Football: European History on the Football Pitch in Germany

By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw

History will be made when East and West Berlin football teams meet on 2 November 2019 in a German Premier Football League (Bundesliga) fixture.

This is the first time since the infamous wall, separating East and West Berlin and preventing people from fleeing from the Soviet-controlled Eastern half of the City to the West, came down in 1989, having been erected in 1961.

The East Berlin team, FC Union Berlin, meet their neighbouring club, Hertha BSC, from the west of the City.

FC Union Berlin were only promoted to the Bundesliga in May of this year, and the first club from East Berlin to do so.

FC Union Berlin is also remarkable in that its fans rebuilt their stadium, which has a capacity of 22,000 and is located in the south eastern neighbourhood of Koepenick in the City, with their own labour and money gained by them from selling their blood, which is quite legal in Germany.

FC Union Berlin are not expected to win – life in the Bundesliga is tough.

However, this fixture demonstrates how sport in general and football, in particular, can bring people together.

Shades of the 1914 Christmas Day Truce when a football match was played between the opposing sides in the First World War!

 

Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw may be contacted by e-mail at ‘ian.blackshaw@orange.fr’