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1. FC Union Berlin is a football club based in Berlinmarker, Germanymarker. It is one of two sides in the city bearing the name Union that emerged during the Cold War and played in East Germanymarker, while the other played in the west. The club currently plays in the 2. Bundesliga.


Foundation to WWII

The name 1. FC Union Berlin was used by two football clubs that shared a common origin as SC Olympia 06 Oberschöneweide, founded in 1906 in the Oberschöneweide district of Berlinmarker. The side took on the name SC Union 06 Oberschöneweide in 1910. Union was one of Berlin's premier clubs in the interwar period, regularly winning local championships and competing at the national level, including an appearance in the 1923 German championship final which they lost 0:3 to Hamburger SV.

Early on the team was nicknamed "Schlosserjungs" (engl: metalworker-boys or locksmith-boys), because of their then all blue kit, reminiscent of the typical work clothing worn in the factories of the industrial Oberschöneweide district. The popular cry of Union-supporters – "Eisern Union!" (Iron Union) – also emerged at this time. Since its foundation the club had a clearly working-class image in contrast to other local clubs with middle-class origins, such as Viktoria 89 Berlin, Blau-Weiß 90 Berlinmarker, BSV 92 Berlin or Tennis Borussia Berlin.

In 1933, German football was reorganized under the Third Reich into 16 top flight divisions known as Gauligen. Oberschöneweide became part of the Gauliga Berlin-Brandenburg where they generally earned middling results. They were relegated in 1935 and returned to first division play in 1936 after only one season's absence. In 1940, the team finished first in Group B of the division and then defeated Blau-Weiss (1:2, 3:0) to win the overall division title. That advanced the club to the national playoffs where they were put out by Rapid Wien in the opening group round (2:3, 1:3). Union resumed its place as an unremarkable side. They were relegated again in 1942 and played the final war-shortened Gauliga season in 1944-45.

Post war split

After World War II, occupying Allied authorities ordered the dissolution of all organizations in Germany, including sports and football associations. A new Municipal Sports Group called SG Oberschöneweide was formed in late 1945 and it played in the City League organized immediately after the war which had four regional departments. The team did not qualify to the newly created Oberliga Berlin (I) in 1946 after a poor season, but was promoted in 1947, won the division title right away and regained club status as SG Union 06 Oberschöneweide during 1948-49.

The club finished the 1949-1950 season in second place in Berlin and qualified to take part in the national final rounds. However, escalating Cold War tensions led Soviet authorities to refuse the team permission to travel to take part. Two Union then teams emerged as most players and coaches fled to the west to form Sport-Club Union 06 Berlin which took part in the scheduled playoff match in Kielmarker against Hamburger SV, losing 0:7.

The players remaining in the east carried on as Union Oberschöneweide while a number of players who had fled to the west to form SC organized a third side called Berliner Ball-Club Südost. The western team was a strong side until the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961, drawing huge crowds to matches in the Olympiastadion. The division of the city led to a change of fortunes for the club which plays today in the lower divisions before meagre crowds.

Union in the east

The eastern branch of the club went through a number of name changes: Union Oberschöneweide (1950), BSG Motor Oberschöneweide (1951), SC Motor Berlin (1955), TSC Oberschöneweide (1957), TSC Berlin (1963) – finally becoming the football club 1. FC Union Berlin in 1966. They became East Berlin's most popular side and developed a bitter rivalry with Stasi-sponsored Dynamo Berlinmarker. However, they only managed a single win in the East German Cup in 1968 when they defeated FC Carl Zeiss Jena 2:1. They lost in their second cup appearance in 1986 to 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig by a score of 1:5.

Reunification to present

After German reunification in 1990, the team continued to perform well on the field, but almost collapsed financially. They managed to hang on through some tight times and find sponsorship, but only after winning their division in both 1993 and 1994 and each time being denied a license to play in the 2.Bundesliga due to their financial problems. The club had another close brush with financial failure in 1997.

Union again came close to advancing to 2.Bundesliga in 1998-99 and 1999-2000, but were disappointed. They were finally successful in 2000-01, under Bulgarianmarker manager Georgi Vasilev, easily winning the Regionalliga Nord (III) and moving up a division to become the city's most popular side after the Bundesliga's Hertha BSC Berlin. That same year they appeared in the final of the German Cup where they lost 0:2 to FC Schalke 04, and advanced as far as the second round in UEFA Cup before being put out by Bulgarian side PFC Litex Lovech. The club slipped to the Regionalliga Nord (III) in 2004-05 and then to the NOFV-Oberliga Nord (IV) in 2005-06, but has returned to third division play after capturing the Oberliga title. In 2008-09, Union became one of the founding clubs of the new 3rd Liga, and its inaugural champion, securing first place and promotion to the Second Bundesliga on May 10th.

Recent seasons

Year Division Position
1999-2000 Regionalliga Nordost (III) 6th
2000-01 Regionalliga Nordost 1st (promoted)
2001-02 2. Bundesliga (II) 6th
2002-03 2. Bundesliga 9th
2003-04 2. Bundesliga 17th (relegated)
2004-05 Regionalliga Nord (III) 19th (relegated)
2005-06 NOFV-Oberliga Nord (IV) 1st (promoted)
2006-07 Regionalliga Nord (III) 12th
2007-08 Regionalliga Nord 4th
2008-09 3. Liga (III) 1st (promoted)
2009-10 2. Bundesliga


Club culture

The club is widely recognized as one of Germany's nonconformist "Kult" clubs, based on their very emotional rivality with Dynamo Berlin in former GDRmarker times. While Dynamo was affiliated with Eastern-Germany's feared Secret Service Stasi, Union Berlin was patronized by Eastern German Trade Union FDGB. This circumstance lead them into an unofficial opposition against the socialist system and in Union's stadium Alte Förstereimarker the fans often were singing veiled chants against the political authorities.

In August 2009, Union Berlin severed an sponsorship deal with International Sport Promotion because it was revealed that the company's chairman, Jurgen Czilinsky, was a former Stasi agent. [370173]


The official Union song is "Eisern Union" by the famous German Punk-Star Nina Hagen.An eponymous song by veteran German rock band the Puhdys doesn't enjoy great popularity, as this band also composed songs for Hansa Rostock and Berlins Ice hockey team Eisbären Berlin, which once was a department of Union's main rival Dynamo.

Current squad

For recent transfers see List of German football transfers summer 2009

Notable former players

External links

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