1. FC Union Berlin
Pre-Season + August - 2025
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A relatively quiet summer for us as our only significant business was to move on 3 backup players to make room in the squad for young players to move into the first team. First to leave was the Spanish defender Alberto Herrero who we brought in a few months ago from Barcelona for £11,250,000. He left to go to Liverpool for £20,000,000 + 50% of his next fee which I believe represents a fantastic piece of business! Next to leave was 28 year old midfielder Gianluca Gaudino to Nottingham Forest for £22,000,000. He arrived from Leipzig for £8,750,000 in 2020 and has proved to be invaluable backup to the first 11 in his 5 years at the club, but the time was right to move him on and cash in for a premium whilst we still could. The final departure represents a rare slight failing from us in the transfer market. Backup defensive midfielder Bertolani left for Fulham for £22,500,000, a £4,000,000 loss on what we paid to Hamburg for his signature in 2020. However we do have a 50% sell on clause so we may end up making our money back on him and he was always decent enough when he played for us. We also got around £4,000,000 from a 50% sell on clause on Benjamin Karg who left Real Madrid for Fulham.
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Wins over Bayern Munchen and Manchester City in both Super Cups mean we already have 2 trophies in the cabinet for the season and the form to start the league season suggests there is no reason to believe we won't win many more. Our two home league games have been won with an aggregate score of 15-0, whilst we have kept 4 consecutive clean sheets in the league.
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The quality of the backup in the squad is not quite as strong this season as youngsters like Skraparas, Gentner, Klata and Claasen have been called up from the under 19's to plug the gaps left by the departing players, however they should all see some good development given enough game time this year. We've gone with a 23 man squad (17 of which are eligible for Germany) and have decided to keep Kurzawa around for the year as I wouldn't be comfortable in Claasen stepping in for a big game and I wouldn't be able to get any decent money for Kurzawa at his age so I'll just let his contract run down this year. One thing I don't understand is 20 year old left back Caner Demir is refusing my... I mean Michael Ballack's... call up to the German national side. He does have secondary Turkish nationality so maybe he is holding out for them but I would find that strange since Germany is obviously the stronger footballing nation.
1) After a brilliant summer for the club financially, we now sit with just under £160,000,000 in the bank heading into September. Not bad considering we were in the red at some point last season!
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2) Michael Ballack has managed to put 15 year old French prospect Romain Durand in the Germany under 20's squad, which is hopefully enough to stop any French junior team calling him up before he is old enough that Ballack can give him a Germany cap to make him eligible only for Germany!
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Next update will be a short update covering Ballack's first two games in charge of Germany, at home to Wales and Hungary.