FC Union Berlin

Union Berlin are a football club based in the German capital of Berlin. The club, in its current guise, was founded in 1966, but can trace its origins back to 1906 through its predecessor FC Olympia Oberschöneweide. It has no major trophy wins to its name, but is an extremely important cultural outfit. 

Union Berlin were part of East Germany, as they are based in the Kopenick region of Berlin, and thus in East Berlin. Therefore, they did not participate in the Bundesliga till German reunification in 1990. During their time in the East German football structure, Union whipsawed between the first and second divisions without much sustained success. After 1990, the club went through severe financial distress, being denied a license to play in the second tier due to financial problems, and only made it there after the 2000-01 season. That year, they also reached the final of the DFB-Pokal, losing to FC Schalke 04. The club continued to move up and down between the second and third tiers, finally establishing itself in the second tier in 2009, and then gaining promotion to the Bundesliga for the 2019-20 season. 

Union Berlin’s stadium is the Stadion An der Alten Foresterei, which translates to ‘Stadium at the old forester’s house’. It is the largest football-only stadium in Berlin, with a capacity of just over 22,000. It was first opened in 1920, undergoing major renovations in 2009, and expansions in 1970, 1983 and 2013. The club’s colours of red and yellow can be seen on the club crest and the home kit. The club mascot, Ritter Keule, was introduced in 2000. The biggest rivalry is with fellow Berlin club Hertha Berlin, and in November 2019, the two clubs played the first Berlin derby in the top flight, with Union winning 1-0. 

The current head coach is Swiss manager Urs Fischer. Having managed teams in Switzerland, like FC Zurich, FC Thun, and FC Basel, he was appointed to the Union Berlin job in 2018. The current club captain is Christopher Trimmel, who has been at the club since 2014. 

In their inaugural Bundesliga season, Union Berlin have performed admirably, sitting in 11th place, ahead of their Berlin rivals by two points and two places, and comfortably away from the relegation battle.