Club History

1906 - 1910

From F.C. Olympia to Union 06 Oberschöneweide

In 1906, a group of young footballers and friends of Excelsior FC came together to form FC Olympia behind a school on today's Plönzeile, around four kilometres from the Stadion An der Alte Försterei. The original club colours were black and yellow. But after only a short time, the club was disbanded.

Soon afterwards, a bunch of close friends founded Lichtenberger S.C as a third club in the region which was divided. It was not sustainable for all three clubs to exist, so members of Olympia, Exelcisor and Lichtenberger joined forces on 17 June 1906 at the “Großkopf” restaurant on Luisenstrasse to form Olympia Oberschöneweide.

About a month later, the club was connected with B.T.U. FC Helgoland 1897, a youth club nearby. From July 22nd 1906, it was renamed “Klub B.T. und F.C. Helgoland / Abteilung Oberschöneweide.” On February 10 1907, representatives of B.T. and F.C. Union – German champions of 1905 - agreed to merge the two clubs.

The result of these discussions with the blue-whites from the south of Berlin is the formation as B.T. And F.C. Union 92 / Division Oberschöneweide, the troop takes part as an IV team at the Spielbetrieb.

At the beginning of 1909, the team from the parent club, on February 20, the VBB - Verband Brandenburgischer Ballspielvereine - takes over the new club. To thank the mother union Union 1892 the colors blue and white are maintained, in the new association names the word Union is taken: Union 06 Oberschöneweide.

© Der Rasensport | DNB Leipzig
Official renaming of the club to SC Union-Oberschöneweide and the venue on Kunheimstrasse in a publication to mark the anniversary of the club in 1931 © Archiv des SC Union 06 Berlin

The first stadium and considerable success

Meanwhile, the old playing grounds, which sat on the banks of the River Spree, were given away to become industrial facilities. The expansion of the industrial suburb Oberschöneweide forced the club to find a new home on the expanded Wattstrasse in Schöneweide. This was the club's fixed home ground for a decade until 1920 Today, a small colony of garden allotments are on the site.

In the 20s, the club house used by miners was located on today's Fritz-Kirsch-Zeile, at the corner of Wattstrasse.

Union achieved considerable success in the league, winning consecutive promotions in 1910/11 and 1911/12 to reach the first division. A second-placed finish was followed up with a league win in the first division, which saw the club promoted to the VBB-Verbandsliga, the highest tier of the pre-Bundesligs pyramid in the region.

Union finished second in 1916/17, but three years later the club was crowned champions of the east region. The top team in Berlin lost 3-2 to Sportfreunden Breslau in the quarterfinals of the German championship play-off system. With new league changes on the horizon, Union Oberschöneweide's third-place finish was enough to qualify for the VBB-Oberliga

1920 -1930

Move to the Stadion An der Alten Försterei

Further expansion of industrial plants and the population growth in Oberschöneweide forced Union to relocate from Wattstrasse and look for a new stadium. It was found in Sadowa – today called Wuhlheide – near the entrance to Köpenick, close to the royal hunting grounds at the old forest warden's office.

On March 7th 1920, the facility was officially opened with a league game against Viktoria 89. However, work on the stadium wasn't complete and it wasn't until August 7th that the Unioners celebrated the stadium's opening. 1.FC Nürnberg, then German champions and the country's preeminent force, met the Berlin champions SC Union Öberschweide and won 2-1 in front of around 7,000 supporters.

In season 1922/23, the team from Oberschöneweide finished first in the Oberliga Division A and took on Division B champions Vorwärts 1890 in the regional final. Union won 3-1 in the first leg, and drew 1-1 in Sadowa to prove they were on par with the best in Germany.

In the pan-German playoff system for the national championship, Union met west champions Arminia Bielefeld – first a 0-0 draw in Bochum before the Berliners won 2-1 in the second leg. Greuther Fürth, the southern champions, were dispatched 2-1 in Halle to set up a final against Hamburger Sport-Verein from the north. The Hanseatic champions Hamburg ran out 3-0 winners on June 10 1923 at the Grünwalder Stadion in Berlin.

© Archiv des Vereinsregisters beim Amtsgericht Charlottenburg
Announcement of first-ever match at the Sportpark Sadowa against reigning German champions 1.FC Nürnberg in 1920 © Der Rasensport | Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin
Final of the German Championship in 1923 against Hamburg in Berlin © Archiv des 1. FC Union Berlin

1930 - 1950

Report from the German Championship quarter-final meeting with Rapid Vienna in 1940 © Die Fußball-Woche
Certificate of victory in the 1948 Berlin Cup Final © Archiv des 1. FC Union Berlin

1950 - 1970

SG Union Oberschöneweide in action in 1950 in Halle © Hanns-Peter Beyer, Halle (Saale)
SC Motor Berlin Team Photo from 1956 © Archiv des 1. FC Union Berlin


Board meeting at the foundation of 1.FC Union Berlin © Gert Kilian
1.FC Union Berlin win the East German Cup in 1968 © Hanns-Peter Beyer, Halle (Saale) | dpa picture alliance

1970 - 1990

Last-minute goal in 1988 to survive relegation from the GDR Oberliga © Oliver Behrend | Contrast
Ralph Probst scores for 1.FC Union in the East German Cup final of 1968 © Wulf Olm
Union Berlin (left) taking on Hansa Rostock in a crunch promotion six-pointer in 1976 © BArch, Bild 183-R0619-0024 / Rainer Mittelstädt
Promotion again in 1969/70 © Archiv des 1. FC Union Berlin

