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VSG ALTGLIENICKE

SEPTEMBER 2023

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Founded: Jan 1, 1946
Club Members: 1,100
Coach: Karsten Heine
Captain: Philipp Zeiger

Landespokal Berlin Winner: 1
Oberliga Nordost: 1


Website: www.vsg-altglienike.de

 

Like many German football clubs, VSG Altglienicke have a connection to a fervent patriot called Friedrich Ludwig Jahn who, in 1811, began organising gymnastics festivals to counter 'the physical decline of humanity' following Prussia's defeat in the Napoleonic Wars. They soon became national events that inspired gymnasts to form their own associations - including a group from the Berlin district of Treptow-Köpenick who formed 'MTV Spieß Altglienicke' in 1883. It was around this time that interest in the new English game of football  - which Ludwig Jahn discredited as an elitist sport that only sought to divide the world into winners and losers - was also beginning to gain traction and the German capital soon established itself as one of the first 'islands of football' as the game's growing popularity there saw a number of clubs set up in the city including Altglienicker Ballspielclub 09. 

The nascent club spent their early years playing in the local Verband Berliner Ballspielvereine championship before joing forces in 1914 with local clubs BSC Freiheit 06 and SC Jugendlust 09 to form a new club called TuSV Altglienicke 06 before football and, by proxy, the club was brought to a shuddering halt by the advent of war. When football resumed after the conflict, TuSV joined the Märkische Spielvereinigung - a regional worker's sports club league and an ATSB member, During the 19th-century, Germany was dominated by the ideals of discipline and order; and fervent patriots like Friedrich Ludwig Jahn organised gymnastic events across the country to counter 'the physical decline of humanity' following Prussia's defeat in the Napoleonic War. Sport became a highly politicised issue with strong nationalist overtones and football in particular was viewed by many as unpatriotic with players branded 'Traitors to the Fatherland'. As interest in the new English sport gained traction, a class division developed in German society and gymnasts began using their clout to persuade the authorities to drive away anyone who wanted to kick a leather ball about instead. In response, the 'Arbeiter Turn und Sportbund' (ATSB) was formed in 1893 as a workers' sports association that actively promoted interest in sports other than just gymnastics as well as leftist political views based around class struggle and nationalism. Weeks after coming to power, the Nazis ordered the ATSB and any other sports associations with left-leaning or faith-based affiliations, to be banned, dissolved and deleted from official records. And, having joined the ATSB in 1919, TuSV Altglienicke 06  were forced to disband and the handball players joined MTV Spieß Altglienicke.



In 1906, the BSC Freiheit 06 was founded, which had a football division as part of the workers' sport. In 1909, SC Jugendlust 09 and Altglienicker Ballspielclub 09 were founded. The Altglienicker Ballspielclub 09 was a pure football club, which participated from 1911 in the competition operation of the V.B.B. (DFB sub-association for Berlin-Brandenburg). In 1914, the workers' sports clubs merged to form the Turn- und Sportvereinigung Altglienicke 06 and from 1919 onwards carried out regular point games as part of the Märkische Spielvereinigung. The TuSV Altglienicke 06 also had gymnasts and gymnastics women, heavy athletes and from about 1922 handball players. In 1933 the TuSV Altglienicke 06 was dissolved. After the dissolution of the TuSV, the handball players joined the MTV Spieß Altglienicke. In 1945, the MTV Spieß Altglienicke and the Altglienicker BC 09 were dissolved like all other clubs in Germany by a control council decision.

Immediately after the end of the 2nd World War, the Altglienicke athletes gathered to reactivate the sport in Altglienicke. From this point on, organized sport was only possible at the municipal level. From 01.01.1946 all newly formed sports divisions were affiliated with the Altglienicke sports group. From 01.04.1949 clubs could be formed again in the area of East Berlin. The Altglienicker Sportverein was founded, which included the divisions of football, handball, gymnastics and gymnastics, table tennis, chess and bowling. The fishing division did not join.

From 1949 onwards, the sports leadership of the GDR tried to affiliate all clubs to companies. In October 1951, BSG Chemie Adlershof attempted to merge with the Altglienicke sports club. This was rejected on 09.10.1951 by the board of the Altglienicker sports club and by the divisions of the ASV. The Altglienicker Sportverein remained permanently a private club without any business ties.

