2022-23 Europa League: Bumbling Towards Budapest

candylandriots

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Groups were drawn for this season’s Europa League competition today. There are some regulars in this forum with teams in this season’s, with varied levels of excitement about it. Here are the groups:

Group A: Arsenal, PSV Eindhoven, Bodø/Glimt, Zürich
Group B: Dynamo Kyiv, Rennes, Fenerbahçe, AEK Lanarka
Group C: Roma, Ludogorets Razgrad, Real Betis, HJK
Group D: Brava, Malmö FF, Union Berlin, Union Saint-Gilloise
Group E: Manchester United, Real Sociedad, Sheriff Tiraspol, Omonia
Group F: Lazio, Feyenoord, Midtjylland, Sturm Graz
Group G: Olympiacos, Qarabag, SC Freiburg, Nantes
Group H: Red Star Belgrade, Monaco, Ferencváros, Trabzonspor

My initial guess is this is an OK draw for Union Berlin. Can anyone tell me if I’m right to feel ok about it? Malmö doesn’t seem ideal, but Brava from Pot 1 seems relatively helpful, right?
 
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candylandriots

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Nice message sent today by the president of Union Berlin ahead of the game on Thursday (which I can’t believe I’ll be at! There are certainly people more deserving than I am to be there, but I’ll take it.). There was a follow-up message about expanding the stadium to meet current demand as well, but this was the one for the feels:

Berlin-Köpenick on 06 September 2022

dear Unioner,
In these weeks, one emotional highlight follows the next for us. The convincing derby victory at the start was followed, among other things, by a 2-1 home win against Leipzig, a 6-1 away win at Schalke and last Saturday a deserved point against FC Bayern Munich. I'm very proud of the strength we're unleashing as a club and how we're all working together to create the conditions for our team to be so successful in sport.

Another historic Union moment now awaits us this week: for the first time in the more than 100-year history of our stadium, a European Cup match will take place at our home next Thursday. Generations of Unioners have not even dared to dream of this, but now it is actually happening. So today, just a few days before the kickoff of our first group match, I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you.

It took many dedicated people to re-found 1. FC Union Berlin on January 20, 1966, to establish it in GDR soccer and to lead it successfully. On behalf of all those who invested a great deal of energy and passion in this, I salute our honorary president and co-founder of our club, Günter Mielis, who is standing by us at the age of 97 and keeping his fingers crossed.

Our path remained rocky and very difficult even after German unification in 1990. Several times our club's existence was threatened, but even during this time Unioners made sure that their club survived - a very important cornerstone for our success today.

What I personally have felt again and again over the past 18 years was the trust that many Unioners, companies and partners have placed in our club, and in those responsible for it. Without their support, with advice, action and financial resources, our development would not have been possible.

And even today, day after day and around the clock, many people are working to ensure that we improve the conditions for sporting success and expand our apparent limits piece by piece.
 

candylandriots

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Union looks really strong at the start against Braga. Just hit the post off a corner, but have had most of the possession and offensive threat. Pefok is starting tonight and missed a shot he definitely should have sunk, but it was offside anyway.

Union chartered 5 planes to bring fans to the game. Check-in time was 4:30am this morning, but you could get a beer and pretzel for breakfast for 10 euros (which seems awfully expensive) at something they set up for the traveling fans. I think they were expecting 2600 fans to make it to the game. They definitely sound louder than the home support.

There were 27 goals scored in total during the early games tonight!
 

candylandriots

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ABE5C806-F9F5-4D8B-9ED8-44AEA019C3F0.jpegAnyone watching Union tonight? I got tickets only for 2 of the 3 games (which seemed to be the normal outcome). Seems a rather even matchup. Jordan missed one that I would have hoped to go in. Just a little hard to get the total sense of the competition from the corner we are standing in.

Berlin police asked the stadium to mix the beer with water tonight. So about a thimbleful of water is being poured into each beer sold.

I don’t know why, but the standing was a mess during the last UEL game. Tonight, for the first time I’ve ever seen, they had little tape barriers up before the game (which were taken down at kickoff) to spread people out a bit, and this is the most comfortable I’ve ever been standing here.
 

candylandriots

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I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a shit-merchant performance from any team like Malmö’s (edit) second half last 30 minutes tonight. 8 minutes of pure time-wasting, dirty fouls and more. Union Berlin got a very justified penalty and won 1-0. I think there must have been (edit) 10 12 yellow cards (edit: plus the straight red!) and the ref lost control of the match repeatedly (edit: still don't understand why Thorsby got a yellow for simulation, because they didn't review the penalty that should have obviated it that occurred just before). Good riddance to Malmö.
 
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OCST

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That Omonoia keeper stood on his head at Old Trafford today. Of course Utd scored in stoppage time to deny the win but he had a clean sheet til then and it was a phenomenal performance.

Utd, City game aside, have looked very good in the PL but this club that currently sits 8th in the Cypriot first tier has stood toe to toe with them like Rock and Drago.
 

candylandriots

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I’m probably the only one that *really* cares, but walking through the woods now to Stadion an der alten Försterei. Huge game tonight against SC Braga. If the Portuguese win, they’re through to next round. If Union wins, they take over 2nd with one game left. Kickoff in just under an hour.
 

