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[FM20] Rising Above The Past - An 1. FC Union Berlin Journey

1. FC Union Berlin are a club just promoted to the Bundesliga, with a passionate, anti-establishment fan base. This story follows the club and various interesting characters around it.
Started on 30 May 2020 by Zed
Latest Reply on 5 August 2020 by ScottT
Great overview of the squad, looking forward to see how preseason goes
Lovely to get a little inside info on a squad I don't personally know much about. Subotic is the obvious big name in the squad and he plays into what seems to be a physical team. Best of luck for the season!
Fantastic work on presentation, it's been impeccable all throughout. From my experience, Malli will be the talisman, even if he is only on loan.
Subotić used to be someone FM players signed religiously, looking forward to seeing him on the back end of his career and doing a job for you.
Tango: yeah we certainly have a decent team, could've been much worse. As we are only playing with 1 striker, an extra man up front is not necessary I think, and we have some wingers who can slot in as centre forward too.
ScottT: agreed! And players like Gogia, though not tested on Bundesliga level, should also be able to help us out this season.
OneMoreGame: yeah, this is the roster we started with in July, and will play the first half of the season with. To be fair, we had no real funds to add anyone else to the squad anyway.
tedbro20: thanks :)
TheLFCFan: definitely, it's a very physically strong team, with the football this season being tailored around that.
Jack: thanks mate! He's definitely one of our best players on paper.
Griffo: yeah in his younger years he was someone I always signed when I needed a centre-back!
Zed's avatar Group Zed
3 yearsEdited

Fans signing the famous chant “die Zeit ist nun gekommen”

FC Union du wirst siegen, glaub an dich und es wird wahr,
die erste Bundesliga ist für uns nun endlich da,
die Zeit ist nun gekommen, ihr werdet es alle sehen,
der 1. FC Union wird nun endlich oben stehen,
allez allez allez, ohoo ohoo ohoo,
mit uns an deiner Seite wirst du niemals untergehen.

FC Union you will win, believe in yourself and it will come true,
the Bundesliga is finally here for us,
the time has come, you will all see it,
the 1. FC Union will at last be in first,
allez allez allez, ohoo ohoo ohoo,
with us by your side you will never go under.

Stefan Grünwald | August 2019

We’ve been singing that chant for years, hoping one day the second line would come true. Today is that day. The 18th of August of 2019. I think I slept about 30 minutes last night. When I woke up at 10 am, I called my dad to ask him if he was ready for the match. “Son, I’ve been awake since 6 am. Haven’t closed an eye all fucking night. Just let it be 6 pm, I want to go to the stadium and see us play.” He seemed ready. A bit too ready even.

Come 3 pm, I left my house and went to the S-Bahn station to catch the metro to the stadium. As we got closer to Köpenick, more and more red-white poured into the train. Three hours before the game, and people were already going to the stadium en masse. I met up with my dad at the station of Köpenick, and we started our walk to the stadium.

For Unioner, this walk is a ritual. Everyone takes the same route that guides you through suburbs and forests, seeing red-white murals and graffiti on the way, before finally seeing the floodlights of An der alten Försterei, and smelling the Bratwurst and beer.

After barely managing to eat a small portion of fries outside the stadium, my dad simply said “let’s go” and we started walking towards the turnstiles. I followed in silence. Normally, he’s full of stories of what he did since we last met, and I would update him with results of other matches or the Union line-up. This time though, we were both gripped by pre-match nerves.

Despite my dad being in his seventies and literally a founder of the club, we still take place on the terraces of An der alten Försterei instead of in a corporate box. “I prefer being between Unioner instead of between men in suits” he says each year when we extend our season tickets. Although this means we don’t have a fixed place in the stadium, we always stand in the same place: right in the middle of the Gegengerade (the stand opposite to the main stand). This time was no different, and familiar faces slowly trickled in around us, all looking tense.

The view from our usual spot onto the scoreboard, which is operated manually through a window

Of course, we were tense because this would be our first-ever Bundesliga match. But this tenseness was aggravated by the hatred we have for our opponent that day. RB Leipzig. The difference between us and them couldn’t be bigger. Leipzig were founded in 2009 as a marketing tool for Red Bull while we have a long history of representing the working class. Leipzig have bent the rules to circumvent the 50+1 rule while we have 40.000 members and a president who is a lifelong Unioner: Dirk Zingler.

As we edged ever-closer to 6 pm, and the stadium seemed to be fuller than ever, the tenseness turned into a mixture of pride for Union, and hatred against Leipzig. Two feelings that created an excellent atmosphere. At exactly 6 pm, the referee blew his whistle, and Sebastian Andersson kicked off a match that was historical before it even began. Auf geht’s Jungs! (C’mon boys!)