In 1952, the GDR sports leadership banned the term "club". After long discussions about the new club name, the Altglienicker Sportverein changed its name to 'Volkssport Gemeinschaft Altglienicke' on 1 July 1952. The first letters formed the new club symbol V-G-A.

From 1946 onwards, the footballers mostly played in the lower divisions. In 1958, VSG Altglienicke was promoted from the district class to the 1st class as runners-up. In the following year, as champions of the 1st class, they even succeeded in advancing to the Stadtklasse, the second highest East Berlin league at the time.

They played in the Stadtklasse until the 1964/65 season. After this season we went back to the 1st district class. The re-promotion to the Bezirksklasse (new name for Stadtklasse) succeeded only in the 1969/70 season. However, the district class could not be held, so that VSG Altglienicke was relegated again. Between 1974 and 1982, VSG Altglienicke alternated several times between the district class and the 1st district class. It was not until the 1982/83 season that the team was able to permanently secure its affiliation to the district class.

In the 1988/89 season, the second place in the Bezirksklasse Staffel B was achieved, which entitled to two promotion games to the Bezirksliga – at that time the highest Berlin league. In two exciting games, the favorite BSG Einheit Pankow could be defeated. The first leg in Altglienicke was won 3-1. VSG won the second leg in Pankow 2:3.
 

Thus, VSG Altglienicke played in the district league for the first time in the club's history. In the 1989/90 Bezirksliga season, the club finished in 13th place, which prevented relegation. In the following season 1990/91 the 10th place in the Landesliga Ost was achieved.

After German reunification, VSG Altglienicke became a registered association. In an extraordinary general meeting, the new name of the association was voted on. The club's name VSG Altglienicke was retained. At the beginning of the 90s, VSG Altglienicke e.V. consisted of the departments of football, handball, gymnastics, bowling and sports for the elderly.

The first season of the footballers in the joint Berlin game operation ended with the relegation from the Landesliga to the Kreisliga A. With eighth place in the 1992/93 season, promotion to the newly created Bezirksliga (third highest Berlin league) was achieved. In the 1994/95 season, the club was promoted back to the Landesliga. After ninth place in the Landesliga in the 1995/96 season, relegation began with three relegations in four years. In the 2000–01 season, VSG Altglienicke only played in the Kreisliga B. It was not until the promotion to the Kreisliga A in 2003/04 that better times began for VSG Altglienicke. From the 2006/07 season they played in the Bezirksliga. In 2009 they were promoted to the Landesliga. In the summer of 2010, after two relegation games, they were promoted to the Berlin League. In the 2011/12 season, VSG Altglienicke finished first in the Berlin League and thus became Berlin champions for the first time. This was associated with promotion to the NOFV-Oberliga. For the first time, the footballers played nationwide; Highlight in the more than 100-year history of footballers. After voluntarily withdrawing from the Oberliga in 2014, they played in the Berlin League for two years. In 2016, they became Berlin champions again and were promoted to the NOFV-Oberliga.

Together with former professional players Björn Brunnemann and Torsten Mattuschka, VSG were able to move to the top of the table in the Oberliga for the first time after just three matchdays. In the course of the season, Altglienicke competed with league rivals FSV Optik Rathenow for the top of the table. At the end of the season, VSG secured the championship with a 2-2 draw at SV Lichtenberg 47 and a one-point lead over Optik. In the 2017/18 season, VSG Altglienicke will play in the Regionalliga Nordost for the first time. Since their stadium does not meet the requirements of the NOFV for this league, the club has been playing its home games at the Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Sportpark since this season.

In the 2019/20 season, the biggest cup success in the club's history was achieved there, when FC Viktoria 22 Berlin was defeated 2020-1889 on 6 August 0 to win the Berlin State Cup. In addition, 2019nd place was achieved in the 20/2 Regionalliga season. This position in the table was determined using a quotient system after the season was cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the "unadjusted" table at the time of the season's abandonment, VSG Altglienicke was even in first place in the table due to the better goal difference – level on points with 1st FC Lokomotive Leipzig. Altglienicke, however, had played one game more, so that Lok Leipzig was chosen as the first in the table due to the quota regulation.

In the 2021/22 season, Altglienicke again reached the Berlin State Cup final, but this time lost to FC Viktoria 1889 Berlin 1-2 after conceding two goals in injury time.

