1. FC Union Berlin

1. FC Union Berlin
1. FC Union Berlin
Full name 1. FC Union Berlin e. V.
Nickname(s) Eiserne, Eisern Union (The Iron Ones, Iron Union)
Founded 1906
Ground Stadion An der Alten Försterei
(Capacity: 18,432)
Chairman Dirk Zingler
Manager Uwe Neuhaus
League 2. Bundesliga
2010–11 11th
Home colours
Away colours
Current season

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

1. FC Union Berlin team photo, Oberliga-season 1983.

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 1949–50 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 teams then 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 Kiel 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 Ballspiel-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 meager crowds.

Union in the east

Ulrich Prüfke (captain) and Ralph Quest raise the FDGB Pokal trophy after beating Carl Zeiss Jena in the final.

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 developed a bitter rivalry with Stasi-sponsored Dynamo Berlin. While their arch rivals won 10 titles in a row in highly dubious circumstances, Union yo-yoed between the Oberliga and the DDR-Liga with very little success, largely due to the East German's government policy of favouring 'elite' clubs at the expense of 'civilian' clubs like Union. Union managed to win the East German Cup in 1968 when they defeated FC Carl Zeiss Jena 2:1 although 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 Bulgarian 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 2. Fußball-Bundesliga on 10 May.

Recent seasons

Year Division Position Points Goal difference Top goalscorers
1994–95 Regionalliga Nordost (III) 3rd 47:21 +39 Republic of Macedonia Goran Markov 20, Bosnia and Herzegovina Sergej Barbarez 14, Germany Thorsten Boer 9, Germany Dirk Rehbein 6, Germany Thoralf Bennert 5
1995–96 Regionalliga Nordost (III) 2nd 72 +49 Bosnia and Herzegovina Sergej Barbarez 17, Poland Jacek Frąckiewicz 16, Poland Marek Czakon 12, Germany Jens Härtel 6, Germany Thorsten Boer 6
1996–97 Regionalliga Nordost (III) 5th 62 +14 Germany Norman Struck 10, Germany Marco Küntzel 7, Germany Gerald Klews 6, Germany Thorsten Boer 6, Germany Marko Rehmer 5
1997–98 Regionalliga Nordost (III) 6th 54 +10 Germany Nico Patschinski 9, Germany Ronny Jank 6
1998–99 Regionalliga Nordost (III) 6th 57 +30 Germany Steffen Menze 14, Germany Peter Közle 7, Germany Michael Oelkuch 7, Germany Jens Härtel 6, Republic of Macedonia Vanko Micevski 6
1999–00 Regionalliga Nordost (III) 1st 77 +30 Germany Steffen Menze 13, Germany Jens Härtel 8, Bulgaria Ivaylo Andonov 7, Bulgaria Hristo Koilov 5
2000–01 Regionalliga Nord (III) 1st Promoted to the 2. Bundesliga 73 +39 Brazil Daniel Teixeira 18, Albania Harun Isa 13, Germany Ronny Nikol 5
2001–02 2. Bundesliga (II) 6th 56 +20 Serbia Sreto Ristić 14, Bulgaria Kostadin Vidolov 10, Albania Harun Isa 9, Spain Cristian Fiél 7, Serbia Petar Divić 7, Germany Steffen Menze 6
2002–03 2. Bundesliga (II) 9th 45 -12 Germany Steffen Baumgart 9, Bulgaria Kostadin Vidolov 6, Senegal Salif Keita 5, Serbia Sreto Ristić 5
2003–04 2. Bundesliga (II) 17th Relegated to the Regionalliga Nord 33 -10 Germany Steffen Baumgart 13, Senegal Salif Keita 8, Germany Thomas Sobotzik 7
2004–05 Regionalliga Nord (III) 19th Relegated to the NOFV-Oberliga Nord 27 -18 United States Ryan Coiner 12, Germany Martin Hauswald 5
2005–06 NOFV-Oberliga Nord (IV) 1st Promoted to the Regionalliga Nord 69 +51 Brazil Daniel Teixeira 24, Algeria Karim Benyamina 15, Germany Torsten Mattuschka 8, Germany Tobias Kurbjuweit 6
2006–07 Regionalliga Nord (III) 12th 48 +6 Algeria Karim Benyamina 11, Germany Nico Patschinski 9, Brazil Daniel Teixeira 5, Germany Daniel Schulz 5,
2007–08 Regionalliga Nord (III) 4th 60 +18 Germany Nico Patschinski 13, Germany Shergo Biran 9, Algeria Karim Benyamina 7, Germany Torsten Mattuschka 7, Germany Marco Gebhardt 6
2008–09 3. Liga (III) 1st Promoted to the 2. Bundesliga 78 +36 Algeria Karim Benyamina 16, Germany Shergo Biran 11, Germany Hüzeyfe Doğan 7, Germany Nico Patschinski 5, Republic of the Congo Macchambes Younga-Mouhani 5
2009–10 2. Bundesliga (II) 12th 44 -3 Germany Torsten Mattuschka 10, Colombia John Jairo Mosquera 7, Algeria Karim Benyamina 6, Germany Hüzeyfe Doğan 5, Germany Kenan Şahin 5
2010–11 2. Bundesliga (II) 11th 42 -6 Colombia John Jairo Mosquera 8, Algeria Karim Benyamina 7, Germany Torsten Mattuschka 5
2011–12 2. Bundesliga (II)


