After three months of waiting, the group stage of the Champions League returned this week. Among the various confrontations, one stands out: this Wednesday, Union Berlin makes its debut in the biggest club competition in the world against Real Madrid, in the middle of the Santiago Bernabeu.
Founded in 1906 with roots in East Germany, the club almost went bankrupt after the reunification of Germany and spent most of its history in the lower divisions of German football. Access to the second league came only in 2001. After years of attempts, in 2019 it finally achieved unprecedented access to the country’s football elite.
In the Bundesliga, Union Berlin showed that it would not be just another minor player, and exceeded expectations by competing against some of the German giants. With a well-assembled team and a good work of management, it led the competition for several rounds and finished last season in fourth place, only nine points away from champion Bayern Munich.
– It is becoming increasingly difficult to accomplish this feat. If you don’t have a competitive budget, distance is inevitable. However, there is a question called the hierarchy coefficient. It is necessary to understand the maximum that the team can achieve and fight to achieve this consistency and maintain this hierarchy coefficient. Achieving a ranking of two or three in Germany is a very interesting goal.
To survive, there is no other way but to develop and sell young players, to have a very developed scouting and talent development department. The way is to work much harder than others. What is work? Be more detailed, deepen the engagement with people, total commitment and be very faithful to the processes, the philosophy, the DNA of what is being built. Pay attention to a minimum of mistakes in the recruitment of professionals and players – analyzed analyzes Sandro Orlandelli, technical director with stops at Arsenal, Manchester United and the Brazilian national team.
And now, in their first season in the Champions League, Union Berlin is in Group C, along with the traditional Spanish team, as well as Napoli from Italy and Braga from Portugal. Right in the first round, the team will face the biggest winner in the history of the tournament with 14 titles.
The history of Union Berlin is an inspiring example of how passion, hard work and fan support can lift a club from obscurity into the elite of European football. They have proved that with determination and good management it is possible to achieve great sporting successes – commented Junior Chávare, Managing Director Football at Ferroviária S/ A.
The strength of the fans was fundamental for the club
And it is precisely the support of the fans that explains the success of Union Berlin. In addition to the intensive support in the stands, the fans were mainly responsible for preventing the bankruptcy of the club at the end of the 1990s and again at the beginning of the new millennium.
This Wednesday it is even possible to get a feel for this passion; thousands of fans “invaded” Madrid, which is receiving the match against Real (see in the video above!).
Another proof of unconditional love occurred during the renovation work of the stadium at the Alte Försterei, which in 2009 had a capacity of 22 thousand people and was supported by 2 thousand fans as volunteers.
“This intense connection between the stands and the pitch has made the difference for the club. In addition to the financial responsibility and administrative balance that justify the team’s steady growth, the presence of the fans helped the team to debut precisely against one of the largest clubs in the world in such an important competition as the Champions League – analyzed Rogerio Neves, CEO of Motbot, the first Brazilian sports crowdfunding platform.