Weekly football conversation since 2009, with Graham Sibley, Jan Bilton and Terry Duffelen. Listen on Apple, Google, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn or your podcatcher of choice.

Former GDR clubs prepare for the Rückrunde

This season Terry Duffelen hopes to spend a little more time looking at  clubs from the old East 1. FC UnionGermany, starting with those in the second division.

Their fans may not appreciate it but the German capital's second club (behind Hertha) is 1. FC Union Berlin. Based in the old East Berlin this club has a romantic story as an anti-stasi club during communist era and has had a fantastic reputation as a fan oriented club. After promotion and rebuilding their stadium with supporter labour, the club have acclimatised themselves to the second tier and sit in a relatively stable seventh place as they prepare for the restart.

Prior to the final game of the Hinründe, Union had gone on a five game unbeaten run. This run included a 5-2 thrashing of Hansa Rostock and 4-0 mullering of FSV Frankfurt. Coach Uwe Nuehaus’ has assembled a forward line consisting of the Columbian John Mosquera, who has scored five goals in fifteen games, the Brazilian Silvio (5 in 17) and German, Christopher Quiring who has also score five goals in his seventeen appearances, this season.

But the players may have miss-read their calenders and figured the winter break had come a week early as they were walloped 5-0 by Greuther Furth in the final game before Christmas.

In terms of transfers it has been a quiet few weeks. In fact the only movement has been away from the Stadion An der Alten Försterei when 26 year old striker, Halil Savran, left for Erzgebirge Aue.

Aue (who used to play in Chemnitz, by the way, but that's another story) challenged for a promotion spot last season but tailed off towards the end and finished with nine points away from the third place play off spot. So far this season they are in thirteenth with a forward line that have only mustered just the seven goals between them. Savran’s goal return is less than steller (no goals in five games) but a change is as good as a rest and perhaps the Wiesbaden born “striker” will find his shooting boots at the Erzgebirgstadion.

Two places above Aue in the 2. Bundesliga are Dynamo Dresden, newly promoted with a swanky new stadium, Dynamo represent a brave new future for clubs in the former East Germany. For a club that has spent a very long time in the doldrums, there is a certain reassurance in the unspectacularliness of their season. But let’s not forget that they did for the mighty Bayer Leverkusen in the German Cup First Round after storming back from 3-0 down to win 4-3 after extra time.

As with many clubs associated with the old east Germany, there is a perception that their supporters can be troublesome. This is not necessarily unwarranted. However, the Dresden club are in a position to look forward and after a season of transition, who knows?

Victory against Furth on Friday will take Dynamo above Energie Cottbus, albeit for a day or so, at least. The Brandenburg club were in the first division as recently as 2009. I have fond memories of Dimitar Rangelov occassionally terrorising opposition defenses at the Stadion der Freundschaft. The Bulgarian rejoined Cottbus at the beginning of the season after spending a couple of seasons at Dortmund and Tel Aviv. The return to Energie seems to have energised him and the attacker has scored eight goals so far. They play 1860 Munich on Monday 23rd.

Another former East German club recently in the First Bundesliga is Hansa Rostock. The Hanseatic club were a mainstay in the top division for ten seasons before getting relegated in 2005. They returned for one season in 2007 but financial problems have beset them and they suffered the indignity of relegation to the 3-Liga.

After one season they bounced back but it would appear that their position in the third flight was not false. They are second from bottom on a run of eight games without a win. So far, only right full back, Marek Janecka has joined them during this January from Slovakia. You feel that it will be a long season for the Rostock.

You can learn more about clubs form the former East Germany on this podcast recorded in December 2011.

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