Union Berlin: The German fans who bleed for their club

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Fans from FC Union Berlin during their Bundesliga match with Bayer Leverkusen in September”The fans even donated blood. You get paid for donating blood in Germany. The money they got for it kept the club alive.”The words of German football journalist Jacob Sweetman reflect the sacrifices Union Berlin’s fans have made during their club’s journey towards a piece of history.In May, they became the first club from east Berlin to reach the Bundesliga. On Saturday, they will meet their neighbours Hertha BSC, from the west of the city.Never before has there been a Bundesliga fixture between east and west Berlin. Indeed, there was a time, when the city was divided by the Berlin Wall, that such a fixture would have been impossible.After World War Two, Germany divided into two countries. East Germany came under the communist control of the Soviet Union, while West Germany allied with the UK, France, and the United States. Berlin was also split in two; in 1961, its wall was built to separate the city and prevent people from fleeing the Soviet-controlled eastern half. It did not come down until 1989.On the sporting front, east Berlin’s teams competed in the East German league system until the reunification of the country in 1990 – with Union Berlin the first to make it to the top flight since.Football Focus went to find out more – watch it live on BBC One on Saturday (12:00 GMT).’The club belongs to the fans'”Without the fans, this club is nothing,” Sweetman told Football Focus.Union play at the Stadion An der Alten Forsterei in the eastern nei

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