0

Hertha BSC – End of Season Report

Let’s get this off to a start by saying that I have been exceptionally lazy at writing stuff on here since the end of the Hinrunde, I have already made a promise to myself that next season, I will resume doing weekly updates. Whether or not that comes to fruition remains to be seen and whether or not anyone other than myself actually cares, is probably already very clear. Anyway, we are now approaching the end of the season and the start of World Cup fever is well and truly setting in, there are still a few more games to be played in the lower echelons of the Berlin pyramid but with regard to the big two, their seasons reached a rather tired climax over the weekend. Neither Hertha BSC or 1.FC Union will be massively upset with their league finishes but there is no doubt that there is massive need for improvement from both clubs if they are going to build on the excellent foundations that they already have in place. First off, here is a summary of the season just gone for the Old Lady from the West.

Image

For Hertha BSC, the season began in emphatic fashion. Drunk on promotion euphoria and the renewed sense of optimism and excitement that comes with it, the Alte Dame got off to a flying start to the campaign, recording 7 points from their first 3 games and chalking up some impressive results and performances in the process, the crowning moment being a thumping 6 – 1 annihilation of Eintracht Frankfurt on the opening day of the season. Fantastic performances against the likes of Bayern Muenchen and Bayer Leverkusen saw them narrowly (and in the case of the former, undeservedly) defeated. As well as they started, a lack of consistency was the biggest issue for the Herthaner this season. Whereas one week they were able to travel to Dortmund and take 3 points against the eventual 2nd placed side, the next they would bumble around, giving the ball away in the middle of the park, not creating anything and eventually getting stuffed by the likes of eventually relegated 1.FC Nuernberg. Next season, reinforcements have to made in the attacking department, Saturdays game versus Borussia Dortmund saw Colombian World Cup representative and centre forward Adrian Ramos, don the famous blue and white stripes for the final time before making a big move across the country to the Westfalenstadion. His contribution has been of upmost importance to ensuring Hertha BSC’s Bundesliga status, scoring 16 and setting up 9 of the teams 42 goal tally for the season. There is not a doubt about it; this is one hell of a big gap to fill next term and one that can’t be filled with inexperience. It is also of great concern that the other strikers on the books have only mustered 14 goals between the 3 of them in the entire campaign which points to either a system built around Ramos or a massive lack in depth, evidence points to there being a very strong case for both arguments. Further to the worrying lack of goals in a Ramos-less Hertha side, they are also in dire need of some creativity in the Midfield. Whereas last season, they were able to rely on the fan favourite and all-round good guy, Ronny, to create something out of nothing, set up a lot of goals and also record top scorer status from Midfield. There is no doubt about it but this year, he has really struggled to step up to the plate and replicate the exceptional 2.Bundesliga campaign in the top flight. He has only scored 4 times and set up 4 goals which is of great concern to the Hertha faithful and does raise question marks over whether or not he is fit enough, consistent enough or maybe even good enough to perform at the highest level and as to where they are going to find somebody to play the role of last seasons Ronny.

All in all, I think the season for Hertha can be summed up very simply. It’s been inconsistent and frustrating; for every emphatic 6-1 destruction of a side, there is a drab 0-0 with a relegation struggler to provide some balance, for every moral-boosting and high quality away victory against a Champions League finalist, there is a disheartening and flat loss to a far lesser side just around the corner and for every dogged, hard-working and undeserved loss to the eventual league winners, there is an uninterested, demotivating and down-right boring performance against another of the sides who seemingly seem to serve that type of dross up on a regular basis. I think this inconsistency is reflected in their 12th place finish, they spent the whole season always looking slightly too good to be sucked in to yet another unthinkable relegation battle but never good enough to actually mount any form of assault on the Europa League spots that were not too much of an unrealistic goal considering some of the players they have and the encouraging start to the campaign. They need to go away this summer and reflect upon some of the season’s positive moments and take what they can from these sparkles of hope, whilst at the same time creating a culture of consistency and ensuring that they can take points in some of the games against the leagues lesser sides. If they can focus on this and reinforce the squad in the right areas, they stand a chance of improving on this term but it must be noted by Lukuhay and the Ostkurve that a combination of a failure to address the very obvious issues and a poor transfer window, could see Hertha embroiled in yet another fight for top flight survival.

League Position – 12th

Player of the Season – Adrian Ramos – dynamic, cultured and a clinical finisher. It will be interesting to see how he fares in a side in which he is not the only creator and goal scorer.

Average Home Attendance: 51,889 – massively skewed by the tendency for a big away following in the Hauptstadt but for a mid-table side, impressive nonetheless.

Atmosphere: A stark contrast to the depressing, cold soulless bowl I was used to visiting in the 2.Bundesliga. Higher attendances, bigger away followings and some occasional moments of success meant that this time out, the efforts of the Ostkurve filled the vast expanses of the Olympiastadion

Highlight of the Season: Going to Borussia Dortmund and winning 2-1. Only 3 other teams can claim to have achieved that this year and that is something the Herthaner can be proud of.

Advertisements
0

Hertha BSC, 1.FC Union Berlin and Regionalliga Nordost – Hinrunde Progress Report

This time last season, I’d hit a bit of a dead end. Having moved here alone due to my job, possessing minimal German language skills and knowing absolutely nobody in the city, I had decided to use football at all levels as a thinly veiled cover-up for getting pissed, a vain attempt to meet likeminded people and of course a remedy for the massive Arsenal and Brentford shaped holes that had appeared in my life. Just as I was gaining some momentum in most of these areas, the bastard snow came down and the football calendar was, by and large, put on hiatus for what seemed like an eternity but was in reality only a few months. Although this is still something that is of great concern to me, I have to say that after standing among the Gluehwein drinking masses in the driving wind at Empor v TeBe a couple of weeks back and after losing the feeling in my toes in Zehlendorf on Saturday, I am more than ready for it this year and following the games last weekend, my weekends are now going to be dedicated to other important things such as the mouthwatering Premier League calendar, The Darts and some of the array of Hallenturnier that will take place across the city.

So, it’s Winterpause o’clock and here’s to hoping that this season it remains within the given timeframe. Of course, when it comes to the prolonged winter that often plagues this city or the heavy handed approach given by the Amt responsible for keeping sport pitches open, no promises can be made by the BFV or the DFB, however, we can all say a collective prayer to the weather gods and keep our fingers and toes firmly crossed for the duration.

Aside from giving us fans and geeks a bit of respite from the cold weather, the Winterpause also gives players and managers a chance to reflect on what has been achieved (or not achieved) and what can be maintained or built upon when the Rueckrunde kicks off in February.

Here is my report on the season so far for the Berlin teams in the top 4 tiers; this will be followed later in the week with an Oberliga and BerlinLiga round up.

I am also very aware that Hertha and Union still have a game left but I’m off back to England at the weekend so won’t get the chance to add anything to what I’ve already seen so far this season.


