I met with a superb crowd before the Union v Paderborn game. There were 9 of us in total. One of the gang was Lewis, a student at the local Uni, in Berlin for 1 semester. Being a man of vast intelligence, after only a short time in the capital he tried to extend his stay by another semester. Sadly, it was not to be but he'll be in Berlin until early next year. He's seen Hertha play. Now it was Union. Read his take on Union below.
The Union atmosphere was like one I've never experienced before. Being a massive Aberdeen fan, it takes heart to admit that the home games I'm used to are pretty dull with a sporadic crowd in low voice.
At the Stadion An der Alten Försterei, it was the complete opposite. I've attended the Olympiastadion twice this season, and despite the Ostkurve 'ultras' being extremely vocal and inspiring, the fact the rest of the stadium was half empty put a slight dampener on the whole 'football experience'.
The Alte Försterei was full to the rafters, each and every fan in unison and full voice. It's just a pity the result on the pitch wasn't quite as satisfying... Despite Paderborn having their fair share of chances, Union did too and wasted them all - striker Adam Nemec was ironically cheered off by the home faithful after being substituted in the 2nd half.
The winner seemed a complete freak goal - the players and fans were as surprised as each other as the ball somehow looped over the keeper and into the net. If there is one thing Union can look at Hertha and be jealous of though, then it's a striker like Ramos who can score a goal or two.
Even so, this and the disappointing result aside, I've definitely been converted to the East side. A full terracing capacity of passionate fans in red and white, chanting their team on in between gulping down a pint of fine German beer, it genuinely is as good as it gets... If only it existed in the north-east of Scotland.
Thanks to Lewis & Felix at Groundhopping etc for the photographs.