Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Ticket News: Sandhausen, Ingolstadt & Erzgebirge Aue

Tickets are now available online here for the following fixtures:

1. FC Union Berlin - SV Sandhausen / on Friday, February 1, 2013 18:00

1. FC Union Berlin - FC Ingolstadt 04 / on Saturday, February 16, 2013 13:00

1. FC Union Berlin - FC Erzgebirge Aue / on Friday Mar 01, 2013 18:00

You can buy up to 10 tickets per login. If you need more than 10 tickets, create a new login with a different e-mail address although you can use the same card for payment for both if you wish.

Sektor 2 is behind the goal and Sektor 3 is the side opposite the new stand which is all seated should you prefer to sit. For a map and prices click here.

In does not matter which block you opt for. You can move freely around the sektor that you purchase your tickets for. You show your ticket twice at Union. Once at the gate as you'd expect. Expect a cursory search. When they say something to you and you don't understand just raise your arms. You also show your ticket to a steward as you climb the stairs - have it handy if you wandering up with a drink and food.

Monday, 28 January 2013


There is a theory known as simulated reality. It's pretty complex and I don't claim to have done anything other than used a search engine and glanced at a few pages on Wikipedia. My limited understanding is that there is a chance that we're a simulation set up by 'people' in the future to see what life was like and how we react in certain scenarios  - like how will the human race deal with climate change or will Uwe Neuhaus strengthen his forward line? The big questions in life. In my life anyway. 

So let's make the assumption that we've been here before - or at least someone has. There was an FC Union Berlin many years ago before the human race wiped itself out. What happened to the club? Where did it go right? Where did it go wrong? Remember, this is probably the 100th time we've played the 2012/3 season. Let's try and learn something this time.

What are the possibilities from here on in? The first is that Union fail to adequately strengthen, a poor set of results and a derby defeat send Union hurtling down the table and we narrowly avoid relegation. Nobody can understand why we signed a bloke whose own fans called him a fatty to replace Markus Karl. Injuries to Nemec and Terodde leave us relying on an out of form Silvio and a reserve striker called Skrzybski.  

Another possibility is that Union, buoyed by the new stand and an even louder home crowd are roared on to victory in every home game they play after the winterpause. They also tighten up away from home and earn a solid draw at rivals Hertha whilst surprisingly doing the double over Köln and beating Bochum on the final day to secure a play-off spot. All done on a shoe.string budget with Nemec and Terodde forming a lethal partnership.

Another reality is that Union pipped rivals Cottbus to the signing of their former player John Jairo Mosquera. The former striker, who scored the equaliser in the win against Hertha back in 2011, becomes a crowd favourite after demolishing the west Berliners with a brace as Union win 2-1 again. The signing of another striker adds competition but Terodde and Nemec struggle to find form. Injuries ravage the Union squad and new signing Barış Özbek contracts a mystery virus and never plays for the club again. Neuhaus is ousted as manager and Mattuschka takes over as player-Coach and Union finish 12th. 

In a season that most hail as the strangest ever, Union win the league but are disqualified for taking their rightful place in the top flight of German football. The authorities get revenge on Union for not signing the original 'safe stadium experience' document and invent a number of excuses that centre around the Alte Försterei not being fit for Bundesliga 1 football. An ultimatum is offered to President Zingler and he refuses the offer. Union can only be promoted if they make their ground all-seater. Union fans praise their President and vow never to play top flight football in Germany. This strange stance attracts huge attention and Union become unplayable at home and win the league again in the 2013/4 season. Again, they take the glory but not their rightful position among the elite.

I am in serious need of the football season re-starting. Bring on Friday night. Feel free to make equally ludicrous 'reality' up below in the comments section. Who knows, it could have already happened!

Friday, 18 January 2013

Torsten Mattuschka Profile & Scousers

As there are about 60 of you who subscribe via e-mail I thought I'd send you a couple of articles I wrote recently.

The first is about club captain Torsten Mattuschka who needs no introduction.

