1. FC Union Berlin

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1. FC Union Berlin
Club crest of 1. FC Union Berlin
Basic data
Surname 1. Football Club Union Berlin e. V.
Seat Berlin - Koepenick
founding January 20, 1966 (predecessor club 1906)
Colours Red and white
Members 36,990 (June 30, 2020)
president Dirk Zingler
Website fc-union-berlin.de
First soccer team
Head coach Urs Fischer
Venue Stadium An der Alten Försterei
Places 22,012
league Bundesliga
2019/20 11th place
Game of 1. FC Union Berlin in the stadium An der Alten Försterei

The 1st football club Union Berlin e. V. , or 1. FC Union Berlin for short, or just Union Berlin , is a football club from the Berlin district of Köpenick in the Treptow-Köpenick district . It was founded in 1966 and is based on SC Union Oberschöneweide , which was active in the first half of the 20th century and celebrated its greatest success with the German runner-up in 1923 . 1. FC Union Berlin and its predecessor clubs have been playing in the An der Alten Försterei stadium since 1920 .

With 36,990 members (as of 2020), Union is one of the fifteen sports clubs in Germany with the largest number of members .

The club's sporting successes include winning the FDGB Cup in 1968 and reaching the 2001 DFB Cup final and thus qualifying for the 2001/02 UEFA Cup . The first team had played continuously in the 2nd Bundesliga for ten years before they were promoted to the 1st Bundesliga for the first time via relegation in the 2018/19 season and were able to maintain their class in the following season.

1. FC Union enjoys cult status beyond the football scene and the city limits . The battle cry of the fans, like the title of the club anthem sung by Nina Hagen , is Eisern Union .


1906 to 1966: The predecessor clubs

1906–1920: foundation and relocation

Coat of arms of
Union 92 Berlin

The first predecessor club of today's 1. FC Union Berlin was founded on June 17, 1906 as FC Olympia Oberschöneweide through a merger of three smaller, local clubs ( Frisch Auf , Prussia and Vorwärts ) in what was then the Berlin suburb of Oberschöneweide . Since the team initially consisted almost entirely of students, they joined the BTuFC Helgoland 1897 as a youth team just under a month later . Due to the sporting failure of Helgoland 97, the Oberschöneweider decided to switch again six months later and tied themselves to the German champions of 1905 - the BTuFC Union 1892 . There the team played for two years as the fourth team and achieved their first successes in the 1907/08 season by winning the championship in the lowest class of the Association of Berlin Ball Game Clubs (VBB; the then leading football association in Berlin and Brandenburg ). In February 1909 the team broke away from the BTuFC in order to be able to stand on their own two feet. Out of friendship and thanks, the players took over both the name, the club was now called Union Oberschöneweide (later followed by an SC as a prefix), and the club colors blue and white from Union 92.

In the 1909/10 season the Oberschöneweider competed for the first time as an independent club in the VBB and from 1914 - after three promotions in five years - played in the top class Berlin and Brandenburg, although at this time the VBB merged with other regional associations and so on more competition arose. In 1917 Union was runner-up in the new association league of the Association of Brandenburg Ball Game Clubs . However, these sporting successes were overshadowed by the political events around the First World War , which also left their mark on football and made regular games only possible to a limited extent. Around 60 percent of the club's members at the time were called up for military service, and only one in five returned from the war.

The Unioners played and trained on a sports field in Oberschöneweider Wattstrasse for almost ten years until they moved to the Sadowa sports complex - today's stadium An der Alten Försterei  - in Wuhlheide , where they are still located today. The reigning German champions 1. FC Nürnberg came to the official opening ceremony on August 7, 1920 .

1920–1945: runner-up and relegation

Coat of arms of
SC Union Oberschöneweide

In 1920 Union became Berlin champions for the first time and was allowed to take part in the final round of the German championship . There you lost in the quarterfinals to the United Breslauer Sportfreunde with 2: 3. Three years later the club was again Berlin champion and after victories over Arminia Bielefeld and SpVgg Fürth ( one of the strongest teams in the German Reich in the 1920s ) reached the championship final . This was lost 3-0 to Hamburger SV in Berlin's Grunewald Stadium in front of 64,000 spectators (a record for this stadium) .

German stadium in Berlin.
There the
SC Union Oberschöneweide was
German runner-up (1923).

After that, "Union-Ob." - as the club was called by its supporters - was able to achieve the runner-up in Berlin and participation in the final of the Berlin Cup in 1926 as further successes, but was financially better positioned due to the competition Clubs like Hertha BSC or Tennis Borussia Berlin are not in the top group. Important players such as B. Otto Martwig or Karl Schulz left the club, and Union slipped into mid-table. From this time comes the cheering call of the Union fans, still known today, "Iron Union". This encouragement is said to have sounded for the first time in a game against Hertha BSC, when a draw against the superior opponent threatened to tip over in favor of Hertha. The origin of this exclamation can be traced back to the term “ locksmith boys ”, because that is how the players were called because of their blue playing clothes and their predominantly working class background.

With the transfer of government power in Germany to the NSDAP and the subsequent transformation of democracy into a dictatorship in 1933 , league and match operations in German football were greatly changed. Among other things, the more than 30 regional highest leagues with around 600 clubs became 16  Gauligen with a strength of 160 teams, so that a concentration of performance took place in the respective Gaulig. In the newly created Gauliga Berlin-Brandenburg Unions gradual sporting decline found its continuation, and in the season 1934/35 the "locksmith boys" got down. In the following year, the rise was successful, but Union remained mediocre until the beginning of the Second World War .

With the beginning of the war, as between 1914 and 1918, football became a minor matter, and the game operations and the clubs were severely affected by the political situation. Again, many players had to go to the front and some did not return home. During this time Union reached the final round of the German championship again as Berlin champion (1940) , but was eliminated in the intermediate round against the top team Rapid Vienna . Two years later they were relegated again and only returned to the first division in 1944. The following season became meaningless and no longer ended due to the advance of the Allies towards the end of the war.

1945–1950: post-war period and division

Coat of arms of
SG Oberschöneweide 1945–1948

Since all sports clubs had indirectly become National Socialist sub-organizations during the time of the “ Third Reich ”, they were temporarily banned by the occupying powers after the end of the war so that they could under no circumstances be abused again as “nurseries of military virtue”. In addition, the establishment of new clubs was not permitted in any sector of the city of Berlin; instead, municipal sports were introduced (until 1948), which meant, among other things, that the old names could not be used until then. This is how numerous municipal sports groups (SG) emerged in Berlin, such as SG Gesundbrunnen (formerly Hertha BSC and SV Norden-Nordwest), SG Charlottenburg (formerly Tennis Borussia) or SG Oberschöneweide as the de facto successor to Unions . In the first year only players from their own city district were allowed to participate; however, this provision was relaxed in 1946.

Coat of arms of the
SG Union Oberschöneweide

The Oberschöneweider initially did not make the sporting connection and missed the qualification for the newly created single-track Berlin City League in 1946 . In the 1946/47 season, the team was able to celebrate promotion to the city league and also surprisingly win the Berlin Cup, with several top division clubs being thrown out of the race during the tournament. In the following season the upward trend of the team continued, and the Berlin championship was won and the Berlin Cup was defended. In the subsequent finals , FC St. Pauli proved too strong in the quarter-finals; In front of 70,000 spectators in the Berlin Olympic Stadium, they lost 7-0.

From 1948 the Berlin clubs were allowed to use their old club names again. Since the Soviet occupying power wanted to dissolve the bourgeois roots of the former clubs, Union Oberschöneweide remained a “politically correct” sports community (SG Union Oberschöneweide) . This did not affect the success of the club, because it remained competitive in Berlin, although many players had already migrated to the financially more lucrative West Berlin .

