On Monday evening, 1. FC Union Berlin will play their first competitive game against Hamburg. Nevertheless, the northern German side hold a prominent place in the wider 112-year history of the Köpenick club.
SC Union Oberschöneweide, founded in 1910, wrote a new chapter in the history books in 1923 when they beat Arminia Bielefeld then Greuther Fürth, one of the eminent clubs in German football, to reach the national German Championship final. On June 10, SC Union faced Hamburg at the Deutsches-Stadion in Berlin, a demolished stadium in the city, which held around 65,000. Hamburg brought around 6,000 to Berlin and won the game by three goals to clinch the national championship title.
27 years later, the clubs met again in the knockout rounds of the German Championship finals. An added layer to the complications, the divide of Berlin meant the East German authorities refused to permit transport across the border to allow Union to play in Kiel. Nevertheless, they still went to Schleswig-Holstein — and not with the appropriate documents.
Union lost 7-0 in Kiel in front of a crowd of about 12,000 fans. Herbert Wojtkowiak scored in the first minute to set the tone for the rest of the 90 minutes. Reporters witnessed a ‘lack of power’ in the Union ranks, as well as, defensive problems and a lack of composure under pressure.
The aftermath of the 1950 clash was a pivotal crossroad in the club’s history with several players and officials leaving the club and moving to West Berlin. Across the border, they formed SC Union 06 Berlin on June 9 1950, while Oberschöneweide continued to compete in the Oberliga, the highest level of league football in the German Democratic Republic.