1.FC Union Berlin

Here you get a two-for-one deal, as there is not one, but two clubs named Union in Berlin!

Founded 1966 in it's current format, but the roots are much deeper. In 1906, SC Olympia 06 Oberschönweide was created, and it took 14 years to give up the Olympics and they became SC Union. In 1923, they were defeated by Hamburger SV in the finals of the German championship. In the interwar period, Union was one of Berlin's premier clubs, winning the local championship and playing at the larger German stage.

In the post WWII period, Union was split. The players and coaches fled to the West, and created "Union Berlin", whereas the eastern part of the club remained SG Oberschönweide. The Union team was a powerhouse in Berlin, and big matches drew huge crowds. In 1953, a playoff against Hamburg drew 85,000 into the Olympia stadion, and a decisive game against Tennis Borussia drew 75,000. However, with the construction of the Berlin wall in 1961, things began to go down hill rapidly. Today Union 06 plays in the lower divisions before crowds consisting of players girlfriends, wives and kids.

The eastern branch of the club finally gave up the district name, and became 1.FC Union Berlin in 1966. Now there were two "Unions" in non-unified Berlin, but with the collapse of the western side, FCU became the dominant force. FCU remained the most pouplar East Berlin club for several years. The sole "honor" would be the winning of the GDR-Cup back in 1968. Gradually, they began to lose ground to the cheaters at Dynamo Berlin, the Stasi club.

After the reunification, Union continued to have decent results on the field, but the financial situation brought the club on the verge of oblivion. Only a last minute fan protest saved the club. Although things were a bit tight, they survived and were eventually able to bring in sponsors.

The goal for 1998-99 was champions, and as a result, it has to be considered disappointing. Union challenged for most of the season, but when Chemnitz really turned up the heat, they folded like a deck of cards. On the financial side, things took a nice turn however, as major sponsorship deals enable the club not only to survive, but strengthen for the future. The 2000 season started off well, but with the end in sight, ended in bitter disappointment. After dominating the Regionalliga Nordost, Union dropped the playoffs against VfL Osnabrueck. Both games ended in 1-1 draws, but Osnabrueck won on penalties. Then after a 3-1 victory over South runner up SC Pfullendorf in the "last chance" playoffs, Berlin lost 1-2 at LR Ahlen, thereby failing to make the goal of 2.Liga.

The 2000-01 season will go down in history as a great one for Eisern Union. The Berliners started out slow, but got rolling in full gear by midterm, and ended up easily winning the Regionalliga and gaining promotion to the 2.Liga. Undoubtedly, Union fans were doubly thrilled when rivals Dynamo Berlin got stuck in the 4th division because they couldn't get a license, and Tennis Borussia basically totally collapsed into oblivion.

Playing in the 2.Liga was tough, but there is no doubt that Union has now established themselves and the no.2 Berlin club behind Hertha. After dropping in 2004, Union dominated the initial 3.Liga in 2009 to go back to the 2nd level.