Shortly afterwards, however, the club's worst crisis began. The German Sports Committee (DS) as the sports umbrella organization of the Soviet zone of occupation did not accept the planned introduction of the contract player statute for the city league by the West Berlin Football Association, which was newly founded in 1949, and withdrew the East Berliners from the city league for the following season. The Oberschöneweider then played the remaining home games of the season in the Moabiter Poststadion in protest . Although the team trained by the former Hertha player Johannes Sobek qualified as second in the table for the final round of the German championship , the political leadership forbade them to travel to Kiel to play against Hamburger SV . Then almost the entire team (including top performers such as Paul Salisch or Heinz Rogge ) finally moved to West Berlin and then competed against HSV. About two weeks later, the players re-established SC Union 06 Berlin in the western part of Berlin.

1950–1965: Crash and name change

Game scene between
Motor Berlin and
Chemie Grünau-Schmöckwitz (1957)

The members who remained in the GDR were severely weakened by the loss of almost the entire first team. At first only in the new second highest league , but then assigned to the GDR Oberliga , in 1950/51 they just missed out on relegation. The fact that Union was subsequently able to remain in the league was not due to the team's own athletic strength, but rather to the decision of the DS that two East Berlin teams had to remain in the league. In addition to the Wuhlheidern, VfB Pankow also benefited from it.

However, this decision meant that both teams were integrated into the company sports associations (BSG) of sponsoring companies in order to guarantee the restructuring started by the DS “on a production basis”. Union was incorporated into the BSG of VEB Transformatorenwerk Karl Liebknecht ( TRO for short ) and was now called BSG Motor Oberschöneweide . The traditional colors were also changed, and the blue and white of the predecessor (and the “brother association” in the west) became the red and white that is characteristic of today. A few tried to continue the old club with the name Union Oberschöneweide, but had little success, because after only two years in the third-class district league (where they merged with SVgg Grünau in the 1952/53 season ), the team rose continued into the Berlin amateur classes and finally dissolved completely in 1972.

The sporting situation of the Union did not improve as a motor Oberschöneweide, and in the 1952/53 season the club was relegated to the second-rate GDR league . Two years later, he was relegated to the 2nd GDR League . Shortly before, the team had been integrated into SC Motor Berlin as the football department . Again only two years later (1957) Motor Berlin was merged with the various BSGs of other sponsoring companies to form TSC Oberschöneweide . This merged in 1963 with the SC Rotation Berlin and the SC Einheit Berlin to form TSC Berlin . The reasons for the frequent name and structure changes were primarily of a sport-political nature and were by no means unusual in the GDR at that time. The TSC Berlin was created by a decision of the district management of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) as a civilian counterpart to the sports clubs (SC) of the People's Police ( Dynamo Sports Association ) and the National People's Army ( Army Sports Association Forward ).

To the chagrin of the East Berlin Union , such changes led to a loss of identity among the fans, so that until the Berlin Wall was built in 1961, many supporters of the West Berlin Union made a pilgrimage to the Poststadion and paid less attention to the club in Köpenick. The lack of fan support, the loss of personnel from the flight and the delegation of hopeful talents to the top East Berlin teams of the time, ASK Vorwärts Berlin (e.g. Günther Wirth , Horst Assmy and Lothar Meyer ) and SC Dynamo Berlin , the team could do for a long time did not compensate and played in the third division until 1962 (for comparison: Union 06 played in the top tier of the Berlin championship until 1957 and only gradually disappeared from the top leagues in 1962).

Only then did times improve for the team with the promotion back to the GDR league. In the following years, however, the promotion to the league was missed. In the 1963/64 season , even a 15-1 win on the last match day against SC Frankfurt was not enough to overtake SC Neubrandenburg . Only with the commitment of Werner Schwenzfeier was the team to celebrate great success again a little later.

Since 1966: 1. FC Union Berlin

1966–1971: re-establishment and cup victory

In the 1965/66 season it was so far and the return to the league was successful. With a lead of six points, the Köpenicker were surprisingly clear first in the league . Before this sporting event, however, there were again serious sport-political changes for the club. In a reorganization of GDR football , performance centers in the form of football clubs were to be set up. Surprisingly, the second-class team from Oberschöneweide was also taken into account, although two performance centers had already been set up in East Berlin at BFC Dynamo (successor to SC Dynamo) and FC Vorwärts Berlin (successor to ASK Vorwärts). In addition, there should originally only be a maximum of one football club per GDR district .

The fact that the team from Köpenick was still taken into account was thanks to the chairman of the Federal Association of the Free German Trade Union Federation (FDGB), Herbert Warnke . This demanded that a civil football club be set up for the Berlin working people, and it was successful. On January 20, 1966 the association was named “1. FC Union Berlin “newly founded.

Union Berlin
celebrates winning the FDGB Cup (1968)

Union started the first league season with good performances and surprisingly finished sixth. This put you in front of the other two East Berlin clubs - as was the case with the number of spectators, which has since increased again. In addition, the spectators were able to experience international visiting teams in East Berlin in the preparation for the 1967 season, as 1. FC Union competed in the 1967 Intertoto Cup .

A year later the Unionern achieved the greatest success in their GDR history by winning the FDGB Cup . In the final, the high favorite FC Carl Zeiss Jena (reigning GDR champion at the time ) was defeated, which is why the winning team around players like "Jimmy" Hoge , "Ate" Wruck or "Mäcki" Lauck still has hero status among the fans to this day .

However, due to the events of the Prague Spring , the Unioners were deprived of their qualification for the European Cup Winners' Cup in the following season , as the DFV withdrew its teams in protest against the re-draw of all European Cup games with the separation of Eastern Bloc and Western Bloc countries . Instead, the 1. FC Union failed to relegate and was relegated to the league . But the team recovered, managed to get promoted again immediately and finally reached the best league ranking of all time with fifth place in the 1970/71 season.

Women's soccer

From 1969 to 1971 there was a women's soccer team at 1. FC Union.

1971–1980: Relegation complex

From 1971 onwards there were only two major football clubs in East Berlin: 1. FC Union Berlin and BFC Dynamo. FC Vorwärts Berlin was relocated to Frankfurt (Oder) , which meant that the districts available to the football clubs and their affiliated training centers in Berlin and Brandenburg were redistributed. From these training centers, the clubs, which had been selected as performance centers in 1966, recruited their young players and the reallocation did not go satisfactorily for the responsible unions. If East Berlin was previously divided into three, the third that became available now went to BFC Dynamo. Since the districts in Brandenburg were redistributed and Union had to hand over the Potsdam district to Vorwärts, the club now only had six training centers (for comparison: the BFC had 38).

loses the relegation home game against HFC Chemie 1: 2 (1974)

Not least because of this weakening, Union rose again from the league and also lost another big crowd favorite in Reinhard Lauck (Hoge had to end his career with the "Iron" in 1970). From 1973 the 1. FC Union entered the newly structured GDR league, which no longer had two, but five seasons, from which the two promoted teams were determined by a relegation round . For the club, this mode became a "relegation complex ", as the team failed twice in a row as a relay winner in the promotion round (and often had bad luck later).

The year 1976 brought not only promotion to Union, but also a new coach in the form of Heinz Werner in Wuhlheide. At the beginning of the 1976/77 season, the team was able to cause a surprise straight away and beat BFC Dynamo 1-0 on the first matchday in front of 45,000 spectators in the World Youth Stadium . Union also won the second leg (also in the World Youth Stadium) 1-0. Union was able to keep the class, and especially the two victories against the BFC Dynamo, hated by many football fans in the GDR as a “Stasi club”, gave Union an image as a cult club and a crowd puller in the 1970s. In the following season, FCU had an average of 17,308 spectators per home game, the second largest average behind Dynamo Dresden . The club fought against relegation every year, but due to the image of the " underdog " and the disapproval from the GDR leadership, the club was a reservoir for many who wanted to vent their displeasure against the system. Therefore, the association was under special observation of the officials.

But despite the large number of spectators, at the end of the 1979/80 season they were relegated to the GDR league. In the derbies against the BFC, the team could not record any further successes, and in some cases the team was literally dismantled with results like 0: 6 or 0: 5. In the FDGB Cup, the "Iron" even lost 1: 8.

