Union Berlin’s promotion to the top flight of German football in 2019 made them the fifth team from the capital to compete in the Bundesliga. The Iron Ones joined the list of Tasmania 1900 Berlin, Blau-Weiß Berlin, Tennis Borussia Berlin and their Saturday opponents, Hertha Berlin.
Despite producing the most clubs of any city in Germany, before this weekend, there had only been nine Berlin derbies in Bundesliga history. The match between Union and Hertha in the DFB Pokal this season was their first-ever national cup meeting.
Of all of the clubs Berlin has generated, Hertha have been the most successful. In the history of the Bundesliga, Hertha has competed in 39 of the 59 seasons, the most of any Berlin club. Before the promotion of Union Berlin, Tennis Borussia Berlin were the only other Berlin team to spend more than one season in the top flight.
The Berlin derby is very storied, as the rivalries between the various clubs are also affected by the splitting of Germany during the Cold War. The first recorded Berlin derby was in 1974 between Hertha Berlin and Tennis Borussia Berlin, with Hertha winning 3 - 0 in the Olympiastadion.
However, these can be mostly categorised as West Berlin derbies, as Union Berlin resided in what was East Berlin. The first meeting between Hertha and Union after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1990 attracted over 51,000 fans and acted as a celebration of the reunification of the city.
But, with the reunification of the city, also came the merging of the separate league systems. This saw Hertha, who were a significantly higher level than Union at the time, promoted to the top flight whereas Union found themselves in the new third tier. The economic impacts of the split of Germany were also a constant worry for Union after the reunification.
Despite the history of the city and the two clubs, most fans consider the rivalry mainly manufactured - stating that the rivalry is just a local one rather than one born from the East-West divide during the Cold War.