Hertha BSC

Image

Last season, there were few more depressing places to watch football than the Olympiastadion. Friday night games against the giants of Ingolstadt and FSV Frankfurt in front of less than 35,000 supporters, who clearly would have rather been anywhere else but there, gave a poor first impression and generally left me feeling both emotionally and literally frozen.

The feeling around the place seems to have changed quite a lot and rightly so, the attendances are up, the quality of the football is improving and the atmosphere is now even close to rivalling the scenes that take place in Koepenick.

This has been largely down to a surprisingly solid return to top flight football. There is no denying that they’ve struggled against the bigger sides in the league and have had a few runs in which they’ve failed to score any goals for prolonged periods of time but you can’t take away from them their league position and the fantastic early season form that saw them only lose 1 game out of the first 10.

With one game to go before the Winterpause hits the top division, Hertha currently find themselves sitting just outside of the UEFA Cup spots in 7th position.

I think a lot of positives can be taken from the first half of the season but a sense of cautious optimism must be kept in mind amongst the players and the fans who will be all too aware of how their team has a refined knack for inconsistency and how the bottom half of the table is all too close for comfort. If they keep their minds in the right place though, a respectable mid-table finish can be achieved and they can begin to look forward to building upon this and remaining in what is seen as their rightful home in the Bundesliga.

League Position – 7th

Predicted League Finish – 11th

Player of the Hinrunde – Adrian Ramos

Average Home Attendance: 52,352

Highlight of the Season so far: a 6-1 opening day of the season destruction of Eintracht Frankfurt

1.FC Union Berlin

Image

If you’d have asked any fan of 1.FC Union back in August how they’d want their side to be sitting come this stage of the season , the usual response would be somewhere between not giving a shit as long as they weren’t disgraced and building upon last seasons relatively impressive 7th place finish. Of course some propaganda about collectivism and atmosphere being the top priority would have followed this but despite the thoughts of some fans, this is something that will not be lost in the Alte Foersterei any time soon and the St Pauliisation of the club is still a long way away.

Following a sluggish opening encounter against Bochum and an away game in Bielefeld that was far from impressive, Union kicked in to life in mid-August and the side went on a 6 game unbeaten run sending them to the unimaginable heights of 1st place in the 2.Bundesliga. Similar to Hertha, it has been the leagues big boys that have proved the biggest problem for the Koepenicker and losses at the hands of Greater Fuerth, Koeln and Kaiserslautern really put things in to perspective for them. This is by no means something for the fans of Union to get worked up about though as going in to the last game of the Hinrunde, they still sit in 5th position in the league and are only 4 points behind the 2nd automatic promotion spot. It seems to me that it’s been a season that has, so far, been a resounding success and something that everyone at the club should be very proud of (not to say that the majority of the fans wouldn’t be extremely proud of their club in any other circumstances mind you!).

Upon reconvening for the home game against Dynamo Dresden in February, Union have nothing to lose, in my eyes, they’ve done enough to remain in the top half of the table and they have enough about them to ensure that this isn’t something that will be easily taken away from them. If they continue to play as they are at the moment and continue to record victories against the divisions lesser sides and those who are, on paper, on par with themselves, the results against the bigger sides won’t matter so much and they can focus on celebrating a job well done come May.

League Position – 5th

Predicted League Finish – 7th

Player of the Hinrunde –  Thorsten Mattuschka

Average Home Attendance: 19,798

Highlight of the Season so far: the 3-2 win against St Pauli. Genuinely one of the most incredible matches I’ve ever seen buoyed by an atmosphere that sent chills down the spine.  The 2-1 victory against Fortuna Duesseldorf also deserves a mention.

Regionlliga Nordost

1.FC Union Berlin II

Image

It’s pretty fucking hard to talk about fans expectations when it comes to the Nachwuchs at 1.FC Union Berlin as there doesn’t really seem to be any at all. For a club that is so vocal in it’s support of “Verein” culture, the turnout at 2nd team games is weak and the care for the side really doesn’t seem to be there whatsoever.

All this aside, they have played pretty well so far this season and currently sit in 4th place. The side has only lost once all season and that was in a very well contested match against the current league leaders, TSG Neustrelitz.

Considering the pre-season transfer market saw them completely revamp their side with quite a few new players and a new manager, they were able to gel quickly and are playing a style of football that seems to beautifully mimic the attacking brand utilized at the Alte Foersterei for 2.Bundesliga games. This has been reflected in some of the high scoring encounters they have been involved in so far.

The team and the handful of fans that attend their matches should be very proud of how much they’ve achieved in such a short space of time and can only look continue in the same vein come February. Of course, winning the league means nothing as they would probably be unwilling to make the jump in to the 3.Liga next year (and, I believe, unable to unless the 1st team get promoted) but it does bode well for the club as a whole to have a strong group of players in reserve, plying their trade at a reasonable level of football.

League Position – 4th

Predicted League Finish – 3rd

Player of the Hinrunde–  David Hollwitz

Average Home Attendance: 425

Highlight of the Season so far: Winning 3-8 away at Germania Halberstadt which saw them score 6 times in the 2nd half

Berliner Athletik Klub 07

Image

BAK are solid club with clear ambitions of winning the race to become Berlin’s 3rd footballing power. As it stands, they are the highest ranked club outside of the “Big 2” (with the exception of Union’s 2nd team) and are slowly but surely growing themselves a solid fan base across the city, including quite a strong section of fans from other clubs who enjoy the friendly atmosphere and reasonable quality of football.

They won the hearts of many last season when they knocked Hoffenheim out of the DFB Pokal but this season the focus has been fully on the league and despite starting very strongly, their form has started to tail off somewhat and they now sit in 5th place.

Starting the season on an unbeaten run of 10 games, BAK really looked as if they were the team to beat. They have, however, had some relatively poor results of late including back to back losses at the hands of TSG Neustrelitz, VFC Plauen and Wacker Nordhausen. Recording these results going in the Winterpause is a far from ideal situation and the players and fans will be hoping that there side can come back rejuvenated for the “Derby” against Viktoria in February and that the team can start the Rueckrunde in the same emphatic fashion as they did at the beginning of this season.

League Position – 5th

Predicted League Finish – 3rd

Player of the Hinrunde  –  Christian Siemund

Average Home Attendance: 1,208 in the Poststadion

Highlight of the Season so far: Winning 3-1 against Magdeburg in the Friedrich Ludwig Jahnsportpark

FC Viktoria 1889 Berlin Lichterfelde-Tempelhof e.V

Image

Still the football club with the catchiest name in Berlin, FV1BLTEV came in to this season with high hopes and ambitions to rival BAK for that much coveted “3rd Power” title. Formed after a merger between the Traditionsverein FC Viktoria Berlin and the well set up Lichterfelder FC 1892, the club have an enviable mix of history and infrastructure that was supposed to set them in good stead for the season(s) ahead.