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 GDR times.[citation needed] While Dynamo was affiliated with East Germany's Secret Service Stasi, Union Berlin was patronized by Eastern German Trade Union FDGB. This circumstance led them into an unofficial opposition against the socialist system and in Union's Stadion An der Alten Försterei the fans often were singing veiled chants against the political authorities.[1]

In August 2009, Union Berlin severed a sponsorship deal with International Sport Promotion because it was revealed that the company's chairman, Jürgen Czilinsky, was a former Stasi agent.[2]


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 Berlin's ice hockey team Eisbären Berlin, which once was a department of Union's main rival Dynamo.

Current squad


Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Germany GK Jan Glinker
2 Germany MF Christopher Quiring
4 Algeria DF Ahmed Madouni
5 Germany DF Christian Stuff
6 France DF Marc Pfertzel
7 Republic of Ireland DF Patrick Kohlmann
8 Germany MF Markus Karl
9 Colombia FW John Jairo Mosquera
11 Germany FW Simon Terodde (on loan from 1. FC Köln)
12 Germany MF Oliver Hofmann
14 Burkina Faso MF Patrick Zoundi
15 Germany DF Daniel Göhlert
16 Germany DF Christoph Menz
No. Position Player
17 Germany MF Torsten Mattuschka (captain)
18 Germany MF Maurice Trapp
19 Germany MF Chinedu Ede
21 Germany FW Halil Savran
21 Germany FW Jérome Polenz
23 Brazil FW Silvio
24 Germany FW Steven Skrzybski
25 Germany MF Philip Malinowski
26 Germany DF Fabian Fritsche
27 Germany DF Boné Uaferro
28 Germany GK Kilian Pruschke
29 Germany DF Michael Parensen
40 Germany GK Marcel Höttecke

Players out on loan

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
10 Netherlands FW Santi Kolk (at NAC Breda)

Notable players

Past (and present) players who are the subjects of Wikipedia articles can be found here.


  1. ^ K. Farin/H. Hauswald: Die dritte Halbzeit, 1993, p. 5–14.
  2. ^ "Football club Union Berlin ditches sponsor over Stasi past". The Local. 25 August 2009. http://www.thelocal.de/sport/20090825-21477.html. Retrieved 3 February 2010. 
  3. ^ http://www.fc-union-berlin.de/profis/team/

External links

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