1980–1989: elevator crew

After a total of fourth relegation from the league, the Köpenicker started back in the league in 1980 and failed for the third time in the relegation; It was not until 1981/82 that the ascent was certain. Nevertheless, coach Heinz Werner was replaced by Harry Nippert after this season . The resignation of the popular coach was very controversial among the fans, as Nippert previously u. a. also worked at BFC Dynamo and at the same time, with Norbert Woick as president, another former BFC member took on a management position. For many Union fans, these personal details seemed like an attempt to control the club “from above”. Both Nippert and Woick only lasted one year at Union. After all, despite the internal disputes in 1982/83, relegation could be avoided (although not a single away point was scored).

Team photo 1983/84

In the following season, the club rose again from the second division. There was a literal "relegation final" between Union and BSG Chemie Leipzig : Union had defeated their direct relegation competitor Chemie 2-0 on the last day of the season and together with the Leipzigers occupied the last non-relegation place with equal points and goals. Therefore, two playoffs had to decide on relegation. After a 1: 1 in Berlin and a 1: 2 in Leipzig, the Berliners were relegated.

After the immediate resurgence, Union played very successfully in 1985/86 and took a UEFA Cup place up to the third last match day . In the end, the team finished seventh and, with Ralf Sträßer, was the top scorer in the league (he scored 14 goals). The biggest surprise came in the FDGB Cup, where Union unexpectedly reached the final and defeated opponents such as 1. FC Magdeburg and Dynamo Dresden on the way . In the final, however, 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig was much stronger and the Berliners were clearly defeated 1: 5.

Another highlight for the fans was the Intertoto Cup during the 1986 summer break, in which the Unioners could also compete with Western European opponents. After games against Bayer 05 Uerdingen , Lausanne Sport and Standard Liège , the team from Berlin won its Intertoto group.

In the next season, the club fought again against relegation and reached eleventh place at the end of the season. The relegation battle was narrower in the following season, when Union only saved itself on the last match day in stoppage time through the necessary winning goal against FC Karl-Marx-Stadt on a non-relegation place. In the 1988/89 season, the team was relegated for the sixth and last time from the GDR Oberliga, but shortly afterwards football became a minor matter in the GDR with the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989 .

1989–1998: license revocation and impending bankruptcy

The turning point began for Union with a friendly match in front of 51,270 spectators in the Olympic Stadium, because at the first duel between the two traditional clubs in 28 years, Blau-Weiß (Hertha) and Rot-Weiß (Union) celebrated themselves together and turned the event into something big party in the stands. At this time Union was in the still existing GDR league with only one victory behind leaders Vorwärts Frankfurt in second place and still had prospects of promotion. However, this was missed at the end of the season, which turned out to be a problem a year later when it came to the unification of the West and East German leagues.

The German Football Association (DFB) granted the former GDR clubs only eight places in its two professional leagues - two in the Bundesliga and six in the second division  - which was mainly due to the lack of confidence in the profitability of the Eastern clubs as they had problems adapting to professional football . For the distribution of two second division places, a qualifying round was formed with participants from the GDR Oberliga and -Liga. The 1. FC Union was able to qualify for a first place in the league in the 1990/91 season , but failed in its relegation group and entered the NOFV Oberliga (then still the third division) in the following season . During this phase, many players left for the West, and the audience numbers plummeted.

In 1992, the promotion was again missed in the relegation, which is why the club was increasingly considered "inaccessible". At the beginning of the following season, Frank Pagelsdorf took a seat in the Unioner coaching bench, and with him the dream of the second division seemed to come true for many fans. At the end of the season, everyone in Köpenick believed they had reached their goal when the 1. FC Union Berlin won the all-important relegation game with a 1-0 home win against Bischofswerda FV 08 in front of 15,000 spectators. Only later did it emerge that a bank guarantee had been forged in order to meet the DFB's license requirements, whereupon the DFB refused to grant the license for the second division. To this day it has not been clarified who in the association had forged the guarantee.

Also in the 1993/94 season 1. FC Union Berlin was refused the license for the second division by the DFB at the end of the season due to a lack of profitability, as the mountain of debt was almost 2.56 million euros. Winning the Berlin State Cup , now known as the Paul Rusch Cup , for the first time in 46 years and participating in the German amateur soccer championship was only a small consolation . The 1. FC Union Berlin stayed in the third division and had to sell many good and therefore expensive players ( Martin Pieckenhagen to Tennis Borussia and later Marko Rehmer and Sergej Barbarez to Hansa Rostock ) in order not to ruin themselves completely financially. Coach Pagelsdorf also said goodbye to Rostock - and only a little later rose to the Bundesliga with many ex-Unioners.

Nina Hagen during the rehearsal for the hymn Eisern Union (1998)

The next few years were a struggle for economic survival for the Unioners. From a sporting point of view, the team was in the upper third of the table in the Regionalliga Nordost (the new third division), but at the same time the debts continued to rise due to the "legacy" of expensive player contracts. In the 1994/95 season, the club was refused the license for the professional leagues for the third time in a row (although the second division was missed this time also in terms of sport) and nevertheless the presidium and the management of the club continued to deal with some highly paid contracts with players and players Coaches. The 1995/96 season, in which Union changed coaches three times, was indicative of the management's performance. Coach Hans Meyer was dismissed because of disputes with management when the team was in second place after eight wins and two draws.

In February 1997, the association seemed to be ruined and the press read that bankruptcy was already inevitable. The fans of the FCU organized themselves and marched through the Brandenburg Gate at a large Rettet Union demonstration (around 3,000 fans were present) - successfully, because the sporting goods manufacturer Nike signed a sponsorship agreement with Union for five years, and so the bankruptcy was for the time being still averted. After all, the Köpenickers also made a few sporting headlines and reached the final of the Paul Rusch Cup , in which they lost against the Reinickendorfer Füchse .

The downward trend initially continued, and players and coaches left Union because they were either exposed to unpunctual salary payments or no longer saw a sporting future. The Presidium was at odds due to the financial situation (around 2.56 million euros in debt, including around 256,000 euros in short-term liabilities). Only the team played in the regional league above, and the fans continued to try to save their club by collecting in public (with the "Five Marks for Union" campaign) or by boycotting the game against TeBe in the Mommsenstadion Donate ticket prizes to the association. It was not until January 1998 that Michael Kölmel and his company Kinowelt brought financial rescue. The Union fans were also able to welcome a prominent newcomer: the well-known musician Nina Hagen sang a new club anthem for the club.

1998–2008: "Sniff the professional and European cup air"

The FCU started the 1998/99 season for the first time in years without major existential worries, but ended up only in sixth place. In the 1999/2000 season things went better with the new coach Georgi Wassilew , because the "General" led the team to the championship in the Regionalliga and thus in the relegation to the second division promotion against the champions of the Regionalliga Nord. But the club failed again, this time against VfL Osnabrück on penalties (the first and second legs ended 1: 1). In the following amateur championship for the remaining promotion place, the Wuhlheider needed a draw in the decisive game against LR Ahlen to be promoted, but they also lost this 1: 2.

Despite this further setback, the following 2000/01 season should be one of the most successful in the club's history. In the reorganized Regionalliga Nord, they easily reached first place and were promoted to the 2nd Bundesliga for the first time. At the same time, the team made headlines in the DFB Cup when they reached the 2001 DFB Cup final after a 6: 4 victory on penalties in the semi-finals over Borussia Mönchengladbach . It was only there that they lost 2-0 to Bundesliga runners-up FC Schalke 04 .

However, since FC Schalke 04 were eligible to start as vice-champions for the Champions League , Union was allowed to play in the European Cup for the first time in the following season and qualified as the first and so far only German third division team for the UEFA Cup . There the players reached the second round in the 2001/02 season by a 1: 1 and a 3: 0 win against the Finnish representative Haka Valkeakoski , where the team was eliminated against the Bulgarian team Litex Lovetsch .