In terms of the football, the FV1BLTEV experiment has spluttered and stuttered in to action and has not quite reached the exciting level that the founders of the fusion club would have hoped to have been able to attain in order to grow the supporter base of this new club. Their home form has been particularly disappointing and they’ve been unable to win once at Stadion Lichterfelde throughout the Hinrunde which is not ideal for a new club looking to bolster their home support.

Currently sitting firmly in mid-table, the season has been neither massively disappointing nor any good. They managed to achieve the bizarre record of drawing 9 out of the first 15 games which, depending on how you look at it, can be seen as an indicator of their defensive resilience and ability to hold out the opposition or as a failure of their strikers and their inability to close off games.

I think it is probably a case of “what could have been” for Thomas Herbst’s side and it will be hard for them not to dwell on the fact that a lot of these draws will be viewed as points dropped rather than gained, particularly as their 3 wins have come against 3 of the leagues bottom 4 sides. Aside from this, it’s not a terrible first showing in the Regionalliga for the new club and they can be encouraged by the fact that they’ve only lost 3 matches all season. This, coupled with the fact that Hertha II and Lok Leipzig are already finding themselves cut adrift at the bottom of the table, should be enough to ensure that they will have a place in the Regionalliga Nordost and with that, a platform to build upon come the end of this season.

League Position – 11th

Predicted League Finish – 14th

Player of the Hinrunde –  Uemit Ergirdi

Average Home Attendance: 809

Highlight of the Season so far: The 1-2 away victory in the Amateurstadion against the Hertha BSC II team

Hertha BSC II

Image

Considering last seasons impressive 6th place finish, you’d have been forgiven for thinking that this was a side that would be at least in the running for a top half finish and potentially more. Well, as we reach the halfway stage it’s got to be said that they have been far from impressive and have limped in to the Winterpause with only 8 points, having only been out of the relegation zone once all season.

With only 2 victories all season, it’s hard to take many positives out of the overall situation that they find themselves in. In order to remain in the division next term, the second half of the season has to see some dramatic improvement and results against the other teams who find themselves at the wrong end of the table are going to be vital and decisive to their league position come May.

The only positive that can be taken out of it is that attendances are up and have increased for the 2nd year running. It’s hard to see how this will be maintained if the results keep going in the wrong direction.

League Position – 15th

Predicted League Finish – 15th

Player of the Hinrunde –  Fabian Holland

Average Home Attendance: 550

Highlight of the Season so far: a 5-2 home victory against a recently relegated SV Babelsberg 03 side is undoubtedly the best performance and result of their season so far

 

Photos are included with thanks to Ian at No Dice Magazine (www.facebook.com/nodicemagazine)

0

Weekend Preview

FBL-EUR-C1-DORTMUND-ARSENAL
Afternoon and apologies for the irrelvant photo of the greatest man that ever lived, I haven’t quite calmed down from Wednesday night yet. In the last week I’ve been on an International break with a football-beer-herb holiday to The Netherlands. We took in games at Almere City and Amsterdam FC but the highlight was the Spakenburg Derby. For anyone who has not heard of this fixture before, it’s quite possibly the most delightfully strange excuse for a piss-up and a dig at your neighbours that football has to offer. Spakenburg is a village in the north of the country with only 20,000 inhabitants and 2 football clubs. On Derby Day, everyone takes a side and nearly half of the village pack in to either the stadium of Spakenburg FC or IJsselmeervogels. Last Saturday saw the latter mentioned side hosting the match in a “Rood v Blauw” battle for local supremacy. The football was pretty awful with neither side really getting a foothold on the game but the real spectacle took place in the stands and on the pitch before the game. Only in the lower depths of European Football could you find something so bizarre it makes even a hardened follower of the BerlinLiga question their sanity. In the build up to the game, we were treated to the wonderful scene of a group of Smurfs (the derogatory nickname for “Die Blauwen” given to them by the ‘Vogels), being chased around the pitch by a giant Chicken and a priest. Seriously, baffling stuff but bloody good fun to watch nonetheless. Unfortunately, due to a few too many Jupilers the night before, I was unable to attend the post-match party but the members of our group who went have been singing Dutch-Gabba-Schlager and shouting “Ik hatte smurfen” ever since the game finished so I can only assume it was craziness in it’s highest form. Basically, every one should already be booking their flights and hotels for the return leg. Possibly the best derby in the world.  Here is a little taster of the weirdness courtesy of YouTube.

Image

Anyway, that is all besides the point as its only bloody Friday again and it is nearly time for another weekend of excess fussball, bier und wurst consumption and to make matters better it’s a Friday night with a floodlit BerlinLiga game. I love Fridays at the best of times but love them even more when Tennis Borussia Berlin are playing as it means I get to rant about them on here without feeling at all biased and get to spend an evening drinking beer in the best possible surroundings with some of the finest people in this city. Last time I wrote a preview on a TeBe game (or at all for that matter), it was in the build up to the SFC Stern 1900 away game and I may have confidently (and maybe a bit arrogantly) predicted that since improving the discipline of the side, TeBe had started to look like real title contenders and that there was some sort of belief amongst both the fans and the players. Well, 3 red cards and 2 losses later, it is safe to say that I had completely misjudged the situation. The Stern game was a complete farce from start to finish and the ill-discipline displayed by Fabien Thokomeni and Tom Kirstein was typical of a team that has, once again, failed to learn from their mistakes. This stupidity and complete lack of professionalism was compounded further as TeBe saw Daniel Bongartz dismissed early on in last Sundays 0-1 defeat at the hands of TSV Rudow. All this aside, they will be looking to bounce back tonight and use the increased atmosphere a Friday night game at the Mommse brings to get back to winning ways. Tonight’s guests are Fuechse Reinickendorf Berlin who currently sit in 13th position in the BerlinLiga table. The Foxes struggled to get off to a good start but will be very encouraged by their performances of late recording 13 points from their last 5 games. In all honesty, unless TeBe have been completely bollocked by the boss and spent the last week at some sort of Football Brat Camp, I can’t see passed the away side getting a result and effectively halting TeBe’s title ambitions. To go from contenders to mid-table obscurity in the space of 3 weeks would be a real shame but they can’t blame anyone but themselves and they will have to go along way to redeem them selves this evening. The game takes place at the Mommsenstadion (nearest S-Bahn – Messe Sud) and kick off is at 19.00pm.

Image

Tomorrow, there is, for some reason far less games than usual across the city and if I can muster the courage to drag myself out of my inevitably hungover pit, I will be heading along to Rotation Prenzlauer Berg against TUS Makkabi II, however, the game of the day takes place the Stadion An Der Alten Foersterei (nearest S-Bahn – Koepenick) as 1.FC Union Berlin will be looking to record yet another home victory following their 4-0 away defeat at the hands on 1.FC Koeln on Monday evening. Still riding high in the league, there is no disgrace in the Koepenicker losing to the best side in the division and the fans, players and the club as a whole can be very proud that they have been able to maintain their high flying start and still sit in 2nd place in the league. The only cause for concern for Uwe Neuhaus and his side is that the recent games they have lost have been against the other teams who are fighting for promotion. These results aside, they are still in a commanding position within the league and tomorrows match gives them a fantastic chance to add 3 valuable points to their tally. This is not to say that KSC won’t put up a challenge though, they have been a bit of a surprise package in their first season back in the 2.Bundesliga currently sitting in 5th place in the league and on a run of 3 games without a loss. They will also be well backed in numbers and in noise tomorrow as their fan freundschaft with Hertha BSC usually swells the KSC away following for games in the Hauptstadt. The game kicks off at 13:00pm and there are still limited tickets available in all areas of the stadium.

