Saturday, 8 December 2012

1.FC Union Berlin 2:0 1.FC Kaiserslautern

Berlin was covered in snow and we all had Glühwein flowing through our system. The atmosphere at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei on Friday night meant we didn't feel the cold. You don't when your team beats a top of the table side 2-0 and starts the second half of the season in such fashion. That's not to say the game was won easily. It wasn't. However football - this season especially for Union - is played on the margins. Tonight, Union had the 'rub of the green' with Union keeper Haas winning the plaudits for a fine display.

Nina Hagen's punk classic was belted out of the speakers a few minutes early. Usually the song, with the Union faithful singing along, greets the players. Today they came out to a capacity crowd chattering. We waved at the players. They waved back. A strange sensation at a ground that contains some of Germany's most passionate fans. The silent protest from fans is a sacrifice. The special atmosphere at Union is part of the appeal. To stay quiet for over 12 minutes was almost too much for some. Union threatened the Kaiserslautern goal early on and a Unioner was 'hushed' by his fellow fans. All in good spirit of course. Shhhhhhhh...

Banners say that after the massive silent protests, it is time for the league to initiate dialogue. The big banner is garnished by a lot of players'/coaches' quotes who express that they would never want football to be as quiet as it has been during those first 12 minutes, 12 seconds

Kaiserslautern had the touch and look of a team brimming with confidence and oozing class. However, as the old saying goes, class is permanent but form is temporary. Tonight they simply were not on form. At half-time it was a wonder Union were one nil up. Their goal coming on 43 minutes after a superb cross from Quirring that arrived on Terodde's head. The Kaiserslautern players walked off the field 2 minutes later clearly dejected. They had created some good chances and should have been going into the dressing room a goal to the good. Their manager clearly failed to lift them at half-time.

Union came out in the second half buoyed by the goal and full of self-belief. They were still making errors and the ball was not always finding its man but the energy and work rate was evident. Subsequently, it was Union who scored again after 66 minutes with Terodde increasing his tally for the season to seven. It was a superb finish as he crashed home the volley from 6 yards. He was clearly level and thus onside, with a team mate (Mattuschka?) in an offside position but not interfering with play. If the first goal had  taken the wind out of Kaiserslautern's sails then the second was an absolute wrecking ball for the dispirited southerners. 

Fan banner: "Do you think, one day there could be silence throughout the entire game?" "Certainly" (play on words in German: Sicherheit = certainty but also security)

There was no coming back from 2-0 down. The stadium was literally bouncing. The backpack beer seller was doing brisk business. We stuck to our Glühwein. The crowd roared Union home and we could still hear the supporters showing their appreciation when we were some distance from the ground. That was the last game before Christmas at home for the Berliners. A week on Monday they travel to current league leaders, Eintracht Braunschweig. The fixture is live on Sky and one UnionBerlinMan will be there. My first away game of the season with Union. There really is nothing quite like a cold Monday night in northern Germany. After this victory, I can't wait!

Many thanks to Felix from Groundhopping etc for the photographs with captions. 
Please click here to see the Union and Kaiserslautern fans protesting pre-match and some superb pictures of the game. For further info on the protest click here

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