The annual Christmas singing has been taking place in the stadium since 2003 (recording from 2011)

The club played a total of three years in the second division. In the first year the team achieved a surprisingly good sixth place and spoiled FSV Mainz's already believed rise on the last day of the match with a 3-1 home win . The club also ended the 2002/03 season in a single-digit position (the club finished ninth), but the season had an inglorious climax for many fans when the team lost 7-0 at 1. FC Köln on October 7, 2002 , which is why Vasilev had to take his hat off as a trainer a week later. His successor was Mirko Votava , but he was also replaced by a new trainer in the 2003/04 season because Union had slipped to the bottom of the table. The new coach was Aleksandar Ristić , who became famous at Fortuna Düsseldorf , but could no longer prevent 1. FC Union from being relegated to the Regionalliga Nord as seventeenth in the table.

One of the most successful epochs in the history of 1. FC Union Berlin was followed by the deepest fall in 2005, when the second division relegated failed to keep the class in the regional league and landed in the major league . Four different trainers couldn't stop the crash. The club was also worried about the finances again, as the liquidity reserves of 1.46 million euros required by the DFB for the season's license could again only be raised through donations (including the appeal for donations "Bluten für Union"). 1. FC Union Berlin pressed not only the short-term liabilities of around 720,000 euros but also long-term debts (around 15 million euros) with the former rescuer Michael Kölmel.

The 2006/07 season team at Köpenick Town Hall with the Berlin State Cup

However, the club was able to regenerate again in the following season and secured promotion to the regional league under coach Christian Schreier, who was brought in by league competitor MSV Neuruppin . The highlights of the season were the two city derbies against old rivals BFC Dynamo: In the first leg in Köpenick, Union defeated the opponent 8-0 in front of 14,020 spectators, which meant a record result against Dynamo. The second leg in the Sportforum Hohenschönhausen , boycotted by the majority of the Union fans, was canceled at the score of 1: 1 after supporters of the BFC Dynamo had overcome the barriers to the inside of the stadium and tried to gain access to the guest block where the Union fans were accommodated , To provide. In retrospect, the game was rated 2-0 for 1. FC Union.

In the 2006/07 season the class was held in the Regionalliga, with positive and negative series alternating in the course of the season: After a strong start to the season and the brief lead in the table, a phase of weakness followed. The team improved again in the second half of the season, but coach Schreier surprisingly announced his departure at the end of the season for personal reasons. In the following years, the team lost several games in a row and was briefly in danger of relegation. In the Berlin State Cup, however, the team celebrated consistently successes and won it 7-0 in the final against the neighboring league club Köpenicker SC .

In the 2007/08 season, the team qualified for the new 3rd professional league under Schreier's successor Uwe Neuhaus . The team, which was strengthened by the former Bundesliga players Michael Bemben , Marco Gebhardt and Macchambes Younga-Mouhani , got off to a false start. In the course of the season, however, the performances stabilized, so that Union secured the third division qualification early and in the end even had a chance of promotion to the second division. However, this was missed after two defeats in the last two home games. The title defense in the Berlin Cup was missed when the team surprisingly lost to the fifth division VfB Hermsdorf on penalties in the semifinals . As a result, the chance to qualify for the DFB-Pokal the following season was missed and thus the opportunity to meet a similarly attractive opponent like Eintracht Frankfurt , against whom Union lost 4-1 in the first round of the DFB-Pokal.

2008–2019: Third division championship follows second division decade

After years of negotiations and planning, the necessary renovation work on the An der Alten Försterei stadium finally began before the 2008/09 season. Due to the construction work, the club played its season home games in the Jahnsportpark. Despite this alternative venue - unloved by the fans and partly boycotted - the team played a successful season, conquered the top of the table in the third division on matchday 21 and defended it until the end of the season. Already three game days before the end of the season, the team secured the championship and the associated promotion to the second Bundesliga. The team also won the Berlin State Cup. In the final of the competition, in which the club mostly competed with reserve players, the "Iron" won just 2: 1 against their old rivals Tennis Borussia Berlin .

Renovation work in the stadium An der Alten Försterei (2009)

In the summer break of 2009, after a construction period of 13 months, the renovated stadium at An der Alten Försterei was inaugurated in a test match against Hertha BSC (final result 3: 5). At the start of the season, the second division climber met cup defender Werder Bremen in the first round of the DFB Cup . In front of a sold-out house, 1. FC Union had no chance against their higher-class opponents and lost 5-0. In return, the team started very successfully in the league and consistently occupied one of the top five places in the table until matchday 14. After a period of weakness in the second third of the season, the club temporarily slipped to thirteenth place in the table, but was able to secure relegation on the penultimate matchday and was twelfth in the table at the end.

The short partnership with International Sport Promotion (ISP), which as main sponsor was supposed to bring the club two million euros annually until 2014, caused controversy due to its opaque business model. On August 24th, 2009, the association separated from the ISP, as the ISP would have made false statements when the contract was concluded. An important reason is said to have been the past of the chairman of the supervisory board, Jürgen Czilinsky, who worked at the Ministry for State Security . Czilinsky resigned from his post after this information was disclosed.

Berlin bear with FCU jersey

The new season began with a Union defeat. In the DFB Cup, the Berliners were defeated by Halleschen FC, who played two classes lower, in the Leipzig Central Stadium with 0: 1. The team also started weakly in the league and only got two points from the first four games. Union then stabilized and secured relegation on matchday 32. The season ended in 11th place.

As in the previous year, Union started the 2011/12 season weak again . After a 5-6 penalty shootout against Rot-Weiss Essen , the team was eliminated again in the first round of the DFB Cup against a lower-class opponent. However, this was followed by a successful further development, so that the club finished the season in 7th place in the table. The sale of the Alte Försterei share caused a sensation this season : In order to increase the stadium operating company's share capital by five million euros for the construction of a new main stand , the members and sponsors were given the opportunity to subscribe for a maximum of ten shares each (from a total of 10,000 securities). By the end of the subscription period on December 31, 2011, 5473 shares, or 43.88 percent of the stadium operator's share capital, had been transferred to free float. Along with the campaign, the number of members rose rapidly during this period and reached the 10,000 mark for the first time.

In the summer break of 2012, the construction of the main grandstand began at the Alte Försterei, in which the association contributed two million euros.

After a strong start in the 2013/14 season , but a weak second half of the season, 1. FC Union Berlin announced on April 26, 2014 the separation from coach Uwe Neuhaus at the end of the season. Neuhaus was officially adopted on May 11th. Union finished the season in 9th place. Neuhaus' successor was Norbert Düwel .

At the beginning of the 2015/16 season, Union lost 2-1 in the DFB Cup to fourth division club FC Viktoria Köln . In the league, a draw against Fortuna Düsseldorf , a defeat against SV Sandhausen and further draws against 1. FC Kaiserslautern , TSV 1860 Munich and RB Leipzig showed a relatively weak start to the season. On August 31, the sporting collaboration with trainer Norbert Düwel was finally ended. Düwel was replaced as the new head coach on September 2, 2015 by Sascha Lewandowski . However, as Lewandowski had to give up his post after about 6 months for health reasons, assistant coach André Hofschneider took over this role on an interim basis. Despite the circumstances, Union played a very successful second half of 2015/16 and ended the season in 6th place in the table.

In the 2016/17 season , Jens Keller , who last worked for FC Schalke 04, and Henrik Pedersen from Denmark took over. As fourth in the table, the team narrowly missed the promotion places in the end. In the 2017/18 season , Jens Keller was released after the 16th match day. At this time Union was only 3 points behind the relegation place and was fourth in the table. He was succeeded by André Hofschneider. The change of coach did not bring the desired success, only in the 6th game under Hofschneider the first victory was achieved. The further course of the season was not particularly successful either, and sometimes you slid dangerously close to the relegation zone. It was not until the 33rd match day, with a 3-1 win over VfL Bochum, that they could save themselves. The season ended in 8th place in the table. After this season, the contract with Hofschneider was terminated. On June 1, 2018, Urs Fischer was introduced as the new head coach.