Image

Sunday sees a nearly full BerlinLiga calendar as well as mouthwatering ties in the Regionalliga, Oberliga and beyond. The top game of the day takes place at the Ernst-Reuter Sportfeld (nearest U-Bahn – Onkel Toms Hutte) as Berlin Liga leaders Hertha 03 Zehlendorf welcome 2nd placed Sparta Lichtenberg, one of the most surprising teams to be included in a top of the table duel. Hertha 03 are certainly the team to beat this season and have scored more goals than anyone else in the division. Currently, 03 are on a run of 5 straight wins in all competitions and have only lost once all season. I can’t deny for a second that with the stadium they have and the team currently signed up, that they would do very well in the Oberliga and if they can keep this run going in the Winterpause, it would be very hard to see passed them lifting the trophy come May. Sunday’s guests are enjoying their time in the BerlinLiga since being promoted from the Landesliga last year and they have managed to record 8 victories in the process. There is no doubt that they fully deserve their high-flying status but they won’t mind me saying that tomorrow will be the sternest test they have faced thus far. Kick off is at 14.00pm.

So, thanks for reading and apologies for waffling on, the Friday caffeine rush and anticipation for the weekend does get the better of me from time to time. Good luck to all the teams involved this weekend and as always, I hope that you enjoy yourself at whatever games you end up at.

Viel Spass!

Photos are included with thanks to Ian at No Dice (www.facebook.com/nodicemagazine) and Felix at Groundhopping Etc. (www.facebook.com/groundhoppingetc)

0

Club and Stadium Report: BSV Eintracht Mahlsdorf

Image
Better late than never (work over football is something I have never quite been able to understand), here is the next Club and Stadium report from the many I have got along to so far this season. A couple of months back, I undertook a two match Ost-Berlin Sunday which ended up at a very one-sided match between todays profiled club. Eintracht Mahsldorf and VfB Hermsdorf. Here is a report on their Am Rosenhag home and the history of their club.

The (brief) History

originally founded in 1896 as a Gymnastics club, BSV Eintracht Mahlsdorf is one of the oldest recorded sport clubs in Berlin. It was not until 1912 that they opened their Footballing division, although this did not see them partake in any competitive matches as the fledgling sides progress was rudely interrupted by the outbreak of the First World War. From 1916 onwards, they were more heavily involved in football and since then it has been one of the most important sports for the overall association. Since the end of the Second World War, Mahlsdorf have consistently had a football division and during the decade following the end of the war, they played some high profile Berlin Cup games including wins against the once prestigious Hertha 03 Zehlendorf and Spandauer SV.

During the DDR years, the club was known as Medizin Lichtenberg, Medizin Marzahn and also Medizin Berlin and they were playing their football at the lower levels of the stated structured footballing pyramid.
Following the collapse of the DDR, they reverted back to their original name of Eintracht Mahlsdorf and in the following years, they have now formed as a club independent of the overall BSV Eintracht Mahlsdorf sports club. Currently they have over 300 members across multiple different age groups, meaning that they are well represented across the Berlin football landscape. Today, the first team sit in the BerlinLiga and despite a fantastic start to the season; recent results have meant that they have lost the top spot.

Image

 The Stadium

Desolate, bleak, cold and exposed are all words that can be used to describe the home of BSV Eintracht Mahlsdorf. With 2 pitches, one grass, one artificial they are equipped to deal with matches even in the winter. The grass pitch is a simple affair, surrounded by a running track. There is no stand to speak of and the chances of catching pneumonia or drowning on a rainy afternoon are very high. Best place to stand is, obviously, in close quarters to the Beer and Grill as, if I am honest, there is very little else to take in when it comes to the stadium (aside from top-end BerlinLiga action, of course).
With regards to the artificial pitch, it is also another rather bleak affair with not a lot to speak of in terms of Stadium architecture or cover. I genuinely don’t think even the most hardened of Groundhopper could find a reasonable excuse to attend a game here in the depths of winter.

The Way

As well as being desolate in terms of the Stadium, it’s also as close as you can get to the Ost-Side of Brandenburg whilst still remaining in Berlin meaning that it is a bit of mission in comparison to other grounds in the city. There are a few ways to get there and it largely depends on where you are coming from. If you are coming from Alexanderplatz, it is possible to take a 26 minute S-Bahn journey directly to S-Bhf Mahlsdorf which is a 10 minute walk away from the stadium located on Melanchthonstrasse (exit on to Hoenower Strasse and turn right on to Am Rosenhag, the ground is on the corner of Melachthonstrasse and Am Rosenhag). This is probably the best and most efficient route. I made the mistake of taking the M6 tram all the way back from the ground through the never-ending concrete jungle that is Marzahn-Hellersdorf. Unless you are a fan of long winded tram journeys through increasingly desolate and depressing (no offence, local residents!) areas of town then I would not advise this route in the slightest.

The Food

Not a great deal on offer in the stadium when we visited but you could grab a Bratwurst for €2 from the grill. Further to this, they also have an extensive menu on offer in the Clubhouse. Example from there is Schnitzel and Fries for €7.50 and Boulette and Potato Salad also priced at €7.50.

The Drink

0.4l of Radeberger is available for €2.40. They also have a selection on behind the bar and this includes Berliner Pilsner (0,5 from the tap €2.70), Meininger Pilsner (0,4 from the tap for €1.50) and Erdinger Hefeweizen (0,5l bottle for €2.20)
The Tax

€6 for full paying adults.

The Fixture List
http://community.fussball.de/de/verein_ergebnisse/bsv-eintracht-mahlsdorf/66011361.html

 

 

Photos are included with thanks to Ian at No Dice Magazine (www.facebook.com/nodicemagazine) 

0

Weekend Preview

It has been a while since I have written anything on here, the reason being that I had a sudden realisation as to just how much of my life is consumed by football thinking too deeply about it, too much of the time. That and the  small fact that my boss took some level of objection to me using company time to write about the lower levels of Berlin football, I mean, what sort of person would not totally and wholeheartedly understand my reasons and needs for doing this? Some people eh?! 

