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Club

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.

Report about the foundation of SC Olympia Oberschöneweide in the anniversary publication of SC Union Oberschöneweide in 1931 © Archiv des SC Union 06 Berlin
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

A map of Union's first home in Oberschöneweide © Berliner Adressbuch 1907 | Zentral- und Landesbibliothek Berlin
Team picture of SC Union Oberschöneweide in 1919 © E. Gärtner | Archiv des 1. FC Union Berlin

1910 - 1920

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.

© Amtsgericht Charlottenburg, Vereinsregister, 582 V.R. 11511
Final of the German Championship in 1923 against Hamburg in Berlin © Archiv des 1. FC Union Berlin
Announcement of first-ever match at the Sportpark Sadowa against reigning German champions 1.FC Nürnberg in 1920 © Der Rasensport

1930 - 1945

Report from the German Championship quarter-final meeting with Rapid Vienna in 1940 © Die Fußball-Woche

1945 - 1950

Certificate of victory in the 1948 Berlin Cup Final © Archiv des 1. FC Union Berlin

1950 - 1966

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

1966

Board meeting at the foundation of 1.FC Union Berlin © Gert Kilian

1967 - 1970

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

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
Promotion from the Regionalliga in 2006 © Tobias Hänsch

2000 - 2019

Stability & Bundesliga Promotion

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. 

Under coach Urs Fischer, Union Berlin battled throughout a remarkable campaign, which started with an unbeaten record across the entire first half of the season. With 1. FC Köln already promoted as champions, Paderborn and Union would go head-to-head on the final matchday for the second automatic promotion. In Bochum, Fischer's men could only manage a 2-2 draw meaning a place in the Relegation play-off against VfB Stuttgart. After a 2-2 draw away, Union fought for a 0-0 draw at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei and secure the club's first-ever promotion to the Bundesliga.