Union Berlin - Hertha BSC

Germany: Bundesliga
Union Berlin R. Andrich (10)
Stadion An der Alten Försterei1-1
Hertha BSC D. Lukebakio (Pen. 35)

First FC Union proposal for fans shut down, club maintains concrete target

By Peter Vice

At present, it appears as if the first top-tier Bundesliga side to welcome live fans back through its gates will be 1. FC Union Berlin. 

New details about the club's pilot project were revealed, in an odd manner, on Tuesday. 

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Ten days after enacting an experimental voluntary use of rapid COVID antigen tests at the gates of the Stadion An der Alten Försterei, FC Union Berlin's next move is apparently a proposal to play in front of 1,500 spectators. This has been submitted to the local Köpenick health authorities and the Berliner Senate.

The mere existence of the proposal came to be known on Tuesday in a rather unconventional way. Union tendered the proposal in the hopes of possibly implementing it for the derby fixture against Hertha BSC when the league returns after the international break.

When the Senate rejected this request, news initially broke that the derby itself had been cancelled. German footballing journalists immediately sought confirmation of this with the relevant authorities, quickly learning that this was an inaccurate report. The match will proceed as scheduled without fans.

German footballing magazine Kicker managed to make direct contact with Berlin mayor Michael Müller (SPD), who did confirm that postponing the match was actually discussed, but ultimately ruled unnecessary.

The German Bundesliga's 27th round coincides with Easter. High population centers such as Berlin are instituting hard lockdown measures for the holiday as the country grapples with a third wave of the pandemic.

While the admission of any spectators for the Berliner derby may be off the table, Union will almost certainly try again for their next home fixture; a round 29 encounter with VfB Stuttgart that has not been assigned a kickoff time yet.

The weekend of April 17th may well be the date to circle for the day when Bundesliga fans are once again allowed through the turnstiles.

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