Footballers are commonly some of the most superstitious workers. Some always put on their left shoe first, others don’t shave during a winning streak – and 1. FC Union just goes to Bad Saarow. Since 2018, the Berliners have always spent a few days at the Scharmutzelsee in the summer preparation and the successes do not give any reason to change anything. Promotion, relegation, now Europe for the second time. Bad Saarow is not to be shaken at Union.

On Thursday, after the morning training, the team drove about 60 kilometers to the south-east from Köpenick, in the afternoon the first forest run was on the program. Urs Fischer will be training twice on Friday at Eintracht Reichenwalde, and again on Saturday before returning to Berlin on Sunday.

But working on fitness with athletic trainer Martin Krüger is just one focus of the short training camp. “It’s especially important for the new guys to get to know the team a bit,” says Fischer. So far, Union has signed seven newcomers. At the start of training on Wednesday in Berlin, only four of them were on the pitch with the team. Jamie Leweling is undergoing rehabilitation after torn a ligament, Paul Seguin was ill and Danilho Doekhi is due to join the team in Bad Saarow. The national players are not expected until next week.

Team building is almost a tradition on the Scharmutzelsee near Union. Last summer, the footballers tried their hand at stand-up paddling, and given the high temperatures, some Berliners will certainly use the water to cool off again this year.

However, Fischer does not want the weekend to be seen purely as a fun event – and given the numerous strength and conditioning exercises, the players will certainly agree with him. “We will do three training sessions, which will also be a bit challenging,” says Fischer. “It’s preparation, after all.”