In the 2018/19 season , 1. FC Union was the longest undefeated team in German professional football with 17 consecutive games without defeat. On May 19, 2019, the season ended 2-2 at VfL Bochum as third in the table. As a result, the Eiserne achieved the best final placement in their second division history and qualified for the relegation games to the Bundesliga against VfB Stuttgart . In the event of a victory, the direct promotion to the first division would have been successful due to the simultaneous defeat of SC Paderborn .

In the relegation 1. FC Union Berlin managed a 2-2 in Stuttgart on May 23, 2019. The 0-0 home game on May 27, 2019 after the 2-2 first leg in Stuttgart on May 23, meant the club's first promotion to the Bundesliga due to the away goals rule .

Since 2019: Bundesliga

In the 2019/20 season , 1. FC Union Berlin is playing first -class for the first time since reunification and became the 56th club in the Bundesliga . On the second match day of this season, striker Sebastian Andersson scored the first Bundesliga goal in the history of 1. FC Union Berlin in a 1-1 draw against FC Augsburg . On the third day of the match a home win against the previous leaders Borussia Dortmund was achieved . On November 23, Union won at home against leaders Borussia Mönchengladbach . On June 16, 2020, the 32nd matchday of the season, the team was able to secure relegation with a 1-0 home win against SC Paderborn 07 .


Anniversary celebration of Union Berlin (2016)

The 1st football club Union Berlin e. V. has a diverse fan and member base that has grown significantly in recent years. While there were 4,209 official members in 2006, by June 30, 2020 there were already 36,990 registered members.

The club has been the pure football club with the largest number of members in German-speaking countries since 2019 and has been one of the fifteen sports clubs in Germany with the largest number of members since 2020 .

For the 2015/16 season, 1. FC Union Berlin reported income of 31.237 million euros and expenses of 30.846 million euros, so that a surplus of 0.39 million euros was achieved. Around 12.4 million euros were spent on the DFL licensed game department in the 2016/17 season.


The former Alte Försterei was the association's long-term office.

Until 1990 the chairmen of the association were called club chairmen.

president Start of office End of office
Gerhard Kalweit Jun 5, 1990 Jul. 1993
Detlef Bracht Aug 17, 1993 Jul. 1994
Horst Kahstein Nov 14, 1994 Sep 1997
Heiner Bertram Oct 7, 1997 Oct 12, 2003
Jürgen Schlebrowski Oct 13, 2003 Jun 30, 2004
Dirk Zingler since Jul. 1, 2004


According to the club, the sponsorship income of 1. FC Union Berlin in the 2014/15 season amounted to 8.5 million euros. The number of sponsors rose from 30 in 2004 to 384 in 2016.

As of the 2020/21 season, adidas will be supplying all 1. FC Union Berlin teams for the next 5 seasons. This means that the first team, alongside FC Bayern Munich and Hamburger SV, will be one of three DFL professional teams that are contractually sponsored by the German sporting goods manufacturer.

A Union armory in Berlin
season Outfitter Main sponsor Media partner
2011/12 uhlsport kfzteile24 BZ / Flux FM
2012/13 uhlsport f.becker BZ / Flux FM
2013/14 uhlsport f.becker BZ / Flux FM
2014/15 uhlsport kfzteile24 BZ / Flux FM
2015/16 Macron kfzteile24 Berliner Kurier / Radio Eins
2016/17 Macron Layenberger Berliner Kurier / Radio Eins
2017/18 Macron Layenberger Berliner Kurier / Radio Eins
2018/19 Macron Layenberger Berliner Kurier / Radio Eins
2019/20 Macron Aroundtown SA Berliner Kurier / Radio Eins
2020/21 adidas Aroundtown SA Berliner Kurier / Radio Eins

Name history

The club and name history
year Name history
Jun 17, 1906 Foundation of FC Olympia Oberschöneweide
Jul 22, 1906 Connection to the BTuFC Helgoland as 3rd team, Dept. Oberschöneweide
Feb 10, 1907 Joined the BTuFC Union in 1892 as 4th team, Dept. Oberschöneweide
Feb 20, 1909 Inclusion in the VBB as Union Oberschöneweide or SC Union Oberschöneweide
1945 Dissolution by the Allied Control Council and re-establishment as SG Oberschöneweide
Dec 1948 Re-approval as SG Union Oberschöneweide
0Jun 9, 1950 1st team flees to West Berlin and founds the SC Union 06 Berlin and the BBC Südost
1951 Connection of the Oberliga team to BSG Motor Oberschöneweide
0Feb. 1, 1955 Connection to the SC Motor Berlin
0Jun 6, 1957 Merger with other BSGs to form TSC Oberschöneweide
Feb. 18, 1963 Merger with other sports clubs to form TSC Berlin
Jan. 20, 1966 Foundation of 1. FC Union Berlin

Foundation, endowment

Mascot "Knight Club"

On October 6th, 2016 the foundation “UNION VEREINT. Shoulder to shoulder ”was launched. Social engagement is to be expanded under the motto “The strong help the weak”. The foundation's work focuses, among other things, on Union football camps, project days and weeks for children and young people as well as campaigns for tolerance and integration, against racism, the promotion of health and environmental protection.

Club mascot

The mascot of 1. FC Union Berlin is called Ritter Keule and is “a truly iron knight with a courageous heart”. Ritter Keule symbolically embodies the history of the "Iron".


National successes

In 2001 Union Berlin was able to reach the final in the DFB Cup.

1. FC Union Berlin:

SC Union Oberschöneweide:

International success

1. FC Union Berlin:

Seasonal balance sheets


Stadium An der Alten Försterei , Berlin's largest pure football stadium

Before Union got the first permanent venue in Wattstrasse at the north-western end of Oberschöneweide in 1910, the team had played on the current AEG site and on the NAG site . The club played in Wattstrasse for ten years before the team moved to the southeast of Oberschöneweide in 1920. The stadium An der Alten Försterei was built at the entrance to Köpenick .

The stadium, initially seating 10,000, remained relatively unchanged until the 1970s. Afterwards, extensive expansion and modernization measures were carried out, which increased the capacity to 22,500 seats and added an announcement tower and an electronic display board to the system (which, however, no longer exists today). Players, officials and fans of the club were involved in the renovation work free of charge. In 2000 there were renewed building measures, the result of which was a covered grandstand. The audience capacity was downgraded to 18,100 due to security requirements imposed by the DFB .

season Average audience
2009/10 14,176
2011/12 16,123
2013/14 19,889
2015/16 19,723
2017/18 21,537

In 2007 the club announced plans to modernize the stadium. The standing stands should be renovated and roofed over, the main grandstand completely rebuilt and equipped with boxes. In addition, turf heating and video wall should be installed in the stadium and 450 parking spaces outside the arena. The costs for the planned venue were estimated at around 17 million euros. After negotiations between 1. FC Union Berlin and the State of Berlin, construction work began in 2008 and a leasehold contract for the stadium was concluded.

The first conversion phase (including installation of the underfloor heating and roofing of the standing stands) was completed in 2009. The second construction phase, which mainly included the new construction of the main grandstand, was completed in 2013. Part of the financing was ensured by the fact that the Union club members were able to acquire shares in Stadionbetriebs AG . Since the 2015/16 season, the audience capacity has been 22,012 (of which 18,200 are standing and 3,812 seats). After 2019 an expansion to at least 37,000 spectators should take place.

Since 2003, the 1. FC Union Berlin Christmas singing has been taking place every year on December 23rd in the stadium .


