Ground: Stadion An der Alten Försterei
Date: 30th October 2009
Match: Union Berlin - FSV Frankfurt 1-0 (2. Bundesliga)
Attendance: 13 519
I have been to Germany many times in my life but apart from the 2006 World Cup I had only been to one match in Germany. Considering that match was in 1987 it was certainly about time for me to go back for some football. When the Bundesliga fixtures were "fixed" a couple of weeks ago I decided to go to Berlin and the 2. Bundesliga tie between Union Berlin and FSV Frankfurt this Friday evening. I made the short flight to Berlin (Tegel) on Friday afternoon and was at my hotel by 2 pm. Two hours later I was in Köpenick, the suburb in eastern Berlin where Union Berlin are based.
Since 1920 Union Berlin have played their matches at Stadion An der Alten Försterei (Stadium near the old forester's house). When Union entered the DDR-Oberliga (top tier in East Germany) in the late 1960s the stadium needed to be expanded. The first expansion started in 1970 followed by another in the late 1970s and 1980s and increased the capacity up to 22,500. After the German reunification new laws regarding safety at stadiums meant the capacity had to be lowered to 18,000. It was obvious the stadium was not up to scratch though and after years of discussions redevelopment works could finally begin during the summer of 2008. The fans of Union Berlin played a huge part in the rebuilding of their beloved stadium and for almost a year up to 2,000 fans turned up on daily basis to help out. This meant the club saved alot of money as well as creating an even stronger bond between club and fans. Three sides of the ground, all terraced with a new roof, were rebuilt in this phase and the stadium now has a capacity of 18,950 (2,400 seats). If they can find enough money for the second phase a new 3,800 all-seated main stand will be built during 2010.
The atmosphere before and during the game was suberb and even if the match itself wasn´t the best this was great Friday entertainment for me. One noticable difference to all my trips to England was that in Germany fans are allowed to drink beer in the stands, and they for sure did that at An der Alten Försterei! Union Berlin won by the only goal and as I made my way back to Köpenick station I could look back on a memorable evening and a visit to a really nice ground.
....und niemals vergessen EISERN UNION !
Rear of the North Stand
View of play
View of An der Alten Försterei