The FC Union stadium is in East Berlin. Southeast Berlin to be exact in what was historically the Soviet sector. It’s north of the River Spree in the Kopenick district of Berlin. Did you know Kopenik is the largest district of Berlin?
How to get to Union Berlin Stadium from Central Berlin
To reach the stadium take the S-Bahn, S-3 line to Berlin Kopenick. It’s a 10 minute walk to the stadium from the S-Bahn station. Alternatively, check out the tram network which also runs by the stadium.
Stadion An der Alten Forsterei
The name of the stadium translates to the Stadium at the Old Forester’s house. It’s the largest stadium in Berlin which sole use is for football. Of course, Olympic Stadium is bigger but it’s also used for athletics and other events. The capacity is over 22,000 and it’s often full which guarantees a good atmosphere. In 2009 and 2013, the ground was renovated. The fans both donated money as well as worked on the redevelopment. For this example, Union Berlin clearly has some of the most loyal fans in the world. An interesting fact is that once redevelopment was done, Celtic FC were invited for a friendly. Coincidently, this is the same team Cardiff City invited to their first game in their new stadium.
FC Union Berlin Mascot – Ritter Keule
Ritter Keule is the FC Union Berlin mascot. You’re guaranteed to see him at the start and finish of the match as well as at half time. Who is Ritter Keule? I couldn’t find much out about him other than he’s an iron knight. Nonetheless, he’s available for private events if you wish to find out more about him!
FC Union Vs Ingolstadt
The game I went to see was against Ingolstadt in Bundesliga 2. It was a fiery game and Ingolstadt received 2 red cards. As a result, Union Berlin ran out 2-0 winners and the fans were very happy.
Team Managers and Dugout
Part of the enjoyment of watching the game is seeing the animated managers in the dugout. As you would imagine, the away team bench were not so happy with receiving 2 red cards.
FC Union Berlin Ultras
I don’t expect you want to be in the same section as the Ultras. However, it’s always entertaining to see them support their team so passionately. The Ultra section is the cheapest section and Sektor 2 of the stadium.
A very historic scoreboard remains in the stadium despite recent redevelopment. This original scoreboard certainly dates back to the Soviet era of East Berlin. What’s more, it’s still in use today. When someone scores, you’ll see a hand pop out of the window and manually update the score.
There is a nice media section in the modern seated part of the stadium. However, the match still needs to be filmed from different angles. Look up to the roof and you’ll see cameramen braving the elements to capture the action.
Surrounding the stadium is a beer garden as well as snack vendors. In addition, there’re also vendors of Union Berlin merchandise. Unlike England, drinking is permitted in the stadium. You’ll see the fans buying 6 half liter beers at a time and drinking them in groups. To snack, the Bratwurst and pretzels are readily available. This is how watching a football match in England in the 80’s was like.
Thank You to the Fans
I mentioned that the fans both donated money as well as worked on renovating the stadium. For this reason, the players are incredibly thankful to the fans. As a matter of fact, the players spent a long time waving and bowing to the fans in each stand before they left the pitch. This is a phenomenon I’ve not experienced at any other live football match. In particular, at a regular Friday evening game in the second league.
When I visited Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow I learnt about the 1971 crush on the Copland Road exit stairway. To my surprise, to enter the Union Berlin stadium you must climb a narrow staircase. Furthermore, simply to visit the bathroom you must take this steep narrow staircase. Add to this the fact that there are lots of drunk people, take care on these stairs! I was watching from Sektor 4 of the stadium.
Enjoy the Union Berlin Matchday Experience
I have to say, the atmosphere at Stadion An der Alten Forsterei is one of the best I’ve experienced. As a matter of fact, it’s as intense as somewhere like Fenerbahce. Enjoy the game and most of all enjoy the excellent German hospitality!
I bought a 12 euro ticket to Sektor 4 at the entry gate. However, if you wish to buy your ticket in advance, you can do so at the official Union Berlin website.