Full Name 1.FC Union Berlin e.V.
City Berlin (Berlin). Pop: 3,388,434 (2002)
Address Hämmerlingstraße 80-88, 12555 Berlin
Phone: (030) 6566880
e-mail: verein@fc-union-berlin.de
Colors Red and white
Nickname Eisern (iron). In the old days, the players used to be in blue, same as their mechanics and other working class fans.
Stadium Alte Försterei. Capacity: 22,000
Built around 1923. This decrepit facility is nevertheless a "cult-classic". The fans would fall onto the field if it weren't for the fence. Architectural plans have been drawn up for a complete refurbishment, that would build a modern 30,000 capacity. The western Union 06 plays at the Poststadion.
Tickets 7.50-22 euros. (2004). If you use your "Eisern Union" bankcard, you get a 0.50 euro discount.
Supporters Small but dedicated. Averaged about 7,500 in 2004 (2.Liga). An interesting twist is that in a 3rd division away game against Tennis Borussia, some 2,000 Union fans showed up, and instead of entering TeBe's grounds, they turned over their ticket fees to Union. After difficulties, crowds began to increase, averaging around 3500 by the end of the 90s, and they are pretty strong in their support of Union. Their battle cry, Eisern Union! (Iron Union) is always present.
Friends Hertha BSC and Hansa Rostock
Foes BFC Dynamo and Tennis Borussia are the most bitter rivals. Whereas Dynamo is understandable, going back to GDR days, the bad blood between Union and TeBe is more recent. This goes back to the early 90s, when Union qualified for promotion, but apparently faked the license info to the DFB. Union believes that TeBe finked on them. In any case, Union was denied promotion, and TeBe was promoted instead.
Heroes 8 GDR internationals. The best was probably Reinhard Lauck, 33 caps, although he "transferred" to BFC Dynamo.
Beer Berliner-Pilsner is the official sponsor. Berliner Bürgerbräu has also been mentioned.
Pub Grub The stadium Imbiss (snack bar) has the usual array of sausages, including Currywurst. Drinks such as beer and sodas of course. Also of interest for the visitor is that on the 1st Tuesday of the month, at 7 pm, at the Abseitsfalle bar, there is a meeting of fans and clubs, often with players and coaches as guests.
The Net The official home page is www.fc-union-berlin.de . There are also several good fan pages, among them Eisern Union at www.union-berlin.de , and is quite informative.


Recent History:

1965-66	(**)	DDR-Liga, St. Nord	1st
1966-67	(*)	DDR-Oberliga		6th
1967-68	(*)	DDR-Oberliga		8th
1968-69	(*)	DDR-Oberliga		13th
1969-70	(**)	DDR-Liga, St. Nord	1st
1970-71	(*)	DDR-Oberliga		5th
1971-72	(*)	DDR-Oberliga		11th
1972-73	(*)	DDR-Oberliga		13th
1973-74	(**)	DDR-Liga, St. B		1st
1974-75	(**)	DDR-Liga, St. B		1st
1975-76	(**)	DDR-Liga, St. B		1st
1976-77	(*)	DDR-Oberliga		11th
1977-78	(*)	DDR-Oberliga		8th
1978-79	(*)	DDR-Oberliga		10th
1979-80	(*)	DDR-Oberliga		13th
1980-81	(**)	DDR-Liga, St. B		1st
1981-82	(**)	DDR-Liga, St. B		1st
1982-83	(*)	DDR-Oberliga		12th
1983-84	(*)	DDR-Oberliga		13th
1984-85	(**)	DDR-Liga, St. A		1st
1985-86	(*)	DDR-Oberliga		7th
1986-87	(*)	DDR-Oberliga		11th
1987-88	(*)	DDR-Oberliga		11th
1988-89	(*)	DDR-Oberliga		14th
1989-90	(*)	DDR-Liga, St. A		2nd
1990-91	(*)	DDR-Liga, St. A		1st
1991-92	(III)	Am.Oberliga Nordost	1st
1992-93	(III)	Am.Oberliga Nordost	1st 	denied license
1993-94	(III)	Am.Oberliga Nordost	1st 	denied license
1994-95	(III)	Regionalliga Nordost 	3rd
1995-96	(III)	Regionalliga Nordost 	2nd
1996-97	(III)	Regionalliga Nordost 	5th
1997-98	(III)	Regionalliga Nordost 	6th
1998-99	(III)	Regionalliga Nordost 	6th
1999-00	(III)	Regionalliga Nordost 	1st
2000-01	(III)	Regionalliga Nord 	1st
2001-02 (II)	2.Liga			6th
2002-03 (II)	2.Liga			9th
2003-04 (II)	2.Liga			17th
2004-05	(III)	Regionalliga Nord	18th
2005-06	(IV)	Oberliga Nordost-Nord	1st
2006-07	(III)	Regionalliga Nord	12th
2007-08	(III)	Regionalliga Nord	4th
2008-09 (III)   3.Liga			1st
2009-10	(II)	2.Liga			12th
2010-11 (II)    2.Liga			11th		
2011-12 (II)    2.Liga		

(c) Abseits Guide to Germany