Anyway, since my last blog a lot has happened in the world of Berlin football and the BerlinLiga is really heating up again and is shaping up to be as close as last seasons final table. At the moment, just 4 points separate the top 9 in the league and already the pulses are racing and the thoughts of fans and managers are turning to “what might be come May”. If like myself, you spend a great deal of your time talking with fans of the clubs and über-fans of the league, everyone will tell you that the unthinkable is possible and the dizzy heights of the Oberliga and away games in Altludersdorf really aren’t that far out of reach, even for some of the smaller teams currently embroiled in the top of the table battle. It may be too early in the season and far too close a league to make any predictions but I feel that having watched as many games as I have so far this season (over 25 in this league alone) that I am entitled to at least an educated guess as to how it could pan out. My thoughts are that despite the solid start to the season, Eintracht Mahlsdorf are a fading force and the fragilities of their once solid defensive line are becoming more apparent. This was evident last week at the Mommsenstadion where TeBe were able to slice through them like the birthday cakes being consumed in great volume on the terraces. This leaves it to one of the chasing pack to mount an assault on Mahlsdorf’s early season prowess and my prediction lies with either Hertha 03 Zehlendorf or TeBe. Hertha 03 were the most active side in the league over the summer, signing just about anyone with a bit of class looking for an out from one of the leagues lesser sides. They have looked solid and somewhat unbeatable so far this season and have not been shy in front of goal. Currently sitting in 2nd, they have a superior goal difference compared to everyone except for Mahlsdorf and have won every single game since the beginning of September.  TeBe are, however, a resurgent force,  a few weeks back there was a lot of discontent amongst the E-Block faithful and a sense that the team could be more focussed and disciplined was felt around the Mommsenstadion, in the pub and across the internet. They’ve bounced back very well from a couple of minor hiccups at the beginning of the season and are now unbeaten in both league and cup competition since the 1st of September. This, in my eyes, has been down to a renewed sense of togetherness between fans and players which coupled with some fantastic performances from Robert Scholl, Hamdi Chamki, Alexander Kynass and that man, Micha Fuss has meant that TeBe really do look a force to be reckoned with. I also believe there could be some tenuous link to an article written by No Dice following the loss to Hermsdorf (http://www.nodicemagazine.com/2013/09/23/hermsdorf-harmony-offers-lesson-to-toiling-tebe/) in which the downfalls of TeBe were heavily examined. They’ve improved in every area discussed since it was published.

So, ramblings on the past aside, it’s time to look ahead to the weekend in which we see another full and exciting fixture list across the city.

Tonight, the aforementioned title challengers, Hertha 03 Zehlendorf welcome TUS Makkabi to the Ernst Reuter Sportfeld (Nearest U-Bhf – Onkel-Toms-Hutte – U3) in a top v bottom BerlinLiga clash. Tus Makkabi have looked nothing short of dreadful in recent weeks and have currently only notched up 1 point to their tally throughout the season. With the league already shaping up to be very close at the top end of the table, the fans at Makkabi will be massively concerned about in which league they will be playing their football next season and really need to start recording some victories soon or else they could be out of it even going in to the WInterpause. Hertha 03 will be looking to continue their impressive run of form and both fans and players will be expecting nothing less than 3 points tonight. Even the most optimistic advocates of competitive football won’t be able to see passed a comprehensive home victory this evening.. Kick off is at 7.45 and entrance will, I believe, be €6. Be sure to order a Pommes Mountain as well. You will not be disappointed by quality or quantity.

Image

Tomorrow, I will, of course be visiting SFC Stern 1900 as they welcome TeBe for an overly friendly affair that usually ends in drunkenness and debauchery in the stands and the fantastic clubhouse.  This is, however, by no means the game of the day. This “accolade” goes to Berliner AK 07 as they welcome Carl Zeiss Jena to the Poststadion in a top of the table Regionalliga Nordost clash as 2nd play against 4th. BAK have started the season very well and are of the belief that they have enough, both on and off the pitch, to successfully place themselves in the national league system next term. At the moment, they are 1 point off of the lead, with a superior goal difference. They are so far unbeaten this season but face a massive test in a travelling Jena side that have only lost once so far. It should be an intriguing affair and the atmosphere and general good feeling around the club is ever-growing and a win tomorrow will go a long way to continuing the upward trend and of course, cementing themselves at the top of the table (all depending on how Neustrelitz get on away at VfB Auerbach tonight though, of course!).

Image

Finally, Sunday sees another enticing set of fixtures including a full BerlinLiga programme (with the exception of Stern v TeBe). Again though, it is the Regionalliga Nordost that provides us with the game of the day and for me, this will be at the Amateurstadion in the Olympiapark (Nearest U-Bhf – Olympiastadion – U2) as a Berlin derby of sorts takes place as FC Viktoria 1889 Berlin Lichterfelde-Tempelhof e.V (known as FV1BLTEV from here onwards) visit the Hertha BSC second team. In terms of league standings and the overall make up of the table, this game has little significance. Hertha fans have been vocal in their criticism of the 2nd team this year as they have failed to get any form of momentum behind them and currently find themselves topping the relegation zone in the division, having only recorded 6 points. FV1BLTEV, have managed to record 7 draws out of the opening 10 games. Although they can be encouraged by the fact they have only lost twice all season, their inability to convert draws in to wins is cause for concern for Thomas Herbst and his team. This Sunday should, however, offer a great chance for them to get their second win of the season so far and a bit of one-upsmanship over their West Berlin contemporaries. The game kicks of at 13.30 and is €8 in.

So, best of luck for your teams this weekend (unless you are one of the 40 Stern Supporters) and I hope that wherever you end up that the weather holds out and the beer is cheap and plentiful. Full fixture list at the bottom of the page and I should have some more Stadium Reports and Groundhop plans up over the course of the weekend.

Viel Spass!

Full Berlin Fixture List (Bundesliga – BerlinLiga)

BerlinLiga
Tonight
19:45     FC Hertha 03     –             TUS Makkabi    

Saturday
 14:30    SFC Stern 1900 –             Tennis Borussia Berlin 

Sunday
14:00     SV Tasmania Berlin        –             Füchse Berlin Reinickendorf    
14:00     SV Sparta Lichtenberg  –             Berliner SC       
14:00     SC Gatow            –             Nordberliner SC             
14:00     SC Staaken         –             SV Empor Berlin             
14:00     VfB Hermsdorf –             1.FC Wilmersdorf          
14:00     BSV Eintracht Mahlsdorf –   TSV Rudow
14:30     SF Johannisthal               –             Köpenicker SC

Bundesliga

Saturday

15:30     Bayern München            –             Hertha BSC

2.Bundesliga

Sunday

13:30     1.FC Union Berlin            –             FC Erzgebirge Aue

Regionalliga Nordost

Saturday

13:30     Berliner Athletik Klub 07             –             FC Carl Zeiss Jena

Sunday

13:30     Hertha BSC II     –             FC Viktoria 1889 Berlin
13:30     VfB Germania Halberstadt          –             1.FC Union Berlin II
13:30     SV Babelsberg 03            –             FSV Wacker Nordhausen

Oberliga

Saturday

14:00     Brandenburger SC Süd –             SV Lichtenberg 47
14:00     RSV Waltersdorf             –             Torgelower SV Greif
15:00     FSV 63 Luckenwalde      –             VSG Altglienicke

Sunday

14:00     FC Pommern Greifswald             –             BFC Dynamo
14:00     SV Altlüdersdorf             –             BSV Hürtürkel

0

It’s Friday…..

