|Full name||1. Fußballclub Union Berlin e. V.|
|Nickname(s)||Die Eisernen (The Iron Ones)|
|Founded||20 January 1966|
(Preceded by FC Olympia Oberschöneweide, founded in 1906)
|Ground||Stadion An der Alten Försterei|
|2019-20||Bundesliga, 11th of 18|
1. Fußballclub Union Berlin e. V., commonly known as 1. FC Union Berlin (German pronunciation: ['?e:.t? f tsen'o:n b'li:n]), is a professional German association football club based in Köpenick, Berlin. The club emerged under the current name in 1966 but its origins can be traced back to 1906, when its predecessor FC Olympia Oberschöneweide was founded. From 2009 until 2019, they competed in the 2. Bundesliga, the second tier of German football. In 2019, after defeating VfB Stuttgart in the relegation play-offs, Union won promotion to the Bundesliga top flight for the first time in the club's history, for the 2019-20 season.
The home ground Stadion An der Alten Försterei (Stadium by the Old Forester's House) is the largest single-purpose football stadium in the German capital. It has been home to Union Berlin and its forerunners since it was opened in 1920. The stadium became internationally famous for concerts and events like the annual Weihnachtssingen (Christmas Carols Event) and the WM-Wohnzimmer (World Cup Living Room) in 2014.
The name 1. FC Union Berlin was used by two football clubs that shared a common origin as FC Olympia Oberschöneweide, founded in 1906 in Oberschöneweide, which by that time was a suburb of Berlin. The side took on the name SC Union 06 Oberschöneweide in 1910. Union was one of Berlin's premier clubs in the interwar period, regularly winning local championships and competing at the national level, including an appearance in the 1923 German championship final which they lost 0-3 to Hamburger SV.
Early on, the team was nicknamed "Schlosserjungs" (English: metalworker-boys) because of their then all blue kit, reminiscent of the typical work clothing worn in the factories of the industrial Oberschöneweide district. The popular cry of Union-supporters - "Eisern Union!" (Iron Union) - also emerged at this time. Since its foundation the club has had a distinct working-class image, in contrast to other local clubs with more middle-class origins, such as Viktoria 89 Berlin, Blau-Weiß 90 Berlin, BSV 92 Berlin or Tennis Borussia Berlin.
In 1933, German football was reorganized under the Third Reich into 16 top flight divisions known as Gauligen. Oberschöneweide' became part of the Gauliga Berlin-Brandenburg where they generally earned middling, unexceptional results. They were relegated in 1935 and returned to first division play in 1936 after only one season's absence. In 1940, the team finished first in Group B of the division and then defeated Blau-Weiss (1-2, 3-0) to win the overall division title. That advanced the club to the national playoffs where they were put out by Rapid Wien in the opening group round (2-3, 1-3). Union resumed its place as an unremarkable side. They were relegated again in 1942 and played the final war-shortened Gauliga season in 1944-45.
After World War II, occupying Allied authorities ordered the dissolution of all organizations in Germany, including sports and football associations. A new sport community called SG Oberschöneweide was formed in late 1945 and it played in the City League organized immediately after the war which had four regional departments. The team did not qualify to the newly created Oberliga Berlin (I) in 1946 after a poor season, but was promoted in 1947, won the division title right away and regained club status as SG Union 06 Oberschöneweide during 1948-49.
The club finished the 1949-50 season in second place in Berlin and qualified to take part in the national final rounds. However, escalating Cold War tensions led Soviet authorities to refuse the team permission to travel to take part. Two Union teams then emerged as most players and coaches fled to the west to form Sport-Club Union 06 Berlin which took part in the scheduled playoff match in Kiel against Hamburger SV, losing 0-7.
The players remaining in the east carried on as SG Union Oberschöneweide while a number of players who had fled to the west to form SC organized a third side called Berliner Ballspiel-Club Südost. The western team was a strong side until the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961, drawing huge crowds to matches in the Olympiastadion. The division of the city led to a change of fortunes for the club which plays today in the lower divisions before meagre crowds.