The second is a lighthearted preview of Wigan v Sunderland. Union, Juventus and the devious Scousers feature. 

If any of you would like to write a piece for the blog do get in touch. 

Friday, 11 January 2013

'Union in Englisch' Launch Event

Click here for details and the address. You can also confirm attendance or leave us a nice message!

Union in Englisch present Groundhoppping etc. in association with the Eiserne Botschafter.

A photography exhibition about 1. FC Union Berlin charting the history of 'Eisern' Union in 32 pictures: from the 2005/06 Oberliga season, through their years in the Regionalliga and 3. Liga, culminating in their return to 2. Bundesliga, where Union are now playing their fourth consecutive season.

Take a look at how the average attendance doubled in a matter of years, and how the Stadion an der Alten Försterei got a refurbishing, a roof and a shiny new main stand that is being built at the speed of light as you read these lines. The photos show Union's progress over eight seasons and are a reminder of what has been achieved in such a short space of time. Und Niemals Vergessen...Eisern Union!

Union in Englisch are a new initiative. As the name suggests, their aim is to provide an English-language service of news and match reports, and to act as an information point for people interested in Union Berlin.

Groundhopping etc. is run by Felix, who lost his heart to Union in 2001 but can also never resist a football game in other places he happens to travel to. He documents match experiences and football culture on his pages, and he contributes reports to other sites as well.

The Eiserne Botschafter are an official fan group and are kindly hosting this exhibition.


Union in Englisch präsentieren Groundhopping etc. in Zusammenarbeit mit den Eisernen Botschaftern.

Die Fotoausstellung zeigt die jüngste Geschichte des 1. FC Union Berlin in 32 Bildern: von der Oberligasaison 2005/06 über die Jahre in der Regionalliga und Dritten Liga bis hin zum Wiederaufstieg in die 2. Bundesliga, wo Union in nunmehr das vierte Jahr in Folge spielt.

In dieser Zeit hat sich der Zuschauerschnitt mehr als verdoppelt und wurde das Stadion an der Alten Försterei runderneuert: es hat jetzt nicht nur ein Dach sondern bald auch eine moderne Haupttribüne, die gerade in Lichtgeschwindigkeit gebaut wird. Die Bilder zeigen Unions Entwicklung über diese acht Spielzeiten und erinnern daran, wie weit sich der Verein in so kurzer Zeit entwickelt hat. Und Niemals Vergessen…Eisern Union!

Union in Englisch ist eine neue Initiative die – dem Namen getreu – Informationen, Neuigkeiten und Spielberichte über Union in englischer Sprache erstellt und verbreitet und ein Anlaufpunkt ist für alle die an Union Berlin interessiert sind.

Groundhopping etc. wird von Felix betrieben, der 2001 sein Herz an Union verloren hat, aber auch schwer Fußballspielen an anderen Orten widerstehen kann. Er dokumentiert seine Stadionerlebnisse und Fußballkultur auf seinen Seiten und schreibt auch für andere Medien.

Die Eisernen Botschafter sind ein offizieller Fan-Club, und freundlicherweise Gastgeber für diese Ausstellung.

Fixtures up until March 31st 2013

Click here for the time and date of fixtures up until the end of March. We'll announce via this blog, the Union in Englisch Facebook page and Twitter any developments as soon as we're aware of them!

If you have any questions then don't hesitate to get in touch using the above methods.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Looking forward with Union Berlin


I've taken a look back and reviewed Union Berlin's campaign so far for Bundesliga Football. On a personal note, I've learnt a significant amount this year. Glühwein is deceptively strong, German is a tremendous language to learn when you put the hours in and there is more to life than purely football at Union - much more. You can scoff at that last notion and are perhaps thinking, 'of course there is'. Let me explain. When I first went to Union in 2010 I encountered a passionate fan base and a cracking 'local side'. As I have slowly learnt more about 'Eisern' I've discovered theatre productions, carol singing and some of the friendliest people I've had the privilege to meet in Berlin. They speak German to me as well. 1.FC Union Berlin are an association in the true sense of the word. A genuine community club but equally, people such as me, are accepted. I can assure you that does not happen everywhere in Berlin.