The weekend is here again and a tantalising set of fixtures lie ahead of us over the course of the next few days. It’s been an exciting start to the season across the divisions and we currently see 2 of Ost-Berlin’s big boys leading their respective divisions as 1.FC Union Berlin’s 1-0 win away in Ingolstadt last Sunday took them to the unprecedented dizzy new heights of 1st place in the 2.Bundesliga whilst BFC Dynamo stretched their winning streak to 5 games out of 5 to put them in a comfortable and commanding position at the top of the Oberliga Nord. With these facts in mind, both of these clubs feature in what must be the games of the weekend in der Hauptstadt.

It all begins tonight down in Koepenick in what is probably the biggest game in Germany this weekend, as league leaders, 1.FC Union Berlin welcome last years relegated side and early season favourites Greater Fuerth to the Alte Foeresterei. This match is, even at this early stage of a long campaign, a massive 6 pointer in the promotion stakes and will be the first great indicator for Die Eiserner as to whether they are going to be able to sustain their fantastic start to the season and really compete with some of the bigger names and bigger budgets in the division. Union will be buoyed by the fact that they have been able to grind out some hard fought wins in some very even matches and will hope that the momentum from last weekend and the inevitable noisy buzz around the ground will help them to push on and continue with a home performance in the same vein as the home victories against St Pauli and Fortuna Duesseldorf.  Team news at the moment is that Union will be without 2 first team players this evening as Mario Eggiman and Björn Jopek are still out with long term injuries. Otherwise, they are at full strength and will know that on their day, in front of a packed home crowd, they are very well set up to beat anyone. The fun starts at 18.30 and the game takes place at the beautiful Stadion An der Alten Försterei (https://berlinhopper.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/club-and-stadium-report-1-fc-union-berlin/) Tickets should be available at the Union Tanke although it is advised to get down their early as the top of the league fever is likely to make this game a sell out. If you fancy a beer with an international crowd, there is a large group of people from England and Sweden including myself meeting in the Abseitsfalle before and after the game.

After this evenings antics, it is hard to imagine what sort of state I will be in come the morning but what better tonic for a hangover is there than a trip to the lovely and characterful Hans-Zoschke Stadion, home of SV Lichtenberg 47. Tomorrow, “Siebenvierzig” welcome BFC Dynamo who, as mentioned earlier, are on a fantastic run of form and really are the team to beat in this seasons Oberliga Nord. At this stage of the season, it is hard to see passed Volkan Ulic’s boys in this rematch of last seasons Berliner Pokal final. The home side have struggled to get out of the blocks as quickly as they would have hoped for and have so far struggled to replicate last season’s heroics under the recently departed Daniel Volbert. With only one win under their belt,  Lichtenberg need to start picking up points soon if they are to push themselves in to a top of the table battle as opposed to a scrap for relegation. One talking point tomorrow will be the return of last season’s best player and for me, one of the best young talents in Berlin football at the moment, Lukas Rehben. A favourite at 47 last term, Rehben is a tricky little player with bags of pace and he has been sorely missed by Lichtenberg in the opening few games. It will be very interesting to see how he performs against his former club but one can only expect a warm welcome for last season’s player of the year. Dynamo’s excellent form is well documented so far and with a solid defensive unit only conceding 3 goals so far this season, they really are on track to find themselves in the already Berlin dominated Regionalliga Nordost next year. Football aside, we should expect a good day out at the Zoschke tomorrow as BFC Dynamo have seen crowds soar this season and I can’t see the short trip from Hohenschoenhausen to Lichtenberg being much of an issue for the hardened, vocal and dedicated following in Weinrot-Weiss. The match kicks off at 14:00 and takes place at the Hans-Zoschke Stadion (nearest S-Bahn/U-Bahn – Frankfurter Allee or Magadalenastrasse).

Finally this weekend, with the risk of sounding like a broken record, Tennis Borussia Berlin make the trip up to the VfB Hermsdorf in a BerlinLiga clash on Sunday afternoon. After last Friday nights fantastic win at home to Staaken, TeBe really are looking like a very formidable side and I truly feel, despite the inherent pessimism in Eichkamp, that they are one of the favourites to lift the BerlinLiga trophy. Similarly to Union, they do need to play one of the other top sides in the division to really prove themselves but in the meantime, if Mickey Fuss keeps banging them in, Fabien Thokomeni keeps bombing down the wing and delivering beautiful crosses and Alexander Kynass keeps putting up a massive, attractive, human barrier in front of the goal, TeBe will do no harm to their promotion dreams. Following last weekends thumping 5-0 defeat at the hands of league leaders Eintracht Mahlsdorf, the Arsenal lookalikes from Hermsdorf will be looking to right so many wrongs and get their campaign back on track. They were truly awful last time out and managed to completely lose focus after the first goal had gone in. If they perform like that again, it could be a long hard and potentially devastating season for the BerlinLiga’s longest serving club but as any league regular can tell you, it is a very open division where anyone can genuinely beat anyone else so although last weekend they were absolutely deplorable to watch, it’s impossible to say what type of Hermsdorf side will turn up on Sunday. The game kicks off at 14:00 and will take place at the Seebadstrasse Stadion (nearest S-Bahn – Berlin-Hermsdorf).

So, as always, I wish you a great weekend of football action and hope that wherever you get to that the weather holds out and the goals are as free flowing as the beer.

Viel Spass!

0

Club and Stadium Report: FC Internationale Berlin 1980

For the first time since starting this blog, I have decided to delve even deeper in to the Berlin league pyramid and on Saturday, I had the pleasure of sitting in sunny Schoeneberg and taking in a Landesliga clash between FC Internationale and Mariendorfer SV. The home side won 4-1 in what was a surprisingly high tempo and free flowing affair. Here is the profile of their club and stadium.

Image

The History

Formed in 1980, FC Internationale was set up initially as a statement against the growing commercialization of football in Berlin and Germany as a whole and were founded on the principles of playing for sportsmanship and fun. Since this date, the first team have floated between the Kreisliga, Bezirkliga and most recently the Landesliga, in which they currently compete. The club have 900 members from more than 38 nations, a make up that truly reflects their name. Finally, they are also known for taking a tough stand against racism and recently combined their anti-commercial principles with their anti-racist stance when they waived their shirt sponsorship in favour of the simple slogan of “No Racism”. In 2013, they won the Integration Prize from the DFB and this is a true honour and a testament to the hard work put in by those behind the scenes.

Another article that delves slightly deeper in to the founding principles and the focus on inclusivity can be found here  http://bundesligafootball.co.uk/2013/02/a-tale-of-a-football-friendship/. This article was written by Felix at Groundhopping etc. (www.facebook.com/groundhoppingetc).

