Emmanuel Thomas, DPA, Sunday, May 28, 2023
BERLIN – After qualifying for the Champions League for the first time ever, Union Berlin want to play their home games at their An der Alten Försterei stadium, and not at Hertha Berlin’s Olympic stadium.
After qualifying for the Champions League for the first time ever, Union Berlin want to play their home games at their An der Alten Försterei stadium, and not at Hertha Berlin’s Olympic stadium.
“Our opinion hasn’t changed. If possible, we will play here (at the An der Alten Försterei stadium),” president Dirk Zingler told a news conference on Sunday.
Whether Union will be able to hold the Champions League home games at their small arena is not yet clear. The stadium has a capacity for 22,012 people, but offers only a few thousand seats and fans mostly watch games from standing places.
According to Zingler, European ruling body UEFA is to decide in June whether it will allow standing areas in the European competitions in the upcoming season.
This season, there was test phase for standing places, which enabled Union to play their home games in the Europa League in their own stadium. In 2021, however, they had to play their three group matches in the Conference League at the Olympic stadium.
Playing the Champions League at the An der Alten Försterei stadium also means Union will give up several million euros in ticket and hospitality revenue. The Olympic stadium can welcome around 74,000 spectators.
Zingler, however, wants to be ready for a possible plan B. “We’re preparing it in parallel, as always. We should also be grateful that there is a five-star stadium owned by the city that we could move to,” he said.
Union Berlin celebrated their maiden Champions League qualification after a 1-0 win against Werder Bremen in the final Bundesliga matchday on Saturday.