The eastern branch of the club went through a number of name changes: Union Oberschöneweide (1950), BSG Motor Oberschöneweide (1951), SC Motor Berlin (1955), TSC Oberschöneweide (1957), TSC Berlin (1963) - finally becoming the football club 1. FC Union Berlin in 1966. The club was sponsored by the state controlled national trade union FDGB. They developed a bitter rivalry with BFC Dynamo, which was sponsored by the Stasi. While their arch rivals won 10 titles in a row, Union yo-yoed between the DDR-Oberliga and the DDR-Liga with very little success. Union managed to win the East German Cup in 1968 when they defeated FC Carl Zeiss Jena 2-1 although they lost in their second cup appearance in 1986 to 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig by a score of 1-5.
After German reunification in 1990, the team continued to perform well on the field, but almost collapsed financially. They managed to hang on through some tight times and find sponsorship, but only after winning their division in both 1993 and 1994 and each time being denied a license to play in the 2. Bundesliga due to their financial problems. The club had another close brush with financial failure in 1997.
Union again came close to advancing to 2. Bundesliga in 1998-99 and 1999-2000, but were disappointed. They were finally successful in 2000-01, under Bulgarian manager Georgi Vasilev, easily winning the Regionalliga Nord (III) and moving up a division to become the city's second most popular side. That same year they appeared in the final of the German Cup where they lost 0-2 to FC Schalke 04, and advanced as far as the second round in UEFA Cup before being put out by Bulgarian side PFC Litex Lovech. The club slipped to the Regionalliga Nord (III) in 2004-05 and then to the NOFV-Oberliga Nord (IV) in 2005-06, but returned to third division play after capturing the Oberliga title. In 2008-09, Union became one of the founding clubs of the new 3. Liga, and its inaugural champion, securing first place and promotion to the 2. Bundesliga on 10 May. They remained in the 2nd-tier until the 2018-19 season, when they secured their first ever promotion into the Bundesliga after defeating VfB Stuttgart in the play-offs. The fans invaded the pitch, but no one was harmed.
Union Berlin became the first Bundesliga club from the former East Berlin and the fifth from the former East Germany, after Dynamo Dresden, Hansa Rostock, VfB Leipzig and Energie Cottbus. The team is the sixth to win promotion from the 2. Bundesliga by beating the 16th-placed Bundesliga team in the playoff - since it began in the 1981-82 season, the others being Bayer Uerdingen, 1. FC Saarbrücken, Stuttgarter Kickers, 1. FC Nürnberg and Fortuna Düsseldorf. Ahead of Union Berlin's debut season in the Bundesliga, the club signed Neven Suboti?,Anthony Ujah and Christian Gentner, as well as re-signing Marvin Friedrich, who had scored a decisive goal against Stuttgart in the play-offs in the previous season to secure promotion for the club. The first ever Bundesliga goal was scored by Sebastian Andersson in a 1-1 draw against Augsburg. On 31 August 2019, the club claimed its first ever Bundesliga victory by beating Borussia Dortmund 3-1 in a home game. The team finished the season in 11th place, with Sebastian Andersson scoring 12 goals.
In 1920 SC Union Oberschöneweide (forerunner of today's 1. FC Union Berlin) had to find a new home ground as its former pitch had been built over by developers with residential buildings. The club moved a little further away from the city to the north-western part of the borough of Köpenick. The new stadium was officially opened in August 1920 with a match between Oberschöneweide and the then German champions 1. FC Nürnberg (1-2). The inaugural match in at the Alte Försterei had already been played on 17 March, when Union challenged Viktoria 89 Berlin.
When Union won promotion to the DDR-Oberliga (the top flight in East Germany) in 1966, the stadium soon needed to be expanded. The ground was first expanded in 1970 when the Gegengerade terrace was raised, whilst further extensions to the terracing at both ends in the late 1970s and early 1980s increased the capacity furthermore to 22,500. However, the somewhat spartan facilities at Alte Försterei had quickly begun to show their age and went into a serious decline.