 

Image

The Stadium

Although the club have 2 stadiums, the 1st team games usually take place at the Monumentenstrasse Sportplatz in Berlin’s Schoeneberg district. Quite a simple affair, the ground has 1 side of terracing, including a few seats and then the rest is mostly just lined with grass. One thing to add of note was the quality of the pitch which was at a very high standard. There is also an artificial pitch that backs on the main stadium and is used during the bitter, Berlin winter.

Image

The Way

Take the S1 train in the direction of Potsdam to Julius Leber Bruecke. Exit the station to your left and turn on to Czeminskistrasse, walk for 450m and turn right on the Monumentenstrasse, the stadium is on your right hand side.

The Food

Good selection of meat on the grill including Bratwurst (€1.50), Sujuk (€1.50) and Steaks. I had a Bratwurst and it fell very much in to the generic Stadionwurst category. Good, necesscary but nothing special.

Image

The Beer
€1.50 for 0.3l of Veltins or €2 for 0.4l. This seemed to depend largely on what cups they had left as to which you would be charged upon placing your order.

The Tax

€5 for full paying adults, €3 for everybody else

Photos included are courtesy of Ian at No Dice Magazine (www.nodicemagazine.com and http://www.facebook.com/nodicemagazine) and Felix at Groundhopping etc. (www.facebook.com/groundhoppingetc)

0

The weekend is here. The weekend is here. THE WEEKEND IS HERE.

The wochenende has landed and I couldn’t be more thankful.  A rainy week with nothing more than a few Freizeitliga and Kreisliga games meant that I had to endure 4 whole days without going to a game. This is a difficult one for me to cope with, I must admit.

This weekend sees a full schedule of fixtures across the leagues and should enable me to get to 3 or 4 games across the 6th and 7th tiers.

The action begins tonight at the Mommsenstadion as Tennis Borussia Berlin welcome SC Staaken for a BerlinLiga game. TeBe will be keen to continue to build upon the bright, early form of this season against a Staaken side who have not really got off to the start that they would have hoped for. TeBe currently sit in 5th place in the league and are only a few points off of the lead. A win tonight will really send out a statement of intent to the rest of the league and will put them 3rd before the rest of the teams have kicked a ball this weekend. Staaken currently lie in 12th and have only managed the one win this season so far. They’ll be aware that the Mommsenstadion has not been an easy place to come for away sides over the first 4 games but will be encouraged by TeBe’s ability to throw away leads and end up drawing games. The game tonight kicks off at 19:00pm and will be taking place at the Mommsenstadion (Nearest S-Bahn: Messe Sud)

Tomorrow, I’ll be taking a look in to the 7th tier for only the 2nd time since I’ve lived here and that will be to see last weekends Berliner Pokal “giant killers”, FC Internationale in their Landesliga match against Mariendorfer SV. I don’t know a great deal about either side but am aware that Internationale were last weekend able to brush aside a Stern 1900 side who are hotly tipped for the BerlinLiga this year. They won this game 2-1 and will be in good spirits going in to tomorrow’s game. On paper, this looks like quite an evenly matched affair with Internationale currently sitting in 6th place on 7 points and Mariendorfer lieing in 7th with 6 points next to their name. The match kicks off at 13:00pm and takes place at the Monumentenstrasse Sportplatz (nearest S-Bahn: Julius-Leber-Brucke or Yorckstrasse).

Sunday, sees the possibility of a 2 game BerlinLiga  hop around the far eastern areas of the city. The fun starts at 12:00pm at as Koepenicker SC face Sparta Lichtenberg in an East v East battle. Koepenicker and Sparta were two of the sides that came up from last years Landesliga and have both managed to start strongly, overcoming any perception anyone might have had that the jump up between the 2 tiers could provide any sort of challenge. This is a real top of the table clash as it stands as 2nd place take on 3rd place. Surely this is, on paper, the game of the weekend in the BerlinLiga and the points, whoever they go to, could prove pivotal even at such an early stage of the season. The home of Koepenicker SC is at the Wendenschlossstrasse Sportplatz which is easily accessed from S-Bahnhof Koepenick by taking tram number 62 to Segewaldweg.

Straight after this game, it is possible to continue on the number 62 tram to see the league leaders, Eintracht Mahlsdorf in action against VfB Hermsdorf. Mahlsdorf have been surprisingly good this season and currently sit 3 points clear at the top of the division. They looked very organized in the match I saw them play in earlier this season and I look forward to seeing them again. Their standing in the league is testament to their goal difference, they’ve scored 18, conceding just 3 in the process so we should expect some home goals. Hermsdorf currently sit in mid-table and taking their size and budget in to account, they will be happy with the start they’ve made and will be looking to better last season’s effort of 9th place and remain in the BerlinLiga for the 16th year running. The game takes place at the Sportanlage am Rosenhag near to Melancthonstrasse in Mahlsdorf and kicks off at 15:00. It is possible to take the number 62 tram from Segewaldweg near to the KSC stadium and make a direct, 30 minute journey to S-Bahnhof Mahlsdorf which is a short walk away from the stadium.

So, whatever games you end up at this weekend, in whatever city you are in, I sincerely hope you enjoy yourselves. I know I will. I also look forward to the barrage of grammatical corrections and changes of stadium and corrections on road names, game locations and league positions. All of this is very welcome and gives me a stark reminder that other people actually do read this dross.

Viel Spass!

0

Club and Stadium Report: Tennis Borussia Berlin

Image

Following yesterdays profile on 1.FC Union, I thought it was only fair to give my other love in this city the long overdue profile that they deserve. If you are one of the 14 people who read this blog regularly or you know me personally, you’ll be aware that I love Tennis Borussia Berlin, like really fucking love them. This is a club that has genuinely made my life in Berlin even more enjoyable than it already was. It is a club where I have met some of the coolest and nicest people I know, a club which has given me both the coldest and the wettest football matches I’ve ever experienced (Turkyemispor at home, SCC Charlottenburg at home), a club where the fans dedication and passion to some pretty dire football is unique and a club that has given me an excuse to explore the deepest recesses of Brandenburg for some pre-season friendlies. The openness and welcoming nature of the support is second to none and I personally find it physically impossible not to enjoy myself at the Mommsenstadion or when travelling around the other grounds in the city with TeBe. So, here is the extremely biased profile of by far the greatest team, Berlin has ever seen…. LILA-WEISSE!!!!!!

Image

The History

This may seem like a bit of a cop out for the 2nd day running but when there is such a good history, auf Englisch, already written on the website, I think it is slightly pointless for me with all of my 1 years of knowledge to try and explain to you the history of a club who have been in existence for more than a century. If anybody knows who wrote this history, please let me know so they can be credited as it is a truly fantastic and concise piece of work.

A link to this can be found below.

http://www.tebe.de/history.html

Image

The Stadium

The Mommsenstadion is an odd one. Massive for its league, it does unfortunately seem very empty on even the busiest of match days. The stadium holds 15,000 people (11,500 according to the Fussballmafia), 1800 of which are in the rather grand looking old seated tribune. With attendances currently sitting at between 200 and 400 (by far the highest in the 6th tier) on a weekly basis, it doesn’t take a seasoned Groundhopper to work out just how desolate and soulless that can look.