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I’m probably the only one that *really* cares, but walking through the woods now to Stadion an der alten Försterei. Huge game tonight against SC Braga. If the Portuguese win, they’re through to next round. If Union wins, they take over 2nd with one game left. Kickoff in just under an hour.
That is so cool. I try to catch matches when I'm visiting different countries and the atmosphere is always amazing, but even better to have your local club in European football. Have a blast and I'll be rooting for Berlin.
 

candylandriots

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That is so cool. I try to catch matches when I'm visiting different countries and the atmosphere is always amazing, but even better to have your local club in European football. Have a blast and I'll be rooting for Berlin.
Good luck to Union! Enjoy the match.
The walk there looks very cool and very German. Good luck to Union today.
Thanks everyone! Hope you can all cheer them on from the other side of the Atlantic.

Anyone who wants to come to a game let me know!!
 

candylandriots

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One of the guys I go to most of the games with is 62 years old I think. He’s been going to Union Berlin games since 1968. He helped rebuild the stadium. I keep asking him if he can believe what he’s seeing, and he keeps telling me he can’t even find the right words. A kid growing up in the DDR seeing his team, that nearly failed repeatedly, leading the unified Bundesliga and competing for European knockout spots. He never even dared to dream of something like this. As fun as this ride has been for me, watching him enjoy it has been really something wonderful.
 

candylandriots

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Separately, his best friend, who also comes with us, is originally from Madrid and an Atlético fan. I asked him what he’d do if Union and Atlético have to play one another. He said he didn’t want to think about it and it would never happen anyway…however…if Union wins next week there’s a 1/8 (or better depending on German teams in 3rd in the UCL right?). Oh man, poor Luis.
 

Pesky Pole

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Are Union still keeping their core identity or has the city jumped on the bandwagon with them? I know some of the articles I read had the loyal supporters fearing they'd become too mainstream. With Hertha near the relegation zone, I was wondering how popular they are becoming (I know it's early in the season still).
 

candylandriots

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Are Union still keeping their core identity or has the city jumped on the bandwagon with them? I know some of the articles I read had the loyal supporters fearing they'd become too mainstream. With Hertha near the relegation zone, I was wondering how popular they are becoming (I know it's early in the season still).
I think they’re doing a pretty good job of keeping their identity. It feels more or less the same at the games as it was the first time I went almost 7 years ago. I think they probably are more popular than Hertha overall, but that may be more a function of where I live. It’s overall a pretty friendly rivalry to me…my Hertha friend was excited about Union winning last night (he told me once if it were up to him now, he’d support Union, but he was born in Schöneberg so that’s not possible).

I think the club is keeping the culture a bit in the way that tickets are so restricted. All season tickets are already accounted for, there’s no waiting list, and the only way to get a chance at buying a ticket is to be a member, which costs €10/month. Which reminds me I won this week’s lottery and totally forgot to try and buy a ticket for the Augsburg match, which means I’m probably out of luck, dammit. But what the ticket policy does seem to do is keep a real continuity of people in the stands. I recognize a bunch of people in Sektor 2 E/F now, and they know me and it’s so many of the same people all the time.

There are plans now to expand the stadium to 37,000. I suspect when that is finally done, I’ll be able to get a season ticket, the team will be reaching for the big-time and things will likely change. Until then, the experience still seems much like before - at least to my limited basis of comparison. But people are still kinda surprised to hear my accent there and that I’m an American at the games, so I guess that’s a good marker in a city that is overrun with expats.
 

candylandriots

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When Union Berlin played in Malmö, there was, shall we say, some strife between the fans. Of course, I've certainly heard more about the Union Berlin side of the story, but The Athletic (somehow not behind a paywall), discussed how the 20 minute delay happened after incendiary devices from both clubs. Union ended up with a 40,000 euro fine. I don't know what, if anything, happened to Malmö, but I do know that Malmö practically burned down the away end when they came here, so they certainly didn't get a travel ban.

Anyhow, Union Berlin was banned from selling tickets to the away game at Union St. Gilloise tomorrow, a match that will see them advance with a win (or some help from Malmö, ironically). But some of the additional measures that are taking place in Belgium seem pretty damn extreme. I'm no expert on EU law, but this sure seems outside of what I'd expect to be allowed under rights of freedom of movement. Here's the English translation of the note I got from Union Berlin about it. It's....something.

On Thursday, November 3rd, 2022, 1. FC Union Berlin will play Royale Union Saint-Gilloise in the last group game of the Europa League in Leuven, Belgium.

Due to the misconduct of individual spectators in the Union block at the Europa League game in Malmö, UEFA decided that Union was not allowed to sell tickets for the away block at Den Dreef Stadium.

With the decree of the mayor of Leuven, the Belgian authorities have now imposed a ban on entering Leuven and the surrounding area in order to prevent Union supporters from arriving without tickets. The justification for the measure states, among other things, "that the presence of German fans without a stadium ticket on the streets, in the vicinity of the stadium or in the city center could disturb public order".