1990 - 2000

Mario Maeck sends home from the spot to help Union beat Tennis Borussia 2-1 in 1991 © Ottmar Winter
1993/94 Berlin Cup success © Archiv des 1. FC Union Berlin

2000 - 2010

DFB Pokal Final & 2.Bundesliga

The 2001-01 season is one which will go down in history for Union, who reached the second division. But the fans will remember the German Cup campaign, which started with wins over Rot-Weiß Oberhausen, Greuther Fürth and SSV Ulm 1846. Bundesliga side Bochum were beaten 1-0 in the quarterfinals before Borussia Mönchengladbach were seen off 6-4 after a penalty shootout. In the final, Union Berlin lost 2-0 to Schalke, the Bundesliga runner-up, at the Olympic Stadium.

With Schalke already reaching the Champions League via their league standings, 1.FC Union Berlin qualified for the UEFA Cup. In the first round, Finnish champions FC Haka were beaten 3-0 on home soil after a 1-1 draw in the first leg. The second round, though, was a step too far as Union lost to Bulgaria's Cup winners Litex Lovech 2-0 on aggregate.

Three seasons in the 2nd Bundesliga was followed by the relegation to the regional league - one year later union will enter the fourth division. In the final round of the Regional Cup the club defeated Köpenicker SC with 7-0. Union qualified for their German Cup and lost 4-1 to Eintracht Frankfurt.

In the 2007-08 season, 1.FC Union Berlin qualified for the newly-created national third division (3.Liga). The Berlin club secured immediate promotion a year later to the second divison as third-tier champions ahead of Fortuna Düsseldorf and SC Paderborn. Due to the ongoing reconstruction of the Stadion An der Alten Försterei, where more than 2,000 fans and partners helped, the club played at the Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn Sportpark.

Promotion back to 2.Bundesliga in 2009 © union-foto.de/Hupe
Back in the 2.Bundesliga with promotion in 2001 © Michael Schmidt
© Michael Schmidt
Promotion from the Regionalliga in 2006 © Tobias Hänsch

2010 - Now

Stability and new targets

On July 12, 2013, 1. FC Union Berlin opened the brand-new main stand against Glasgow Celtic. The stand was the final jigsaw piece in the redevelopment of the stadium, which began several years before. 

On the pitch, the Köpenick club became established in the 2.Bundesliga. After finishing mid-table for most of the first half of the decade, Union pushed for promotion in 2016/17 and missed out across the final few matchdays. A fourth-placed finish was our best ranking ever until the 2018/19 campaign. 

© Tobias Hänsch
© union-foto.de/Hupe

Promotion to the Top Flight

As the 2018/19 season drew to a close, the team continued to strive towards the ultimate goal they had developed over the course of the season; namely, to be promoted to the first division. A win in the final league match of the season at VfL Bochum would have meant direct promotion, but the game ended in a 2-2 draw. The point shared secured third place in the table, meant that Union would have to face VfB Stuttgart, 16th in the Bundesliga, in a two-legged playoff for the final place in the next season’s top flight.

The referee blew the whistle to end the first leg in Swabia at 2-2. At the Stadion An der Alten Försterei on 27 May 2019, Union fought out a 0-0 draw and achieved their historic first ever promotion to the German Bundesliga.

Union secured their status in the 2019/20 season with a 1-0 win against SC Paderborn at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei on 16 June 2020, and finished their first season in the Bundesliga in eleventh place.


Three Europe Cup Competitions

Union proved to be a consistent presence in the Bundesliga and, having successfully avoided relegation in the promotion season, they finished seventh in the table the next season, entitling them to participate in the UEFA Conference League in 2021/22.

First, Union beat Finland's cup winners and third-placed team from the previous season, Kuopion PS, 4-0 and 0-0 in a preliminary elimination round. Then, they were placed in a group with Maccabi Haifa FC, FK Slavia Prague and Feyenoord in a group from which the top two would qualify. The Union team finished ahead of Haifa in third place.

The fifth position in the Bundesliga table at the end of the 2021/22 season allows 1. FC Union Berlin to participate in the UEFA Europa League. In the 2022/23 season, the team finished second in the group stage behind Royale Union St. Gilloise and ahead of Sporting Braga and Malmö FF. In the following elimination match, the Union team beat Ajax FC from Amsterdam over two legs, 0-0 and 3-1, before Union were ultimately knocked out by Royale Union St. Gilloise, having drawn 3-3 at home, but losing 3-0 in the round of 16.

1. FC Union Berlin finished the 2022/23 Bundesliga season in 4th place in the table, which allows the club to participate in the Champions League. The team finished the group stage in fourth place, behind Real Madrid, SSC Napoli and Sporting Braga.

The Union team takes on Real Madrid on 20 September 2023. The match ends 1:0. © 1. FC Union Berlin e.V.
Home match on 22 May 2021 against RB Leipzig: Goalscorer Max Kruse, front, Nico Schlotterbeck, left, and Sheraldo Becker, right, celebrate the goal and the team's entry into the Europa Conference League © 1. FC Union Berlin e.V.
Team looking forward to European Cup matches in the 2022/23 season © 1. FC Union Berlin e.V.