Union Berlin is threatening one of the biggest shocks in Bundesliga history as they challenge reigning champions Bayern Munich for the title. They sit level on points with the Bavarians with just over a third of the season left to play. But the unthinkable happen? Can Union Berlin overthrow Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga.

The title race will reach boiling point this weekend when they play Bayern Munich in a match that could shape the title race and the belief that Union Berlin can lift the trophy. 

The Union Berlin Story

Union Berlin has had a rollercoaster ride through their history to reach the point of challenging for the Bundesliga title.

The club was established in its current form in 1966 in East Germany, joining the German league structure after reunification in 1990. 

The club struggled financially and predominantly competed in regional leagues before becoming one of the founder members of 3. Liga in 2008.

The club won the inaugural season of 3. Liga to win promotion to 2. Bundesliga, where they stayed until promotion during the 2018/2019 season.

Now they are challenging for the title.

Bayern dominate German football

In sports, people like to look at numbers. It’s the same in football. In the all-time Bundesliga table, Bayern Munich is further away from second place than Union is from last. 

The last time Bayern didn’t win the Bundesliga was in 2012.

The squad values couldn’t be more different: you can buy the whole team from Köpenick with the value of Bayern’s central defense. 

History suggests: Bayern Munich will be the champions. They have the best team, the most experienced players, and the self-belief.

All fans of the Bundesliga have more or less resigned themselves to it. But football shows us repeatedly that there are exceptions to the rule. 

As Union Berlin dreams of shocking the Bundesliga, they can look to Leicester City as role models.

Leicester City, was in the third tier until 2009, was promoted to the Premier League in 2014 and became champions in 2016. 

So given the similarity in their journey’s it is only natural to compare the two sides.

The quality of Union Berlin

Union Berlin has built a strong squad in recent years, which has helped them establish themselves in the Bundesliga. A good balance between experienced players and young talents characterizes the squad.

The winter additions Juranovic, Roussillon and Laidouni, seem to have integrated themselves very well. Laidouni particularly has shown hints of great potential during brief playing time.

A three-man defense has found itself to boast the second-best defensive stats in the league. 

Can Union Berlin overthrow Bayern?

This season Union Berlin plays in the Europa League in addition to the Bundesliga and domestic cup. An additional burden that the club is not used to. 

So coach Urs Fischer will have no choice but to rotate.

“The team is always on the limit,” said coach Urs Fischer: “How long will that be fine? At the moment we’re doing it very well. But we can’t give up an inch.” 

Nobody should expect that 1. FC Union Berlin will win the championship title this season, as the Bavarians are too experienced and strong. 

The Union fans sing about winning the championship because they enjoy it. But behind every joke there is always a spark of seriousness. 

It is up to the team and coach Urs Fischer to make this miracle come true. A little support from Bayern could also help; they already dropped a few points in 2023 what is not usual. 

This season is the best chance to knock FC Bayern off the throne. 

Photo credit: IMAGO / Matthias Koch