By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

After "extraordinary accomplishment", Union Berlin learn Conference League opponents

Germany's lone representative in the inaugural UEFA Europa Conference league secured their place in the group stages before a rabid and colorful crowd of 20,000 club boosters at Berlin's Olympiastadion on Thursday night. 

Berlin's Köpenick club will host a minimum of three more fixtures at Berlin's larger sporting temple during the UECL group stages this autumn. 

Union's head-coach and captain expressed pure contentment with their "historic achievement" on Friday. Club managing director Oliver Ruhnert expressed confidence after the draw revealed which opponents "die Eisernen" would play. 
Qualification for the group stages was never in much doubt after 1. FC Union Berlin returned from Helsinki with a 4-0 victory in the bag. The fixture between the FGCU and Finnish entrants Kuopion Palloseura at the Olympiastadion counted as a mere formality. The 20,000-strong crowd of predominantly German supporters didn't seem to mind at all that the match ended in a drab 0-0 draw.

"We're now in the group stages of a European cup," Union captain Christopher Trimmel remarked afterwards with noticeable satisfaction, "That's oh so very nice when one's lived through the whole story. We've accomplished an extraordinary feat for the history books and I'm very proud of that."

Trimmel's trainer concurred with essentially the same semantics.

"We've accomplished something extradorinaiy," head-coach Urs Fischer said after the full-time whistle, "Now we can just relax and watch the draw."

The group-stage draw for the inaugural version of a third tier European club competition found itself understandably overshadowed by Thursday Night's Champions' League draw and Friday afternoon's Europa League draw.

Union nevertheless learned their European fate as well. Though the Irons did manage to avoid clubs such as Tottenham and AS Roma, Czech champions Slavia Prague, Israeli reigning champs Maccabi Haifa, and perennial Erdevise contenders Feyenoord Rotterdam by no means constitute an easy path.

"[Group E] is the most difficult group from a sporting point of view," club director Oliver Ruhnert commented on Friday, "but it's not easy to play against Union Berlin either. The others will have to view us with respect as well."

It has not yet been confirmed which group stage fixtures will be set for the Olympiastadion yet. Obviously, the schedule must be cleared with Hertha BSC's front office as well.

The competition kicks off on September 16th. Union's linear schedule for the six group stage games should proceed along the lines of:

Prague, Haifa, Feyenoord--Feyenoord, Haifa, Prague.

Euro 2024

Bundesliga End of Season Awards

Long reads

Exclusive interviews

Team News