Superb Stuff

However, lets move on. I want to have a look forward now. It's New Years Day after all!  What does the future, or the next 5 months, hold for Union?

The Stadium

Before considering matters on the pitch, it is only right to applaud the Berliners for a magnificent job in building the new stand. Boasting over 3,600 seats, the grandstand, weather permitting, will be open for the first home game after the winter break. It will be 'Friday Night Lights' at 6pm against SV Sandhausen. The special heated seats may not be installed by then but the majority of the standard seats will hopefully be ready for this fixture. Perhaps Union should have been awarded the contract to build the new airport?! (so far over a year behind schedule).

On The Pitch

There are 15 games remaining. 7 of these are at home and 8 away. 

The majority of the away games are against sides in the top half. 2 of the 8 matches are against sides in the bottom half, although that includes Köln, in 10th place, who sit a mere point behind the Berliners. Union have only won twice in the league on the road so far this season and although they have managed to score 3 goals on three occasions it is worth pointing out that these games earned the Berliners a measly 2 points. Strangely the influential Torsten Mattuschka has only featured in one of these three games. Union do not travel particularly well.

In light of the above and if football were played on paper, the 7 home games, will be crucial in deciding Union's fate this year. Will they be battling for third, or set for another very respectable, mid-table finish. Union are a small club, run on a small budget and aiming to establish themselves as a solid Bundesliga 2. side. Arguably they pretty much achieved this status. However, if you are not moving forward you're probably going backwards as it's pretty difficult to stand still in football. 

As Union found out in August and September, momentum is key. Therefore, I'd argue the home games against Sandhausen (2nd bottom), Ingolstadt (9th) and Erzebirge (11th) will decide Union's final position in the table come May 2013. If they are to contend 3rd place, whilst a pipe dream for most it is certainly not an unrealistic ambition, they'll require maximum points. Anything less than 7 points from these games will mean Union must significantly improve their away form - in particular their defending away from the Stadion An der Alten Försterei.

The stand out fixture after the 'winterpause' is clearly the Berlin derby - the stadtmeisterschaft. Can Union avenge the 2-1 reverse they suffered in September? Hertha are clear favourites. They are at home and riding high in 2nd place in the Bundesliga 2. Union have previous though. One down at half-time they fought back and claimed a famous victory in 2011. After having watched Hertha labour for 85 minutes against St.Pauli at the Olympiastadion, I certainly won't be heading to the Berlin derby with any fear and nor I'd guess are Neuhaus and his men. The team who win this fixture will have those key ingredients that make football so difficult to predict - momentum and players with confidence. See the league leaders Braunschweig for evidence. They got off to a cracking start and have not looked back. That dodgy penalty at Union served them well!

Can Union gain promotion? Well, they are currently looking to strengthen the squad with another attack-minded player. Creativity has been a struggle at home for Union. Many teams come to sit back and hit Union on the break. This is arguably when the Berliners struggle most. Some additional creativity may be just what they need as well as an increase in 'defending from the front' when away from home.  I think Union will do well to finish 7th again. They have a good team spirit, fanatical home support and a stadium that hits a superb balance, in terms of being modern, whilst also accommodating the masses who prefer to stand.

I'll predict a 6th place finish because I'm a born optimist. Whatever the outcome, it will be an exciting year as an Unioner. Hopefully the Försterei will be become even more intimidating for the opposition and we'll roar Union on to a play-off spot. We can but dream, for what is life without dreams?

Enjoy 2013 and feel free to make your prediction of where Union Berlin will finish in the league by using the comments section below.

Happy New Year / Guten Rutsch to you all!

For information on the 'Union in Englisch' fan club please take a look at this blog post. Stickers are now on sale!