A Look Into The Rise Of Union Berlin:


We don't want Stasi swine.

That was the most famous phrase of Union Berlin fans in the derby against BFC Dynamo, a clear reference to the secret police's support for the latter, to the extent that BFC Dynamo's first team was dubbed by Union's fans "eleven pigs!" As expected, this did not go unnoticed, and those phrases were met with a number of arrests of leaders of the secret police and the ruling regime on many occasions.

As you know, football and politics are inseparable, and that applies perfectly to our story today. From the perspective of Union Berlin fans and others, BFC Dynamo was nothing but a symbol of corruption in the country, another puppet of the regime's puppets, like most of the clubs in the East, which were affiliated in one way or another with the ruling regime, some under the banner of the army, and others under the banner of Stasi.

It is likely that you have now started to sympathize with Union Berlin team, simply because that is one of our human traits; we tend, despite ourselves, to sympathize with the underdogs in their confrontations with those who have the upper hand. This is how we feel, we who have no connection to this club, and who have never been to Berlin or East Germany, so what about those who were born in that era and lived it chapter after chapter!

Those who felt excluded and rejected at that time; felt in the corners of their small field that they were at home. Union was a part of them and they were a part of it. "Union" for them was not just a club, but a true symbol of the unity of the oppressed. While BFC Dynamo was the king of Stasi, Union Berlin was the king of all and a home for every rebel against the authority of Stasi and the tricks of the regime.

Now let's jump forward a few decades, specifically five years from now. Union was competing for promotion from the second division to the Bundesliga, where it finished third in the standings behind Cologne and Paderborn, meaning that the latter two would qualify directly, postponing Union's dream for two additional matches under the system of losers' exit, in which the team scheduled a date with Stuttgart.

Union had never played in the Bundesliga, and this time the dream was closer than ever before, as the team had never reached this position before, and accordingly, this was the first time it had played in a decisive stage like this.

At first glance of the match, the expectations were not in favor of Union; Stuttgart, despite being in the sixteenth place of the Bundesliga standings, had names in their ranks that were not to be underestimated, like Benjamin Pavard, the current star of Bayern and world champion at the time, in addition to Mario Gomez and Holger Badstuber, former stars of Bayern. Since the implementation of the relegation playoff system in Germany, second division teams have only managed to win promotion twice out of 10 attempts from Bundesliga teams, the last of which was seven years prior to that match.

In the first leg, Union managed to snatch a valuable 2-2 draw, making it difficult for Stuttgart in the return match with the advantage of their away goals. A goalless draw or a draw with goals equal to each other would qualify them, and that was indeed the case in a match that, if repeated 10 times, Stuttgart would have won all of them. A goal for the guest was cancelled out and their star player, Rafal Gikiewicz, the goalkeeper for Union, was their standout performer.

A battle in which breaths were held until the last seconds, in a moment where Bayern almost killed the dream, but the fingers of Gikiewicz stopped that from happening, in a save that wrote a historic moment for Union. Then came one of the most poetic moments in Germany in the last decade.

Within seconds, the stands were empty of fans, no, they didn't leave the stadium, they all went down to the pitch in a majestic scene that perfectly befitted the magnitude of the event. The An der Alten Försterei stadium, the team's stronghold, shook like never before!

Now, we have an answer about whether it is time for the house owners to defend their house, but more on that in the next part.