“The Champions League, over the years, has lost all this mystery”, He writes for the New York Times Describe a fairly common condition in elite football. It has become a world where only traditional European football clubs or newly purchased billionaire clubs can compete at the highest level.
The European football market is booming. There has been an increase in investments after the pandemic – in part due to the owners’ economic and political profits. Football has continued its “hyper-capitalist” path, and only a few stakeholders can be at the top.
It’s this rather boring and annoyingly predictable attitude that makes you appreciate teams like Union Berlin even more. They are an absolute dream for a “football enthusiast” – a team rich in culture and with unique supporters. Even if you don’t have anything to do with the team, their presence is proof of an alternative to Super League projects.
A child of the DDR era, Union Berlin has always been an anti-establishment club in many ways. Against the Stasi, the club has always been viewed as an underdog, with Stasi-backed BFC Dynamo having more success on the pitch. The mentality of outsiders was also partially reflected in her fan base. It was a club accessible to everyone, especially those who did not want to succumb to everyday life to the state of the machine.
Many of today’s season holders have been with the team since the DDR times. Their values are reflected in the modern union. Owned by fans, the club has always offered camaraderie and a sense of teamwork. Only today, the enemy changed its name from Stasi to Red Bull.
[Germany] [1.Bundesliga] [Ultras]
Union Berlin Hertha Berlin
Al-Ittihad players celebrate their victory in the derby with the fans.pic.twitter.com/e1KBuGDwPZ
– 101% ULTRAS (@101ULTRAS) August 6, 2022
For me, it is intriguingly fitting that the Berlin Confederation – with its history of supporters who united their struggle against the East German regime – is today in the Bundesliga. In 2019, they reach a league that has had a lone winner in the past decade and contains ‘economic hackers’ from the likes of RB Leipzig and Hoffenheim.
Al Ittihad remains the antithesis of the modern elite football club. And now they are the king of f** leading the Bundesliga.
Urs Fischer’s men have continued to beat the odds since joining the league in 2019. Tactically brilliant, the league’s success is rooted in their well-structured and structured defence. They play according to their strength – they execute offensively in quick offensive transitions. Although Köpenick’s side have spent €33m on player transfers in the past two seasons (Brugge Club Brugge has spent nearly €50m this summer alone), Union remains the Bundesliga’s financial “David”.
Teams like Paris Saint-Germain, Manchesteror Bayern Munich He will keep spending more – and it often leads to success. Al-Ittihad’s presence – and its success – gives such romantic hope in football that there is still room in elite football for clubs that value fan culture more than financial gain.
In the past, their supporters found unity in the hardships caused by the state. Today, their club inspires people like me that there is another path in a highly capitalist football system. Through this lens, Union Berlin is the same anti-establishment club as it was at the DDR-Oberliga.