It’s the reds against the blues, east versus west, Union against Hertha. But this is Berlin, where nothing is quite as straight-forward as it seems.
Monday 3rd September 2012 sees Union Berlin vs Hertha BSC in the 4th match day of the new 2. Bundesliga season. But this is only the third competitive match between Berlin’s top two clubs. The only previous league encounters between them took place in the 2010/11 season, also in the 2. Bundesliga. Where Union and Hertha were previously divided by the Berlin Wall, they have been almost perennially separated within the federal league structure since reunification.
“David versus Goliath”, as Uwe Neuhaus, Union’s coach since 2007, put it prior to their last competitive meeting two seasons ago. “Gallic village against the Roman Empire… but a derby match always has its own rules. We want to give the Union fans a good game”. Union came away with a surprise victory that day, and the Eiserne will certainly feel they can get something from the game this week too. After a positive few years, including a 7th placed finish last season, Union fans will feel that the gap between the two sides is closer than ever.
1. FC Union Berlin is a professional German association football club based in Berlin. The club emerged under the current name in 1966 but can be traced back to 1906, when predecessor FC Olympia Oberschöneweide was founded. Since 2009 they compete in the 2. Bundesliga, the second tier of German football.
The home ground Stadion An der Alten Försterei (Stadium by the old forester's house) is the largest single-purpose football stadium in the German capital. It has been home to Union Berlin and its forerunners since it was opened in 1920. The stadium became internationally famous for concerts and events like the annual Weihnachtssingen (Christmas Carols Event) and the WM-Wohnzimmer (World Cup Living Room) in 2014.
Hertha, Berliner Sport-Club is a German association football club based in the Charlottenburg locality of Berlin. Hertha BSC plays in the Bundesliga, the top-tier of German football, after finishing first in the 2. Bundesliga in 2013.
Hertha BSC was founded in 1892, and was a founding member of the German Football Association in Leipzig in 1900. The team won the German championship in 1930 and 1931. Since 1963, Hertha's stadium has been the Olympiastadion. The club is known as Die Alte Dame in German, which translates to “The Old Lady”. In 2002, the sports activities of the professional, amateur, and under-19 teams were separated into Hertha BSC