Union Berlin has won its first promotion to Germany’s top flight, by winning the pro/rel playoff on away goals against VfB Stuttgart on Monday evening. Stuttgart meanwhile will drop down to Bundesliga 2.
After a 2-2 draw in Stuttgart last Thursday night a scoreless draw at home was enough to secure the greatest success in the history of the popular capital city club.
While it is certainly true that relegation to the second tier based on the away-goals rule is a bitter pill for die Schwaben to swallow, given that they only achieved a grand total of 28 points from the 34-game league season, the relegation is still more than justified.
Looking at the number of star players that the VfB squad had, with Ron-Robert Zieler, Benjamin Pavard , Gonzalo Castro, or Mario Gomez just to name a few , it is somewhat of an accomplishment to play such an unbelievably abysmal season.
One would almost think that many others might struggle to be so unsuccessful with a such team, even if they tried!
Sporting director Thomas Hitzlsperger and the rest of the front office will have to answer serious questions about their failure to retain Bundesliga 1 status under these conditions.
But all of that aside, for Union Berlin gaining promotion is a great accomplishment, which should not be diminished. Despite their admirable, loyal fanbase in a city that offers so much more in terms of sports and entertainment, Union has not made that many positive headlines, particularly since the fall of the Berlin Wall.
They reached the German Cup final in 2001, established themselves in the Second Bundesliga over the last decade and will only now make that big step to the top.
The Bundesliga has two main things to gain from Union’s promotion. First are the pleasantly crazy fans who will rock the stadiums of the top flight. Second is the fiery local derby against Hertha BSC Berlin that we all get to look forward to , twice next season.