I think that in Germany they build stadiums in parks just for this ritualistic walk, in the 4 months I lived there I had this kind of walk in 2 different places hahahahaha

And do you have a video of their fans singing that song? I sang it on the rhythm of the itsy bitsy spider but that can't be right

p.s.: FUCK RBL
The feeling is mutual. I hate Leipzig too! It's bound to be an emotional opening-day clash.
Tango: agree, I love stadiums in forests, though English stadiums smack-bang in suburbs are also nice! And I added a link to the chant below the opening picture (that’s why I’m commenting this now instead of before a new update), don’t think it’s Itsy Bitsy Spider, though that’s also catchy melody for a chant! :D
ScottT: I think everyone except for Leipzig-fans hate Leipzig! Bit of a Leeds situation, though the hate is for different reasons!
There couldn't be a more perfect beginning to life in the Bundesliga than a rivalry match. The working class versus the multinational corporation - beautiful.
That's one way to start your time in the top tier. A match against a team you despise. The nerves are understandable thats for sure, hopefully we can see a positive result!
There is that hate for RB you mentioned :) haha
Jack: and to think FM follows real-life Bundesliga fixtures!
TheLFCFan: let's hope so ;)
Griffo: yeah nice coincidence we both played Leipzig in close succession :)

Union Communications Team | August 2019

Urs Fischer and his men have just completed their first month of life in the Bundesliga. After a busy summer, filled with arrivals and departures, August saw us finally play our first competitive fixtures. First, a cup match against minnows Eichstätt. Matches against RB Leipzig, FC Augsburg and Borussia Dortmund completed the month. Let’s look back on how we started the season!

The first competitive match of the 19/20 season was one in the DFB Pokal. As is tradition, Bundesliga teams face an away trip to a team from a lower league. The draw coupled us against VfB Eichstätt from Bavaria. After an uneventful first half, and an early second-half goal for Union, the match seemed over.

However, the fourth-tier team gave Union a very tough second half. In the space of five minutes, Eichstätt went from 1-0 down to 2-1 up. An upset seemed on the cards. But after Urs Fischer brought on the big names that were rested for this match, Union managed to turn the match on its head once again. A quick double salvo from Swedish striker Sebastian Andersson ensured Union were spared the humiliation of first-round defeat in the DFB Pokal.

Our Bundesliga campaign started a week later, with a match against RB Leipzig. On many occasions, Unioner have protested the commercial nature of this club. This time however, the match was not preceded by protests, but rather by a display of hundreds of portraits of Union fans who are not among us anymore (see the picture at the top of this article). A beautiful tribute that shows our club is one big family.

Shortly after this display, our first match in the Bundesliga was kicked off. The first half saw an Union that was mostly pushed back by a high-pressing Leipzig. However, the Bulls did not manage to really test Gikiewicz owing to impressive work by our defence.

In the second half, Union managed to break out more and more. One of those quick breaks resulted in a good counter attack in the 66th minute. After regaining the ball, Gogia found Bülter. Our left-winger then used his pace to create space for a cross, finding the head of Julius Kade with a good high ball. The youngster rose above the Leipzig defence to head the ball into the net in front of the Leipzig fans: 1-0 to Union!

The last 25 minutes of the match were tense, as Union had to get stuck in to preserve their 1-0 lead, even going down to 10 men after 88 minutes. In the end, the efforts of Leipzig to break down Union proved futile. First match, first win against all odds. The Unioner in the stadium were ecstatic, and rightfully so.

After this perfect opening match, Union travelled to the far south of the country with plenty of confidence, to face FC Augsburg. This showed on the pitch, as our pride started brightly, creating their first major chance after only 7 minutes. A period of dominant football from FCU followed. The team rewarded itself for this in the 25th minute: right-back Ryerson found himself in a lot of space, which allowed him to give a perfect cross that was headed home by Marius Bülter.

This goal prompted Urs Fischer to play more passive and defensive football, as Union sought to contain Augsburg. However, this plan failed as Augsburg managed to equalise through André Hahn just before half-time.

In the second half, our trainer and his boys seemed content with a point away from home. Both Augsburg and Union created no big chances, meaning the dull second half ended as it had started: 1-1. A decent result for Union, who had now picked up four points from their first two matches.

Matchday three pitted Union against Bundesliga giants Dortmund. The away side fielded many creative, dynamic players, with Urs Fischer relying upon Union’s physical dominance to counter this threat. A first half in which BVB were able to exploit their pace advantage over FCU followed: starlet Haaland scored twice following quick breaks by Dortmund, while Sancho completed the first-half humiliation for Union by scoring a good goal after a skillful solo.

After BVB scored the 0-4 in the 61st minute, the chanting faded away from the home terraces as many Unioner seemed disillusioned. They saw that Union gave it their all, but were still completely dominated by a much more efficient Dortmund side. Had they overestimated the qualities of their own team?

However, Union’s efforts were rewarded late on in the match, as substitute striker Anthony Ujah scored twice in quick succession. In their efforts to score the Anschlußtor (the goal before the equalising goal), FCU gave away a lot of space, allowing BVB to break out and score the 2-5 from a penalty. Immediately after the penalty was taken, referee Hartmann ended the match. Despite the heavy loss, our players were celebrated as heroes by the fans in the stadium. No matter what, you always support your family.

After an eventful first month, Union can be proud of the four points they picked up in two difficult home games, and a difficult away game. We look forward to what September will bring our team, and hope we can stay clear of the relegation zone!

You got Haaland in one of his days, there is no stopping it. So don't beat yourself up.

About time: it was predictable that RBL would stumble when facing a real community club

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