Football Travel: 1.FC Union Berlin

In the leafy suburbs of East Berlin you’ll find the ‘Stadium at the Old Forester’s House’ and the electrifying atmosphere of the ‘Iron Union’. We visit 1.FC Union Berlin.

 

Rather like a Brothers Grimm story, I always seem to find myself walking through forests to get to football grounds in Germany. It’s the case at the Olympiastadion in Berlin and the Volksparkstadion in Hamburg, but at least at 1.FC Union Berlin you’re prepped: the ground really is at the Old Forester’s House.

 

The Stadion An der Alten Försterei holds 22,000 spectators, and includes standing on three sides. I sat in the main stand at a princely €39, but would definitely stand next time for a lesser sum.

 

It’s a compact ground, but all the better for it. The atmosphere is pumping. [Continues…]

1.FC Union Berlin fans

Show your colours: Kick off at the Alten Försterei.

About 1.FC Union Berlin

The team ‘1.FC Union Berlin’ came into existence in 1966 while under the former Soviet-backed GDR (East Germany), but can trace its roots back further to 1906 when it was founded as FC Olympia Oberschöneweide.

 

As you know, a few things happened in Berlin between 1906-66, which led the club to change its status and its leagues. It’s currently in the 2.Bundesliga (second tier in Germany), where the ‘Eisern Union’ (Iron Union) occupies a comfortable mid-table position. [Continues…]

           

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The opponents when I visited were FSV Frankfurt, who were flirting with relegation, but had brought 200 or so fans, one of whom was armed with a snare drum. I don’t mind bass drums to lead a chant rhythm but I draw the line at snares, it’s just a cymbal or two short of a full kit.

 

Luckily, three Union goals in the space of 11 minutes midway through the first half silenced the drums. A fourth was added in injury time.

 

An 18,173 crowd was good, considering the away end was nearly empty. A local derby here would raise the roof!

 

As well as the electronic scoreboard at one end, the Stadion An der Alten Försterei – which dates from 1920 – also has a manual scoreboard, like in cricket you can see someone lean out of the window and swap numbers. Fantastic! [Continues…]

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Old Skool: The manual scoreboard at 1.FC Union Berlin

And the crowd were great, too. Non-stop singing and regular scarf waving around all four sides, no antagonism at all.

 

How to get to 1.FC Union Berlin

The easiest way is to catch the S3 line from Ostkreuz station to Köpernick station, from where it’s a 15-minute walk alongside the railway line, under a bridge and then 200 metres through silver birch forest to get to the ground.

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