Based on this decree, the Leuven police will be (from 10 a.m.) and 04.11.2022 (until 10 a.m.) arrest Union fans without a valid ticket in the city of Leuven and in the neighboring sub-communities. The local police authority has also pointed out that ID checks will be carried out at the stadium and that people with German ID documents will not be allowed to enter.

“I consider this measure by the Belgian authorities to be disproportionate and wrong. Once again, she doesn't punish the perpetrators, but many peaceful football fans. In addition, the decree does not correspond to the judgment of UEFA, which did not impose a travel ban on Union fans, but only prohibited us as a club from selling tickets for the away block in Leuven. In the last few days we have been trying to find an organizational solution together with Royale Union Saint-Gilloise in the interest of the many enthusiastic Union fans who accompany our club through Europe. Unfortunately, these efforts have lapsed due to the ban on entry, an incomprehensible collective punishment," said Union President Dirk Zingler, commenting on the mayor of Leuven's decision.

Due to the ban on entry, 1. FC Union Berlin recommends avoiding a possible trip to Belgium.
I'm not going to be in Leuven tomorrow, but I wonder if I, with an American passport, would be arrested for being a Union fan? I hope I'm not straying too far into V&N territory here, but that's pretty fucked.
 

tmracht

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When Union Berlin played in Malmö, there was, shall we say, some strife between the fans. Of course, I've certainly heard more about the Union Berlin side of the story, but The Athletic (somehow not behind a paywall), discussed how the 20 minute delay happened after incendiary devices from both clubs. Union ended up with a 40,000 euro fine. I don't know what, if anything, happened to Malmö, but I do know that Malmö practically burned down the away end when they came here, so they certainly didn't get a travel ban.

Anyhow, Union Berlin was banned from selling tickets to the away game at Union St. Gilloise tomorrow, a match that will see them advance with a win (or some help from Malmö, ironically). But some of the additional measures that are taking place in Belgium seem pretty damn extreme. I'm no expert on EU law, but this sure seems outside of what I'd expect to be allowed under rights of freedom of movement. Here's the English translation of the note I got from Union Berlin about it. It's....something.



I'm not going to be in Leuven tomorrow, but I wonder if I, with an American passport, would be arrested for being a Union fan? I hope I'm not straying too far into V&N territory here, but that's pretty fucked.
That's like taking what happened in France to the next level. Tottenham supports in Marseille were stopped by Police from entering the city center surrounding the stadium. There you could be stopped for being or acting like a Tottenham supporter. So it seems both insane, and "mostly normal".
 

Gunfighter 09

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Face surgery for Sonny. Damn.

Have to think this means missing at least part of the world cup.

We can confirm that Heung-Min Son will undergo surgery to stabilise a fracture around his left eye.
The South Korea international suffered the injury during the first half of Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League victory at Olympique Marseille.
Following surgery, Son will commence rehabilitation with our medical staff and we shall update supporters further in due course.
I get it that a month or so off for Son is probably good for Spurs, but I’m really sad for him. He’s the heart of that team and representing his country clearly means a great deal to him. Selfishly, he’s my 9 year old’s favorite player. He already has all of the RoK games circled on his calendar. Damn.

https://www.tottenhamhotspur.com/news/2022/november/son-to-undergo-surgery/?fbclid=IwAR07HG9-xerbHi8xDBT1YgV5JusfB72Xk1ffGrr6nhBJXU9V8IUNjb61Gls
 

candylandriots

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Crazy shit going on in Group F. All four teams currently at 8 points, with Midtjylland and Feyenoord even at +4.

So freaking shaking for the Union game in 40 minutes.
 

candylandriots

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I seriously just nearly had a heart attack sprinting to the nearest bar showing the game which was about a half mile away.
 

candylandriots

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If you don’t mind, let me know if it’s still working at halftime. I’d rather be at home than this smoky bar.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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If you don’t mind, let me know if it’s still working at halftime. I’d rather be at home than this smoky bar.
I'm watching PSV/Bodo right now, because I'm a US player goof and Ledezma's starting while Pefok's on the bench, but I'll check in with that game also. So far, so good.

EDIT. Hopped, over, even though the PSV/Bodo match is fixed looks like Union are still stuck in Golazo mode
 

candylandriots

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I'm watching PSV/Bodo right now, because I'm a US player goof and Ledezma's starting while Pefok's on the bench, but I'll check in with that game also. So far, so good.

EDIT. Hopped, over, even though the PSV/Bodo match is fixed looks like Union are still stuck in Golazo mode
Great. Guess I’m stuck here then. Appreciate you letting me know.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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I did just check again and clear my browser cache and I am getting the actual Union game, so you might be able to sneak back home at halftime.
 

candylandriots

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I did just check again and clear my browser cache and I am getting the actual Union game, so you might be able to sneak back home at halftime.
I think I’m too scared to do it at this point. I really would have a heart attack if I tried to repeat what I just did. Haven’t run like that in years!