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 GROUND DETAILS 

Ground Name: Friedrich Ludwig Jahn Sportpark
Architect: Rudolf Ortner

Year Opened: 1951
Renovations: 1964, 1970, 1986-1987, 1998, 2015

Capacity: 19,708 (all seating)
Record Attendance: 30
,000 (1974)
Construction Costs: DM 15m

Undersoil Heating: Yes

Running Track: Yes

Playing Surface: Natural Grass
Pitch Size: 110m x 72m

Grounds:

Köpenicker Straße/An der Mühle (1946 - 1951)

Volksstadion Altglienicke (1951 - ??)
Stadion Altglienicke (?? - 2020) *

Friedrich Ludwig Jahn Sportpark (2020 -)
*
Stadium Renamed

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Backing up against what was the inner wall in the east and just a short walk from where thousands flowed through the Bornholmer Straße checkpoint on 9th November 1989, the Friedrich Ludwig Jahn Sportpark is one of those places in Berlin where, in the words of Italian songwriter Francesco Guccini … "pieces of the past are mixed with shreds of the present ". Tainted by its association with East Germany's failed experiment in dictatorship, the stadium was home to 'Stasi club' BFC Dynamo and became a meeting place for Berlin’s right-wing, neo-Nazi, hooligan and criminal underground. Even its name has caused controversy amid claims of anti-Semitism and Nazi ideology. Few European grounds have struggled with the specters of the past as much but that only adds to the Jahn Sportpark's gritty allure.

Long before Stasi  leaders haunted the stands, the land was used by the Prussian Army and it became known as Exer  -  a nickname derived from the German word Exerzierplatz  meaning 'parade ground'.
Locals also referred to it as Platz an der Einsamen Pappel  (Place by the Lonely Poplar) after a tree on the site where 20,000 rebellious Berlin workers gathered on 26th March 1848 to demand regulated working hours, minimum wages and the introduction of compulsory schooling from the Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm IV.

By the end of the 19th century, the army had moved on and the vacant square was being used by local residents who lived in crowded tenement blocks and had no other access to open areas.
 Interest in football was also gaining traction in Germany at the time and an exhibition match between teams from Berlin and Dresden was played here on 18 April 1892 which the Berliners lost 0-3. Hertha BSC then made the Exer  their first home later that summer after 'The Old Lady ' was founded in a pub around the corner.
Meanwhile, attempts to stop locals using the ground for their own matches were stopped in their tracks when nobody wanted to stump up the cost of building a wall (this is Berlin after all) around it. In 1910 however, with lawsuits demanding recreational use of the ground being filed against them, the War Ministry finally agreed to sell up and in June 1912 the city of Berlin paid DM 6.5 million for the site before converting it into a sports facility a year later.

After being used as a military base during World War 2, architect Rudolf Ortner was appointed to build a multi sport complex on the 22-hectare site from the rubble of Berlin's ruins with a showpiece stadium at its heart. Opened in time to host the World Festival of Youth and Students in 1951, the new venue had a capacity of 30,000 and was called Berliner Sportpark before being renamed a year later in honour of a fervent patriot called Friedrich Ludwig Jahn on the 100th anniversary of his birth. Jahn is a divisive figure in Germany. To his admirers, he is the father of Gymnastics and a hero who organised
 gymnastic festivals across the country to counter "the physical decline of humanity" following Prussia's defeat in the Napoleonic Wars. For others though; his xenophobic, anti-Semitic views draw parallels with the National Socialist aim to create the ultimate German citizen through the body perfection and the debate about whether or not to rename the stadium has rumbled on for years.

In 1953, army club Vorwärts Berlin became tenants and after a first league title arrived in 1958, five more followed during the 1960s as a lively battle for Oberliga supremacy was fought - and generally won - with FC Carl Zeiss Jena. However, despite being the state's most successful club, the infamous head of the Stasi - Erich Mielke began reshaping East Berlin's football scene to the benefit of his favoured club BFC Dynamo and in 1971, in a move bearing all the hallmarks that had become de rigeur  in state socialist East Germany, Vorwärts were forced to relocate 65 miles east to the footballing backwater of Frankfurt an der Oder. Their departure from the capital cleared the way for Mielke to move BFC Dynamo into the FLJ and 'his boys' went on to tower over the rest of East German football amidst widespread rumours of doping, bribes and corruption. Dubbed by rival fans as Schiebemeister  (cheating champions), they won ten titles on the trot between 1979-1988 and also established themselves as a force in Europe with the likes of Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest, AS Roma and Aberdeen all visiting the Jahn Sportpark.