After German reunification, when Union were assigned by the German Football Association to play in the third league, the outdated stadium proved only one of a number of factors that hampered the club's push for promotion to higher leagues.
In the middle of 2008, the club decided to finally modernise the stadium, the Stadion An der Alten Försterei (Old Forester's House). Money was still tight, and so the fans simply built the ground themselves. More than 2,000 Union supporters invested 140,000 working hours to create what is now regarded as the largest football-specific stadium in Berlin. During the redevelopment, Union played at the Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Sportpark. Inside the stadium an array of outside beer kiosks and open air grills serving bratwurst and pork steaks at the back of the stand provide the culinary staples. The official opening on 12 July 2013, was celebrated with a friendly against Scottish Champions Celtic. It holds 22,012 people with 3,617 seats. The rest is terracing.
In 2014, the club came up with the idea of inviting their fans to take their own sofas to the ground for the whole of the World Cup, in order to enjoy the televised matches in the company of fellow supporters. More than 800 sofas were placed on the pitch in rows in front of a big screen. The event was later recognized with the Fan Experience Award at The Stadium Business Summit 2015 in Barcelona.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
The club's reserve team, 1. FC Union Berlin II, most recently played in the tier four Regionalliga Nordost, having won promotion to the league in 2012. Previous to this it spent two seasons in the NOFV-Oberliga Nord. At the end of the 2014-15 season the club withdrew the team from competition.
Union Berlin's women's team was formed in September 1969, becoming the first women's team in Berlin and one of the first in East Germany. The women's team initially competed against Union Berlin's youth teams due to a lack of opponents, playing their first game on 17 January 1970, losing 7-1. In 1971, the team were amalgamated into KWO Berlin's women's team, before KWO merged with Union Berlin in June 1990 following German reunification. The team currently compete in the Regionalliga Nordost.
|List of Union Berlin Managers since 1965|
|UEFA Europa League/UEFA Cup||1||4||1||2||1||4||3||+1|
The nicknames of the club are Eiserne (the Iron Ones) or Eisern Union (Iron Union). These nicknames evolved from the earlier sobriquet Schlosserjungs (metalworker boys), a reference to the blue kit the Union played in, as it was reminiscent of the overalls worn by local workers.
In May 2004, the supporters raised enough money to secure the club's license for fourth-division football through a campaign called 'Bleed for Union'. This catchphrase was not meant metaphorically. One element of the campaign was that fans donated blood to Berlin hospitals and then gave the money they received from the blood bank to their club.
After 2010, Union Berlin became increasingly attractive for new Berliners, even internationals, who were drawn to the atmosphere at the club.
In former GDR times, Union was known for a rivalry with BFC Dynamo which was reputedly affiliated with East Germany's Secret Service (Stasi). Union was patronized by Eastern German Trade Union FDGB. The club played some identificatory role in the unofficial opposition against the authorities of the communist system. Between 1979 and 1988, BFC Dynamo won ten consecutive East German league titles, with popular allegations of sporting misconduct helping to fuel the rivalry, and clashes between both sets of fans occurred. Despite Union Berlin and Hertha BSC making up Berlin's two biggest clubs, a rivalry between the two is much less pronounced. On 27 January 1990, 79 days after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Hertha hosted Union Berlin at the Olympiastadion in a friendly in front of 52,000 spectators. Fans of both club's paid for admission in East and West Germany's respective currencies and sang songs of German reunification as Hertha won 2-1. Over twenty years later, on 17 September 2010, the duo faced each other for a second time, in their first competitive meeting, at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei, drawing 1-1 in the 2. Bundesliga. On 2 November 2019, Union Berlin faced Hertha at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei, in the first clash between the clubs in the top flight of German football. An 87th minute Sebastian Polter penalty secured a 1-0 win for Union, in a game temporarily suspended by referee Deniz Aytekin, following fireworks fired by Hertha fans landing amongst Union Berlin fans, as well as on the playing surface. 1,100 police officers were on duty for the game, with Hertha fans burning Union Berlin shirts, flags and scarves during the game. Following full time, Union Berlin goalkeeper Rafa? Gikiewicz won praise from fans and media alike after ushering Union Berlin ultras from the field of play, following a minor pitch invasion devised to attack Hertha supporters.