Squad of the 2020/21 season

As of August 16, 2020

No. Nat. player Born on the In the team since Last club Contract until
01 GermanyGermany Andreas Luthe March 10, 1987 August 3, 2020 FC Augsburg
12 DenmarkDenmark Jakob Busk September 12, 1993 15th January 2016 FC Copenhagen
35 GermanyGermany Lennart Moser December 6, 1999 2010 Grünauer BC 2021
03 SerbiaSerbia Neven Subotić December 10, 1988 4th July 2019 AS Saint-Etienne 2021
04th GermanyGermany Nico Schlotterbeck December 1, 1999 July 31, 2020 Sc freiburg 2021
05 GermanyGermany Marvin Friedrich December 13, 1995 January 27, 2018 FC Augsburg 2022
06th NorwayNorway Julian Ryerson November 17, 1997 July 31, 2018 Viking Stavanger 2021
19th GermanyGermany Florian Huebner March 1, 1991 1st July 2018 Hannover 96
23 GermanyGermany Niko Gießelmann September 26, 1991 July 8, 2020 Fortuna Dusseldorf
25th GermanyGermany Christopher Lenz September 22, 1994 1st July 2018 Holstein Kiel 2021
28 AustriaAustria Christopher Trimmel (C)Captain of the crew February 24, 1987 July 1, 2014 SK Rapid Vienna 2021
31 GermanyGermany Robin Knoche May 22, 1992 4th August 2020 VfL Wolfsburg
07th GeorgiaGeorgia Akaki Gogia January 18, 1992 July 1, 2017 Dynamo Dresden 2021
08th GermanyGermany Joshua Mees April 15, 1996 1st July 2018 TSG 1899 Hoffenheim 2021
21st GermanyGermany Grischa Prömel January 9, 1995 July 1, 2017 Karlsruher SC 2022
23 GermanyGermany Felix Kroos March 12, 1991 January 28, 2016 Werder Bremen 2020
26th GermanyGermany Lars Dietz January 7, 1997 January 3, 2018 Borussia Dortmund II 2021
30th GermanyGermany Robert Andrich September 22, 1994 1st July 2019 1. FC Heidenheim 2022
33 GermanyGermany Sebastian Griesbeck 3rd October 1990 July 8, 2020 1. FC Heidenheim
34 GermanyGermany Christian Gentner August 14, 1985 5th July 2019 VfB Stuttgart 2021
37 GermanyGermany Berkan Taz December 19, 1998 August 27, 2016 FC Hertha 03 Zehlendorf 2021
09 SwedenSweden Sebastian Andersson July 15, 1991 1st July 2018 1. FC Kaiserslautern
10 GermanyGermany Max Kruse March 19, 1988 August 7, 2020 Fenerbahçe Istanbul
11 NigeriaNigeria Anthony Ujah October 14, 1990 1st July 2019 1. FSV Mainz 05 2022
15th GermanyGermany Marius Bülter March 29, 1993 4th July 2019 1. FC Magdeburg 2021
18th JapanJapan Keita Endo November 22, 1997 July 25, 2020 Yokohama F. Marinos 2021
27 NetherlandsNetherlands Sheraldo Becker February 9, 1995 1st July 2019 ADO The Hague 2023
32 DenmarkDenmark Marcus Ingvartsen 4th January 1996 1st July 2019 KRC Genk 2022
36 GermanyGermany Cedric Teuchert January 14, 1997 August 1, 2020 FC Schalke 04
Trainer / supervisor / functional team
CT SwitzerlandSwitzerland Urs Fischer February 20, 1966 1st July 2018 FC Basel 2020
Co GermanyGermany Sebastian Bönig August 26, 1981 July, 1st 2013 BFC Victoria 1889
Co AustriaAustria Markus Hoffmann June 26, 1972 1st July 2018 FC St. Gallen 2020
TT AustriaAustria Michael Gspurning May 2, 1981 3rd August 2016 FC Schalke 04 2019
AT GermanyGermany Martin Kruger November 26, 1979 July 1, 2016 Alba Berlin ( basketball ) 2019
RT GermanyGermany Christopher Busse November 16, 1989 16th July 2018 Energy Cottbus
PT GermanyGermany Maximilian Perschk April 25, 1990 1st July 2018
PT GermanyGermany Frank Placzek June 18, 1965 July 1, 2003
ML GermanyGermany Susanne Kopplin January 24, 1963 June 23, 2016

Transfers of the 2020/21 season

As of August 16, 2020

time player Transferring club
Summer break Lars Dietz FC Viktoria Köln (loanee)
Keita Endo Yokohama F. Marinos (Loan)
Niko Gießelmann Fortuna Dusseldorf
Sebastian Griesbeck 1. FC Heidenheim
Robin Knoche VfL Wolfsburg
Max Kruse Fenerbahçe Istanbul
Andreas Luthe FC Augsburg
Lennart Moser Cercle Bruges (Lender)
Nico Schlotterbeck SC Freiburg (loan)
Berkan Taz Energie Cottbus (loanee)
Cedric Teuchert FC Schalke 04
time player Receiving club
Summer break Suleiman Abdullahi Eintracht Braunschweig (loan)
Laurenz Dehl Hallescher FC (loan)
Florian Flecker Würzburger Kickers
Rafał Gikiewicz FC Augsburg
Julius Kade Dynamo Dresden
Yunus Malli VfL Wolfsburg (loanee)
Lennard Maloney Borussia Dortmund II
Moritz Nicolas Borussia Mönchengladbach (loan ended early)
Maurice Sacrifice Man Arcones End of contract; destination unknown
Leo Oppermann Hamburger SV II
Michael Parensen End of career
Sebastian Polter Fortuna Sittard
Nicolai Rapp SV Darmstadt 98 (loan)
Ken Reichel VfL Osnabrück
Keven Schlotterbeck SC Freiburg (loanee)
Manuel Schmiedebach End of contract; destination unknown
*Due to the postponement of the end of the 2019/20 season and the start of the 2020/21 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the DFB, together with the DFL and in consultation with FIFA, adjusted the summer transfer period (generally July 1 to August 31). The transfer window was on July 1 (changeover period I.1) and is open from July 15 to October 5, 2020 (changeover period I.2). The first, one-day phase was intended in particular for the registration of contracts that had already been concluded from July 1st.



