Football - Soccer, Berlin
Watching a FC Union Berlin home game is quite an experience.
Much smaller than city rivals Hertha Berlin, FC Union Berlin are based in the 'Stadion An der Alten Försterei' which is a mainly standing stadium - set in a small forrest in east Berlin.
Taking a train to Köpenick and the ground is within walking distance.
En-Route we stopped off at a 'Union Tanke' (At least, that how it's labelled on FourSquare) which is a outdoor beer garden / German food grill area - and is a supporters pre-drinking / meet up area.
The walk to the stadium is through a small forrest walkway which opens up to reveal the stadium. It's quite a surreal, strange thing.
We pre-bought tickets before arriving (which was probably advisable, even for a game which was mid-table - non-rival match up - the stadium was very busy.) and were shifted around a couple of gates before we found one which had the correct scanner for the Print@home times we had. A minor nucissance, but really took nothing away from the experience.
A Union Berlin scarf buying minute later - we were inside, ordering a beer and standing in a great position.
(A fairly life-less 0-0, if you must know... Although Union did hit the bar & have a penalty appeal turned down. So some excitement.)
If you are a UK football fan and want a different football experience from the usual all seating affair, I really recommend you check out a Union Berlin game. It was a lot of fun - and beer just tastes better at a football match.
Berlin has around 2,000 sports clubs with a total of around 550,000 active members in the sport. In 2010 there are 145 of such associations at the highest or second highest level in Germany. The biggest football club Hertha BSC Berlin, which plays in the highest division of Germany, 1. Bundesliga. 1. FC Union Berlin also plays high, and comes out in 2. Bundesliga. Although Berlin with five national titles, the East German titles not included, one of the worst performing capital cities of Europe, is the cradle of German football in the capital. Already since 1891 competitions were organized. The first major competition was the competition that was organized by the Berlin Football Association. Until 1963, played the clubs of Berlin in its own league as the highest class, so there are very many clubs that have a rich history, but the many competition reforms have now been sunk to lower ranges.
The Eisbären ALBA Berlin and Berlin are in the highest league in ice hockey or basketball. Furthermore, the capital, with three clubs represented in the Bundesliga volleyball and water polo Wasser Freunde Spandau since 1979 almost 04 is sequentially become champion. The handball players of Füchse Berlin did in 2007 promoted to the Bundesliga.
The Olympic Stadium has a capacity of nearly 75,000 places in 2006 and was the place where the final of the World Cup was organized. There will also be the annual finals of the DFB-Pokal place. The Sportforum Hohenschönhausen 400 meters is an indoor ice rink in Berlin in 2007 and is the 7th fastest indoor ice rink in the world.
In Berlin, the Berlin Marathon held. Also any place in the city's ISTAF place. This important athletics is part of the IAAF Diamond League. In 2009 the World Athletics Championships also took place in Berlin. In 1931 the Summer Olympics of 1936 assigned to the city. For this occasion, architect Werner March at Olympia Stadium. From the sporting event was the Leni Riefenstahl film Olympia, was awarded as well as many Nazi propaganda vilified.
Germany will host the soccer Worldcup in 2006. 32 teams will compete and the opening game is to be played on 9 June in München with the Final taking place a month later on 9 July 2006 in Berlin's Olympiastadion.
The other Host Cities are Dortmund, Frankfurt, Gelsenkrichen, Hamburg, Hannover, Kaiserslautern, Köln, Leipzig, München, Nürnberg and Stuttgart.
On the photo you can see the ca. 15m high soccer globe that stood until November in front of the Brandenburg Gate. It will be taken on a tour of the other 11 FIFA World Cup host cities as well. Inside of the globe you'll find interactive games, panoramic projector shows etc. The admission fee was 2 EUR.
Football (soccer) is the most popular sports in Germany. The Bundesliga is one of the most competitive leagues in the whole world. So I highly recommend to go to the Olympic Stadium when Hertha is playing. Even if you are not actually a football fan. Be adventurous! The athmosphere is absolutely great. When I was there the home team thrashed Borussia M`gladbach totally 6-0 and you can imagine how glad home fans were.
Same in name to the stadium in Munich but very different. This stadium was used for the 1936 olympics I think, when Jesse Owens won a few medals!!! Anyway it is currently under renovation in time for the 2006 World Cup, but you can still see all from the stadium tower. The stadium is currently home to Hertha Berlin.
We went to the Hertha BSC v. Schalke soccer game on 11/30/03 at the Olympic Stadium. On a very cold evening we were able to get 13th row seats near mid field at the ticket kiosk for 30 Euro.
The stadium was under renovation at the time, so the Hertha die hards were separated from the Schalke die hards by various cranes and closed off sections.
If you are from the US or a nation where soccer/football is not a real big deal, I highly recommend going to a game in Europe just to soak in the crazy atmosphere created by the fans. They play a huge part in the game and were in fact the highlight of the pre-game festivities.
Equipment: On a cold day it is very important to dress warm. We were unprepared for the weather but had a great time nonetheless. There is no inside area that we found at the game to get warm...you need to drink a lot of beer for the same effect.
Hertha BSC Berlin is playing in the Olympic Stadium every second week. You will easily get tickets in front of the stadium - except if Bayern Munich is visiting.
The match starts at 3.30 pm if it is a saturday, 6 pm on sundays or 8 pm on fridays. you will find out on the official website of the bundesliga.
Equipment: they are currently rebuilding the olympic stadium. but until today there is no roof - in case of rain bring rain gear. doesn't matter where you are sitting you will have a view that is ok and you will definitely feel the atmosphere of a bundesliga match!