterei. The original Club colours were black and yellow. But after only a short time, Club was disband. Soon afterwards, bunch of close friends found Lichtenberger SC as the third club in a region which was divide. It was not sustainable for all three clubs to exist, so members of Olympia, Exelcisor and Lichtenberger joined forces on 17 June 1906 at Grokopf restaurant on Luisenstrasse to form Olympia Oberschoneweide. About a month later, club was connected with BTU FC Helgoland 1897, youth Club nearby. From July 22 1906, it was renamed Klub BT und FC Helgoland / Abteilung Oberschoneweide. On February 10 1907, representatives of BT and FC Union-German Champions of 1905-agree to merge two clubs. The result of these discussions with blue-whites from the south of Berlin is formation as BT and FC Union 92 / Division Oberschoneweide, troop take part as IV team at Spielbetrieb. At the beginning of 1909, team from the parent Club, on February 20, VBB-Verband Brandenburgischer Ballspielvereine-take over the new Club. To thank mother Union Union 1892 colors blue and white are maintain, in new Association name word Union is take: Union 06 Oberschoneweide. Meanwhile, old playing grounds, which sit on the banks of the River Spree, were given away to become industrial facilities. The expansion of industrial suburb Oberschoneweide forced the Club to find a new home on expanded Wattstrasse in Schoneweide. This was the club's fixed home ground for decade until 1920. Today, small colony of garden allotments are on site. In the 20s, club houses used by miners were located on today's Fritz-Kirsch-Zeile, at the corner of Wattstrasse. Union achieved considerable success in the League, winning consecutive promotions in 1910 / 11 and 1911 / 12 to reach first Division. Second-place finish was followed up with a League win in the first Division, which saw Club promoted to VBB-Verbandsliga, highest tier of the pre-Bundesligs pyramid in the region. Union finished second in 1916 / 17, but three years later the Club was crowned Champions of the East region. The top team in Berlin lost 3-2 to Sportfreunden Breslau in the quarterfinals of the German Championship play-off system. With new League changes on the horizon, Union Oberschoneweide's third-place finish was enough to qualify for VBB-Oberliga Further expansion of industrial plants and population growth in Oberschoneweide forced Union to relocate from Wattstrasse and look for a new Stadium. It was found in Sadowa-Today called Wuhlheide-near entrance to Kopenick, close to royal hunting grounds at the old forest warden's office. On March 7 1920, facility was officially opened with a League game against Viktoria 89.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

Sources

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

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