Playername Playing time
from / to
(goals) 1
Achievements / successes
Steffen Baumgart 2002-2004 68 (22) As a seasoned former first division professional, the man from Mecklenburg was hired in southeast Berlin and also became the team captain of the Eiserne . To this day he lives with his family near the Union Stadium.
Sergei Barbarez 1993-1996 103 (59) The Bosnian used Berlin as the start of his great sporting career (including national player & Bundesliga top scorer in 2001) and was a dangerous midfielder. In 1996 he was voted “Unioner of the Year”, a sympathy award given annually by fans.
Christian Beeck 1987-1995 2 051 0(7) The Rathenower began his football career at the club at eight years and managed in 1995 from there the leap into professional football. He returned in 2005 as a team manager and was then sports director until 2011.
Sebastian Bönig 2005-2009 134 0(9) Born in Bavaria , he joined 1. FC Union Berlin in 2005 and remained loyal to the club despite being relegated to the league. With him, the club rose again to the second Bundesliga. Bönig was the team captain and a crowd favorite with the fans. When he left at the age of 27, he ended his football career on the grounds that "What should come after Union?"
Uwe Borchardt 1975-1987 199 (69) In his debut season for Union, the striker made it to the top scorer in the GDR league and thus to “Unioner of the Year”. He was an integral part of the team in the 1980s and reached the FDGB Cup final with it in 1986.
Marco Gebhardt 2007-2010 96 (9) The native of Saxony-Anhalt came to Union in the regional league as a former first division professional. There he developed into a top performer and qualified with Union only for the 3rd league and a year later for the 2nd Bundesliga, where the "noble technician" was appointed team captain.
Jan Glinker 2001-2014 243 (0) The rather quiet East Berliner was certainly one of the club's most formative goalkeepers. He was in the service of the association for 13 years and was voted “Unioner of the Year” four times.
Jens Härtel 1993-2000 2 180 (28) Härtel was a long-time team captain and regular player in the defense of 1. FC Union and in 1999 “Unioner of the Year”.
Karsten Heine 1969–1986 2 213 (21) "Kuller" Heine was a successful offensive player with the Iron for many years and was an integral part of the Oberliga team.
Lutz Hendel 1968–1993 2 422 (27) At the age of ten, "Meter" - as it was called by Union fans - began in the youth of the FCU and only left the club 25 years later as a record player and two-time "Unioner of the Year" (1990 and 1992).
Günter Hoge 1964-1970 089 0(5) The Hoge, just called "Jimmy" by the fans, became Union's first GDR national player . The dribbling technician and cup hero from 1968 was headstrong and often clashed with the association officials. An incident (he got drunk with one of his ex-coaches during his team vacation and sang the Deutschlandlied ) led to the premature end of his career. Today "Jimmy" is an honorary member of the association.
Oskar Kosche 1974-1999 2 204 0(1) Today's managing director of the club was the first Union goalkeeper to score a competitive goal before Rafał Gikiewicz . In 1997 and 1998 he was voted “Unioner of the Year” twice in a row and after the end of his playing career he was first a junior manager and then also a member of the executive committee at Union.
Reinhard Lauck 1968-1973 145 (23) “Mäcki” made his debut for Union in the 1968 cup final and immediately won the title. The popular player left the club in 1973 (after a move was suggested to him so as not to endanger his national team career) to rival BFC Dynamo and celebrated great success there ( 1976 Olympic champion , World Cup participant , GDR champion).
Wolfgang Matthies 1971–1988 2 253 0(0) The goalkeeper was arguably the greatest Union idol of his time. With his saves he was a support for the team in the relegation battle. The fans also adored him for his idiosyncratic excursions to play on the field. “Potti”, his nickname, was voted “Unioner of the Year” four times and in 2006 “Most Valuable Unioner of All Time”.
Torsten Mattuschka 2005-2014 272 (60) "Tusche" was the team's captain and top performer for many years and made a significant contribution to promotion to the 2nd Bundesliga. He was also seen as a figure of identification, which is why the Union fans invented the so-called "Torsten Mattuschka" song and played it with him every time he scored.
Steffen Menze 1998-2003 166 (40) Menze was the team's captain for many years and led it to the DFB Cup final and the second Bundesliga in 2001. Due to the similarity of the surname to the pop singer Achim Mentzel , the "Unioner of the Year" 2002 was also called "Achim".
Tom Persich 1994-2006 2 321 (16) The defender was a great support for the Unioner team for over a decade. The "Keiler" (his nickname) remained loyal to her even after the two-time relegation to the fourth-class league.
Herbert Raddatz 1933-1948 k. A. Raddatz was one of Union Oberschöneweide's most outstanding players in the 1930s and 1940s. He completed a total of 1,600 games for the club at Union and was also referred to by fans as the "King of the Wuhlheide".
Marko Rehmer 1981-1996 106 (19) The future German national player emerged from the youth division of 1. FC Union and made his debut in the first team at the age of 18. After five years he went to Rostock and started his successful Bundesliga career there.
Olaf Seier 1983-1991 226 (49) One of the big crowd favorites of the Unioners, who was "pushed" by rival BFC Dynamo in the 1980s, was Olaf Seier. Often called “Leo” because of his “lion's mane”, he dominated the midfield between 1983 and 1991 and made it “Unioner of the Year” in 1984 and 1988.
Joachim Sigusch 1969-1981 300 (63) The attacking player and team captain was a very popular player and towards the end of his career in 1980 he was the first player to be voted "Unioner of the Year" by fans. Because of his shooting strength, he was also referred to as a "bull".
Ralf Sträßer 1984-1987 097 (49) Sträßer was the only Union player who could ever be top scorer in the GDR Oberliga.
Daniel Teixeira 2001-2007 2 078 (67) "Texas" became a great idol for the fans and was the first player to have an organized farewell game. The goalscorer shot Union to two promotions and stood with the team in the DFB Cup final.
Wolfgang Wruck 1959-1974 209 (12) "Ate" Wruck scored the first goal in the GDR league for 1. FC Union in 1966 and later became a GDR national player, FDGB cup winner and captain of the iron .
1 only includes games for 1. FC Union Berlin (since the club was founded in 1966)
2 with interruptions


Amateur teams

Second team

Union emergency vehicle

The traces of the second men's team can be traced back to the 1950s. From 1956 to 1976 she was consistently in the district league East Berlin - the first fourth, later third highest division in GDR football - and was able to win the East Berlin championship title in 1966, 1969 and 1975 . The associated promotion to the GDR league was denied to the Union amateurs: in 1966 reserve teams were not yet eligible for promotion; In 1969 and 1975 the first men's team played in the GDR league. Between 1976 and 1983 the reserve teams of the upper division were spun off into their own junior upper league , so that Union II switched back and forth between the regional league and junior upper league in the following years, depending on the division of the first team. So she played 1976 to 1980 and 1982/83 in the junior league. After the dissolution of the junior league in 1983, Union II returned to the district league. There she stayed with the exception of the 1989/90 season to 1991. The team's successes were victories in the East Berlin FDGB district cup in 1970, 1974 and 1985.

After the sporting reunification of Berlin, the reserve was incorporated into the Oberliga reserve squadron in 1991 and initially joined the Berlin state league in the 1993/94 season . Due to the club's license withdrawal for the second division, they started in Berlin's lowest division - the district league  C. It was not until 1995 that they were promoted to the district league B. Within the next six years, "Union Zwee" (as the team called the team will) four times until they finally landed in the Association League Berlin . In 2003 they were relegated to the regional league. After rising again in 2004, Union II was mainly placed in the middle of the table of the Association League. After taking third place in the class renamed “Berlin-Liga” in 2009, the great success followed in 2010 with winning the Berlin championship and the associated promotion to the Oberliga Nordost . At the end of the 2011/12 season Union II rose to the re-established Regionalliga Nordost (4th division) and thus achieved the greatest success since 1990. At the end of the 2014/15 season, the second team was dissolved. Most of the home games in the 2014/15 season were played in the Hans-Zoschke Stadium .


Robert Huth

In 2005, the A-Juniors of 1. FC Union Berlin managed to qualify for the highest A-Youth League in Germany, the U-19 Bundesliga (North / Northeast relay). After the following season , the team had to relegate again. Two years later, I made another jump from the Regionalliga Nordost to the Bundesliga. This time the Unioners held the league three times before they were relegated at the end of the 2011/12 season . In the 2016/17 season , the A-Juniors were promoted to the U19 Bundesliga again.

The B-Juniors (U-17) made it into the B-Youth Regionalliga Nordost (the second highest league in German B-Junior football) in 2003 . In the 2008/09 season she achieved promotion to the U-17 Bundesliga , after the 2009/10 season the team rose again. Since their promotion in 2015, the U17s of 1. FC Union Berlin have played in the U-17 Bundesliga (as of 2020).

In the 1990s, Union Berlin served primarily as a springboard for its own talents into paid football. So came z. B. Christian Beeck , Nico Patschinski , Martin Pieckenhagen or Marko Rehmer via Union in the first Bundesliga. One of the most famous junior players is the future German national player Robert Huth . He played for the Berliners from 1998 to 2001.


1. FC Union Berlin has been running a women's football department again since 1990. One of the greatest successes of the first women's team was the promotion to the second Bundesliga in 2007, 2014 and 2016. In 2006 and 2007, the women of Union won the Berlin Cup.

Fan culture

Berlin fans during a choreography

For decades, the soccer audience of Union Berlin's predecessor clubs was traditionally shaped by workers, which was mainly due to the fact that the later Berlin district of Oberschöneweide had developed into an industrial conurbation from the end of the 19th century.

As a GDR soccer performance center, Union enjoyed sympathy among Berliners after 1970, who were critical of everyday life and state socialism . In addition to the workers, there were punks and skinheads in the stadium. Popular chants at the Alte Försterei were “Better to be a loser than a stupid Stasi pig.” During free kicks, the opposing defense sometimes echoed “The wall must go”. From the mid-1980s, the phenomenon of hooliganism also spread in the GDR. Conflicts with opposing fans and the state power were the result.