TeBe have resided in the Mommsenstadion since the end of the 2nd world war and despite several attempts to move them to the Poststadion in Moabit, they still remain in what many see as their rightful Eichkamp home.

It is, like so many in Germany, plagued by being a multi-purpose stadium meaning that there is a running track and American Football posts dotted around the pitch.  All this aside though, it is definitely worth visiting for so many other reasons than the actual stadium which is, aside from the nice looking stand, pretty damn average.

Still this should not deter you from getting along to a game. Get down to the Mommsenstadion and  chat with people, listen to the array of languages being spoken on the terraces, take in  the fantastic mix of punk and alternative music being blared out over the abysmal speaker system and get involved in  the unbelievably funny multilingual and multi-tonal singing coming from the E-Block (which, I must add, is where you HAVE to stand). There is also a massive chance you’ll meet one of the many English/Half English supporters from clubs as diverse as Fulham, Brentford, Arsenal, Southend and York City who are there on an almost weekly basis.

Image

The Way

Located in deepest West Berlin, the Mommsenstadion is not the closest of grounds to the more central districts of Berlin; however, it is quite easily accessed via S-Bahn. S5 services in the direction of Spandau will lead you to Messe Sud Station. If you are lucky, there will be a few fans dotted around who you’ll be able to follow up to the Stadium. If not, just turn right outside of the station exit and continue walking through the woods. The stadium is on your right hand side.

The Food

Bratwurst , Boulette and Brezel are available from the kiosk on your left as you enter the ground and Brezel are available from the Beer stand in E-Block. Prices are around the €2.50 mark for meat and €1.50 for Brezel but I’ll need to verify that when I am next there. They are also one of the only clubs in Berlin to stock Vegetarian food but I couldn’t possibly comment on price or quality of this as I am a certified Wurst addict.

The Beer

€3.00 + €1 pfand/deposit for a 0,4 glass of Berliner. Annoyingly, the most expensive beer in the league but it is a vital ingredient for any afternoon or evening at the Mommsenstadion. Be sure to ask for a loyalty card as well, particularly if you are planning a bit of a session as 8 stamps will earn you a free beer.

Image

The Tax

€7 for an adult, €5 for a concession. €1 programmes available on the gate.

Photos included are provided with thanks to Ian at No Dice Magazine (www.nodicemagazine.com and http://www.facebook.com/nodicemagazine)

2

Club and Stadium Report: 1.FC Union Berlin

Image

Today we are profiling a club and a stadium that has the rare ability to leave me a drunken, happy and slightly broken mess every single time that I go along and that is 1.FC Union Berlin. For a Groundhopper this stadium should be put at the top of any sort of bucket list that you may have drawn up in a fit of Anorakdom.  I have been along to almost every home game in the year I have been living here and can’t see myself missing many more in the future. Und niemals vergessen…… EISERN UNION, EISERN UNION, EISERN UNION.

The History

I am fearful of writing a history here as this is a club with a rich history mirroring the chequered and divided past of this great city and I don’t think it can be trivialized in a short paragraph.

So, with this, I’ll leave this history to the “experts”.

http://www.union-berlin.com/sample-page/history/

Image

The Stadium

This stadium oozes history and character and is something that everyone involved with the club is very proud of and rightfully so. Built by the hands of the supporters, it is one of those unique things in modern football, a stadium built for the fans, by the fans and not for the growing armies of prawn bagel eaters that so often attend matches in the higher echelons of the game.

For me, the Stadion An der Alten Försterei in Berlin’s Koepenick district, is one of the most beautiful pieces of stadium architecture that there is, an opinion that is echoed by almost every single person I have been along to a game with. Despite being in the 2nd tier, there are still 3 sides of terracing, one behind the goal containing the loud, ultra block and another large stand covering 1 side of the pitch and the other goal, it is truly one of the most unique grounds that the whole of Europe, let alone Berlin, has to offer. They have recently completed the renovation of a 4th stand and this contains 3018 seats giving the stadium a real full and complete look to it. The whole setting of the stadium is perfect as well and involves a short woodland walk to enter the stadiums grounds. The facilities for making the match day experience enjoyable are also second to none. With “biergarten” style benches dotted around behind both the Sektor 2 and Sektor 3 terracing, it is quite possible to have a full day, in the ground and not feel like you’ve missed out on any of the pre and post match drinking. I could eulogise about the Stadium for a long time and could quite feasibly write a book about the thousands of reasons you need to get along there but I don’t think my ramblings can do it justice. Go along to a game. See it and feel it for yourself.
Image

Image

The Way

The nearest S-Bahnhof is Koepenick and is reachable using S3 services from Ostkreuz in the direction of Erkner. Then just follow the masses of red and white clad shirts to the Stadium via a quick pint at the Union Tanke and the Abseitsfalle which are on route to the Stadium.

The Food

The standard selection of Bratwurst and Steaks are available from Stadium and are highly recommended. These are priced at €2.50 each. Further to this, as one of the bigger clubs in the city, you are more likely to have other options including the formidable cake stall at the back of Sektor 3 which sells Quarkuelchen (little balls of warm donutty wonder) which make a very good companion when the bitter winter sets in.

The Drink

Pre match, it is advised to stop for a pint in both the Union Tanke and the Abseitsfalle. Pints in both of these are €2.50 with Veltins being sold in the Tanke and Krombacher being sold in the ‘falle. Inside the stadium, the beer facilities are exceptional. Pints are available from multiple outlets in the Stadium including people actually bringing them to you on the terrace. Pints are €3.50 in the stadium and the Beer on offer is Berliner Pilsner.

Image

The Tax

Sektor 1 – Prices for adult seats vary between €28 and €40 depending on where you sit. Unless you have to, I would not recommend paying for seats as the terracing is a fantastic experience.

Sektor 2 – €13 for a full paying adult standing ticket, €11 for a concession, €7.50 for a child

Sektor 3 – €14 for a full paying adult standing ticket, €12.50 for a concession, €8.50 for a child

Sektor 4 – €14 or a full paying adult standing ticket, €12.50 for a concession, €8.50 for a child

Tickets are available for most matches from https://www.themisweb.fr/rodwebshop/fListeManifs.aspx?idstructure=0267

Be sure also to check out www.union-berlin.com for English language ticket news.

Unless it’s the St Pauli game or an “Ostderby” against Dresden or Cottbus, it’s usually very easy to get a ticket. If people need me to help with anything or making sure that you have secured tickets then just let me know.

The Fixture List

All fixtures can be found at the link below.

http://www.fc-union-berlin.de/profis/spielplan/

Photos included within are used with great thanks to Felix from Groundhopping Etc (www.facebook.com/groundhoppingetc) and Ian from No Dice Magazine (www.nodicemagazine.com and http://www.facebook.com/nodicemagazine)