More recently, the club has developed a rivalry with RB Leipzig, following the takeover of license and teams from fifth division side SSV Markranstädt financed by Red Bull GmbH and the ascension by Leipzig to the Bundesliga system. In 2011, Union Berlin ran adverts against the investment of the club whilst also cancelling a pre-season friendly with the club. On 21 September 2014, Union Berlin fans staged a silent protest for the first 15 minutes of a 2. Bundesliga home game against RB Leipzig, labelling RB Leipzig a "marketing product pushed by financial interests" with "brainwashed consumers in the stands". Union Berlin won the game 2-1. On 18 August 2019, during Union Berlin's first ever Bundesliga game, at home against RB Leipzig, the club's oldest ultras group, the Wuhlesyndikat, successfully called for a 15-minute silent protest at the start of the club's 2019-20 opener.
The official Union Berlin song is "Eisern Union" by German punk singer Nina Hagen. The composition was recorded in 1998. Four versions were issued on a CD single by G.I.B Music and Distribution GmbH.
The famous supporters' chant 'Eisern Union' (Iron Union) bounces back and forth between the terraces named Waldseite and the Gegengerade, and is followed by mutual acknowledging applause.
Union Berlin is also well known for its Christmas traditions celebrated in their home stadium. In 2003 the yearly Union Weihnachtssingen started as an unofficial gathering to which just 89 fans showed up. In 2013, 27,500 people attended, including players and supporters of other teams from around Germany and Europe. Fans drink Glühwein (mulled wine), wave candles around, light flares and sing a combination of Christmas carols and football chants.
Union fürs Leben (Union for life) is a 2014 documentary film that showcases the supporters passion for 1. FC Union Berlin.
|Gerhard Kalweit||5 June 1990||July 1993|
|Detlef Bracht||17 August 1993||July 1994|
|Horst Kahstein||14 November 1994||September 1997|
|Heiner Bertram||7 October 1997||12 October 2003|
|Jürgen Schlebrowski||13 October 2003||30 June 2004|
|Dirk Zingler||1 July 2004|
1. FC Union Berlin is sponsored by around 300 private and corporate partners.
|Period||Kit manufacturer||Shirt sponsor|
|2008/09||do you football|
The organizational history of 1. FC Union Berlin includes several different clubs and names.
|17 June 1906||FC Olympia Oberschöneweide||Founding of FC Olympia Oberschöneweide.|
|22 July 1906||BTuFC Helgoland, department Oberschöneweide||Joined club BTuFC Helgoland as a third team and department in Oberschöneweide.|
|10 February 1907||BTuFC Union 1892, department Oberschöneweide||Joined club BTuFC Union 1892 as a fourth team and department in Oberschöneweide.|
|20 February 1909||Union Oberschöneweide||Joined the football association Verband Berliner Ballspielvereine (VBB) as Union Oberschöneweide, later SC 06 Union Oberschöneweide.|
|1945||SG Oberschöneweide||SC 06 Union Oberschöneweide was dissolved by the Allied occupation authorities and the club was refounded as SG Oberschöneweide.|
|Decemberer 1948||SG Union Oberschöneweide||The club was re-admitted under its old club name.|
|1951||BSG Motor Oberschöneweide||Joined with enterprise sports community BSG Motor Oberschöneweide. The team colours are changed from the traditional blue and white to today's characteristic red and white.|
|1 February 1955||SC Motor Berlin||The first team was joined with the new sports club SC Motor Berlin as a football department.|
|6 June 1957||TSC Oberschöneweide||SC Motor Berlin was merged with several enterprise sports communities (BSG) to form sports club TSC Oberschöneweide.|
|18 February 1963||TSC Berlin||Merged with other sports clubs to form TSC Berlin.|
|20 January 1966||1. FC Union Berlin||The football department of TSC Berlin was separated from the sports club and reorganized into a football club. Founding of 1. FC Unon Berlin.|