By the time the Berlin Wall came down however, the blatant favouritism shown towards them by the state had rendered the once great Oberliga a moribund irrelevance and 
East Germany's top clubs all struggled to adapt to the free-market Bundesliga as association with communism, a general demographic exodus and lack of success on the field led to falling attendances. Having profited most from the state-controlled football of the GDR, it was BFC Dynamo who suffered the most when that backing disappeared. As the club sold its stars to the West and began a descent towards the lower reaches of the German game, a brutal hooligan scene soon had the stadium firmly under control and with crowds staying away and money becoming tight, Die Weinroten  moved out of the Friedrich Ludwig Jahn Sportpark in 1992 leaving the stadium to fall into disrepair.

Despite numerous renovations over the years, including a €2 million refit to bring it up to scratch ahead of the 2015 UEFA Women's Champions League final, Berlin's third largest stadium remains a decaying relic of the Cold War era. Merging early and late phase East German modernism, it's a typical continental bowl with a lower tier ringing the pitch in a continuous sweep of signature multi-coloured seats - save for the double-tiered main stand which dominates the eastern side of the ground. Opened in 1987 when the stadium underwent a revamp, the grandstand's coral red panels contrast sharply with cold brutalist architecture and it's where you'll find the matchday offices, players tunnel and dug-outs. Its façade is also notable for the so-called 'Mielke Ramp' which allowed the Stasi Minister and his flunkeys to get out of their Volvos and Volgas right outside the VIP lounge on the upper floor.

The main stand's dilapidated condition means that its upper tier is closed and because the lower tier is reserved for media and VIPs, most fans tend to congregate instead under the roof of the 
Gegengerade (Blocks H-O) along the western side of the ground. Immediately behind this stand is a section of the Berlin Wall covered in chunky lettering and coded messages by graffiti artists. Beyond that is the
Mauerpark  (Wall Park) which stands on land that was known as the 'Death Strip' on account of the hundreds of observation towers, attack dogs, trip-wire machine guns and armed guards primed to shoot anyone trying to escape to the West.

The remaining sides of the oval shaped ground are open to the elements and away fans are normally welcomed into the southern Kurve (Blocks F-G) - although it was closed on our visit (21.11.21) and the Gäste Block was moved instead to Blocks H-J on the Gegengerade. A well maintained synthetic athletics track installed in 1970 sets the ends behind the goal a fair distance from the action and four iconic trapezoidal floodlights are as much a part of the stadium's look as the distinctive red, yellow and green seating added in 1998.

Although plans to completely renovate the historic (albeit decaying) FLJ were drawn up in 2019, these have continually been put back by the Berlin authorities who have set aside a whopping €160 million to convert it into an 'inclusion sports park'. The latest delay has come following a legal challenge by lawyers who state that the development plans were not "legally compliant and highly vulnerable to legal action" and have ordered new plans to be drawn up that take into consideration the environmental impact of the development on the surrounding area including the proposed felling of trees. As part of the planning process, an architectural competition to design the new stadium complex is also due to take place and was expected to be completed by mid-2022. At the time of writing, funding for the whole project still hasn't been secured and the whole schedule has been pushed back. Not that this should come as any great surprise to anyone - this is Berlin after all !

Meanwhile, whilst the Friedrich Ludwig Jahn Sportpark's long-term future remains uncertain, Regionalliga Nordost side VSG Altglienicke have moved in and will play their home fixtures here for the next two seasons on account of the fact that their Stadion Altglienicke home (and in particular, its artificial pitch) doesn't meet Regionalliga Nordost regulations.

 BUYING TICKETS 

Ticket Office:
Website: www.etix.com

Telephone: +49 (0) 351 30708010
Email: hilfe@etix.com

Average Attendance:
2022-2023: 380 (Regionalliga Nordost)
2021-2022: 288 (Regionalliga Nordost) *
2020-2021: 328 (Regionalliga Nordost) *

2019-2020: 406 (Regionalliga Nordost) *
2018-2019: 293 (Regionalliga Nordost)
* Season affected by COVID pandemic

Expected Ticket Availability

The club website is German only but Google Translate makes short work of being able to navigate your way around.