After reunification in 1990, despite all the differences, the heterogeneously composed fan scene was characterized by a strong sense of togetherness and after 2000 it became known for numerous initiatives at home and abroad. In 2003 there were 50 fan clubs officially registered by the association. In 2007, 1. FC Union Berlin included a passage in the house rules that affirmed everyone's basic right to non-discrimination. In addition, the association organized a concert in its own stadium in 2009 with the title "Bringing Nazis Out of Time" in order to position itself openly for tolerance.

Since around 2010, 1. FC Union Berlin has been increasingly becoming an attraction for new Berlin football fans. The following also includes international fans from the Anglo-Saxon region and Scandinavia. In the 2019/20 season, Union Berlin was one of the ten clubs with the most away drivers at away games in the 1st Bundesliga. Many visiting Unioner guest fans, so-called exiles, came from all over Germany.

The largest internet platform for fans of the club is the Union Forum (www.unionforum.de). Union supporters are nicknamed Eiserne or Eisern Union .


1. FC Union Berlin fan boat on the Spree

At the end of the 1990s, when the club seemed to be financially on the brink of ruin, it was the Berlin Union fans who made potential donors aware of the club's situation through various campaigns and who also made their own contribution through donations. For example, a demonstration was organized through the Brandenburg Gate under the motto “Save Union!” , In which around 3,000 supporters took part. The commitment of the fans even went so far that the long-time fan Andreas Freese was elected to the club's supervisory board in 1997 .

In the run-up to the 2004/05 season, the fans proved to be an important support for the club. For the license to play in the regional league, Union needed a liquidity reserve of 1.46 million euros, which the club could not raise on its own. The fans then founded the Bluten für Union initiative . The campaign called on fans to donate blood in order to donate the money they received to the club. In addition to this, other campaigns took place in 2004 to raise money, including T-shirt sales, rock concerts and charity games against FC St. Pauli and FC Bayern Munich. In addition to the fans, companies and other football clubs (or their fan groups) helped save the club through donations. In addition, numerous celebrities such as Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit supported the campaign. At the end of the deadline set by the DFB, the campaign proved to be a success, because the club received the game permit.

Since 2003 fan groups have organized dragon boat races every year . Participants in the races are fans as well as players from the professional team and club officials. The competitions take place on the regatta course in Grünau.

Rivalries and friendships

C. Trimmel is giving away his jersey to young fans

The Union Berlin fans have few uniform friendships with other fan groups, but rather behave heterogeneously on this issue. Some Unioners have been friends with the fans of FC Schalke 04 since the 2001 DFB Cup final. Other Union supporters, in turn, maintain their old contacts with the Hertha fan scene. In addition, there are also isolated connections with FC St. Pauli . On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the club's founding, a friendly match against Borussia Dortmund was held in January 2016 .

Hertha BSC

In professional football, Hertha BSC has been 1. FC Union Berlin's biggest competitor in terms of audience and media appeal since the turn of the millennium. As a result, a rivalry developed between the fans of the two Berlin football clubs. At the time of the division of Germany, on the other hand, there was a friendship between Union and Hertha (slogan “Hertha and Union - one nation”). So Hertha came to East Berlin to visit Union home games, and in return, Unioners accompanied Hertha to their European Cup away games in the GDR (e.g. against Dynamo Dresden 1978) or the " socialist countries " (e.g. . to the UEFA Cup quarter-finals in Prague 1979).

In the immediate aftermath of the reunification, the bond reached its climax with the friendly match in Berlin's Olympic Stadium in 1990 in front of over 50,000 spectators. After that, mutual affection subsided. In terms of sport, there were no points of contact until 2010. This changed with the relegations of Herthas in 2010 and 2012, whereby both clubs met for the first time in the same division. The derbies were among the highlights of the season on both sides. With the rise of Union, there was the first meeting of two Berlin teams in the 1st Bundesliga in the times of the united city in 2019 . 1. FC Union Berlin won the game 1-0 on matchday 10 after a converted penalty. The competitive balance between the two teams shows two wins for 1. FC Union Berlin, two draws and two wins for Hertha BSC. (Status: 2020)

BFC Dynamo

The biggest rival of 1. FC Union Berlin before German reunification was BFC Dynamo . Both clubs shared a longstanding mutual dislike. The games against each other were considered to be particularly risky . On the one hand, the rivalry resulted from the derby character . However, there were also special sport-political aspects. Because the BFC received support from the Ministry for State Security . Union Berlin, on the other hand, was supported by the FDGB and the association's sponsoring company - VEB Kabelwerk Oberspree Berlin  - but not within such an extensive financial framework. Players from 1. FC Union Berlin were delegated to the BFC and vice versa. Many talents switched from FCU to BFC and in return Union mostly received players who had already passed their performance peak. In addition, Union was forced to only play all derbies between the two teams from the 1976/77 season in the World Youth Stadium. The BFC was often referred to as "Schiebermeister".

SC Union 06 Berlin
Posters for the film Union for Life (2014)

The “brother association” from West Berlin and the successor to Union Oberschöneweide, SC Union 06 Berlin , was supported in large numbers by the East Berliners in the period before the Berlin Wall was built. After 1990 there were considerations at both clubs to reunite. The youth department of 1. FC Union Berlin should be integrated into the lower class men's team of the SCU, which worked for one season (1992/93), but was then discontinued. In 1995, conflicts arose between the two clubs when the SCU claimed the heritable building right to the An der Alten Försterei stadium. However, the blue-whites could not prevail, only played for one season in the Ernst-Thälmann-Stadion in Köpenick and then moved back to the Poststadion . In 2006 - on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the club's foundation - there was a friendly game at the Alte Försterei .

The Union League

1. FC Union Berlin maintains its own fan league , the Union League . The league system was created in 1981 on the initiative of some Union fan clubs. Due to the rapidly increasing number of teams, the game was played in several seasons from 1983/84. There were promotions and relegations between the individual leagues. After a crisis in the period after reunification, the league was again more popular with young people in the late 1990s and has currently grown to 31 teams (as of 2020). It is worth noting that the Union League is played in a two-point system. The Union League has included the Union Cup , which was played by the fan clubs and won for the first time by the VSG Weinbergstraße . The Union Cup finals are traditionally played in the An der Alten Försterei stadium.

Hymn and music

The club anthem of 1. FC Union Berlin is the song Eisern Union, sung by Nina Hagen in 1998 . It is one of the most famous in German professional football. Since 2005, DJ Wumme has been providing the music in the stadium at the Alte Försterei every match day. Essentially, the music styles rock , alternative , Britpop and electronica are recorded.


  • Tino Czerwinski, Gerald Karpa: 1. FC Union Berlin, 40 years 1. FC Union Berlin, a century of football tradition . Sutton Verlag, Erfurt 2005, ISBN 3-89702-932-4 .
  • Matthias Koch: Always further - right to the front, the history of 1. FC Union Berlin . 1st edition. Verlag Die Werkstatt, Göttingen 2013, ISBN 978-3-7307-0049-5 .
  • Jörn Luther: 1. FC Union Berlin , Berlin 2015, ISBN 978-3-944068-39-8 (= Library of German Football , Volume 1)
  • Jörn Luther, Frank Willmann : And never forget - Iron Union! 2nd Edition. BasisDruck Verlag, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-86163-092-0 .
  • Frank Nussbücker: 111 reasons to love 1. FC Union Berlin . 1st edition. Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf, Berlin 2013, ISBN 978-3-86265-274-7 .
  • Harald Tragmann, Harald Voss: The Union Statistics, A Club between East and West . 3. Edition. Harald Voß Verlag, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-935759-13-7 .

Web links

Commons : 1. FC Union Berlin  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

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This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on February 19, 2007 .

Coordinates: 52 ° 27 '23.7 "  N , 13 ° 33' 56.6"  E