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Sunday, December 04, 2022

Travel chaos, burning seats and a Uefa penalty – for the Union fans, the return trip from Portugal was not a cakewalk

And Then It Got Light In The Union Block!  Iron Fans Hold A Pyro Show In Braga.
And then it got light in the Union block! Iron fans hold a pyro show in Braga. imago/Matthias Koch

If someone goes on a journey, then he can tell something. The trip to Braga was an unforgettable experience for many fans of 1. FC Union. However, not all circumstances were nice. Which doesn’t even mean the sporting result, this 0:1 against Sporting.

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Braga was in Union hands early on. The travel squad made the atmosphere in the city. All in white and happy to sing. But already at the entrance, the hosts showed themselves not really able to cope with the onslaught of well over 2500 Unioners, some of whom had traveled privately, some in the charter planes subsidized by the association. Far too few staff. Meticulous review. Only eight people were allowed in at a time. The ultras’ megaphones stayed outside. For whatever reason …

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Not everyone was able to take their intended spot in the guest block on the upper tier of the Estádio Municipal de Braga at kick-off. As a result, the team’s support starts with a delay, but was then widely audible. And without the home side’s late opening goal, you probably wouldn’t have heard anything from the Portuguese that evening.

Chaotic return journey for Union fans

On departure it became even more critical. Perhaps also because the Union annex had in the meantime bathed the stadium in bright red. Apparently the local law enforcement officers liked it less than the Union fans. The iron attachment was held in place for over an hour after the final whistle. You weren’t even allowed to exit. Only when a few seat shells in the block were on fire was it allowed to be cleared quickly for safety reasons in order to avoid smoke poisoning.

The onward journey was also chaotic. The 30 fan buses made their way to the airport in Porto, around 60 kilometers from Braga, much earlier than planned. There the machines should have taken off for Berlin at 6.05 a.m. Didn’t work on time either. Efforts by the Irons to have the jets allowed to leave the runways during the night to ease the situation at the airport failed. Around 3:00 a.m. the first trailers were allowed to board, but still had to spend a few hours in the machines on the runway.

Long waiting times at the airport in Porto. This was accompanied by the classic travel problems of today for individual travelers. Some fans complained about canceled flights. The rebookings revealed pretty travel destinations, but rather nothing that immediately smelled like home. The air traffic controllers’ strike in France may not have made everything easier either.

Cynics suggested founding a Union-WG in Porto right away. Others would have been satisfied with being back in the capital before the game against Wolfsburg kicked off on Sunday (3.30 p.m.). It’s called gallows humor.

To make matters worse, there will of course also be a Uefa penalty because of the ignition. Shouldn’t be cheap for Union.

Read more about 1. FC Union here >>

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