Even with a capacity limit of 10,000 on matchdays, the 'FLJ' comes nowhere close to being packed to the rafters and only the main stand (blocks A & B) is likely to be in use. Tickets are sold in Print@Home or Mobile formats through the online shop the club run with ticketing partners Etix with full-payers charged €10 and seniors, disabled people, students and children (aged 6-12) relieved of €8. All tickets bought online however are subject to an additional €1 surcharge. 

 GETTING THERE & AWAY 

Stadium Address:

Cantianstraße 24
10437 Berlin

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BY CAR:
If you're in the car, there are a number of different directions you can come and the simplest advice is to put the stadium address in your Sat-Nav and follow its guidance. Be warned though, there are no official car parks available for fans at the ground and only limited parking in the surrounding area. If you can, park up somewhere near a U-Bahn station and take public transport from there.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT:

The Friedrich Ludwig Jahn Sportpark is very well connected to the dense public transport network in Berlin, although your match ticket does NOT include travel to and from the stadium on a matchday. Getting there from the centre of Berlin will be covered by an 'AB' ticket which costs €3.20 each way - but don't forget to validate it by stamping your ticket at the yellow or red boxes on platforms, buses or trams. It's called 'Entwerten ' in German and anyone caught travelling without a stamped ticket escapes only with a red face and a €60 on-the-spot fine.

You have a number of options available to you. On the U-Bahn, U2 (Direction: Pankow) crosses the city centre with convenient stops at the transport hubs of Zoologischer Garten, Potsdamer Platz and Alexanderplatz before making its way to Eberswalder Straße, a five minute walk from the ground. Alternatively, jump on U8 (Direction: Wittenau) and get off at Bernauer Straße from where it's a 15 minute stroll to the turnstiles. On the S-Bahn, take either of the S41 or S42 lines which circle around the Ringbahn  and hop off at Schönhauser Allee for the short walk to the FLJ.

You can also get to the match aboard one of the 'Bombardier Flexity Berlins' - the name given to trams on one of the oldest and largest networks in the world. Jump on Tram M10 (Direction: S+U Warschauer Straße) at Berlin Hauptbahnhof for the 10 minute ride to the Friedrich Ludwig Jahn Sportpark stop.

WALKING DIRECTIONS:
Berlin is BIG and the city has gone to a lot of trouble to ensure people don't have to walk to the match. If you do want to burn off some Currywurst  however, use Google Maps to help plan the route - but give yourself about an hour from Alexanderplatz or the Hauptbahnhof to avoid missing kick-off.

 FAN SHOP, MUSEUM & STADIUM TOURS 

FAN SHOP:
Bad news for collectors of matchday memorabilia. Highlighting the straitened economic realities of being a modest club used to operating in the amateur ranks, it looks like VSG are yet to justify the cost of opening a fan shop.

They might operate a mobile shop at the stadium on matchdays but otherwise, all your blue and white souvenirs will have to be sourced through the club's online shop 
here

 FOOD & DRINK OPTIONS 

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There's no shortage of pre-match bars and restaurants in the hip Prenzlauer Berg neighbourhood around the stadium. 

Prater on Kastanienallee is the city's oldest beer garden (open since 1837) and a good place for classic Berlin dishes or to guzzle a cold one before making your way to the match. Brave the queues outside Konnopke's Imbiss (Schönhauser Allee 44a; 10am-8pm, Mon-Fri; 12pm-8pm, Sat ) for legendary Currywurst  from one of Berlin's cult sausage kitchens. Gugelhof made headlines in 2000 when feeding former US President Bill Clinton and instead of 'dining out' on its fame ever since, continues to serve up robust German meals and inventive daily specials. 

There are plenty of cafes in the streets surrounding the Eberswalder Straße U-Bahn station and the line between cafe and bar often blurs as the hands move around the clock - much to the disapproval of noise-sensitive neighbours.

The options inside the FLJ won't make the culinary big-time but you can still fill up on Bratwurst and watch the match with a few pints of Berliner Kindl - and you'll be pleased to know that you can pay for everything with cash.

OTHER CLUBS IN THE AREA

BUNDESLIGA: 1.FC Union Berlin, Hertha Berlin, RB Leipzig
 

BUNDESLIGA 2: FC Hansa Rostock
 

3.LIGA: Erzgebirge Aue, FSV Zwickau, Hallescher FC, SG Dynamo Dresden

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