Monday, November 21, 2005

News: Bundesliga - Hertha lose...

As you can probably guess from the title, there was a wry smile on my face on Saturday when, sitting in my favourite cafe watching the Bundesliga, the news came through that Hertha Berlin had lost 2-0 against Borussia Dortmund. It still leaves Hertha fifth in the Bundesliga table, but 13 points behind the leaders Bayern with only thirteen games played.

Which means that the chances of having to live through a championship celebration here in the German capital remain small, and thank goodness for that.

Now, when it comes to football my true allegiances lie back across the channel in sunny England, but when I moved to Berlin I thought it might be nice to find a Bundesliga team to support. I went to a number of games at the impressive Olympiastadion, but it wasn't the nazi-era architecture that left me cold. Rather, it was the fans of the Berlin club. I don't know where they hang out all week, but ride the S-Bahn or the U2 on matchdays and you'll see what I am talking about. Football fans in general are often not the most pleasant bunch to be stuck with on a train carriage, but for pure asocial ape-like behaviour, the Hertha fans I came into contact with took some beating.

(Note: Yes, yes, I know. There are plenty of nice Hertha fans. Problem is, they are not a loud or dominating as the kindl-swigging bunch that I ran into each time I headed west to watch the footie)

They probably lost me the moment when a bunch of them, hearing me speaking in English to a friend of mine, starting singing songs about my passport and other nationalistic guff that anyone living in Germany can tell you is extremely rare indeed. One of my pals, a Stuttgart fan if it matters, told me the problem with Hertha is that they have no history. In his words, they are not a real club. So I will leave Hertha to the lost and lonely that only feel worth something when they are in a group and able to intimidate and dominate the surroundings, and cheer whoever is playing against them.

Which is sad, because Hertha have some good players. Not least the irrepressible Marcelinho who would be worth the price of a ticket to the Olympiastadion alone.

(In the interests of fairness, if you haven't been to watch a game you should go - the stadium is a wonder - so if you want to find out when Hertha are playing you can find the schedule and other club-related info here.)


Blogger BerlinBear said...

Interesting. Very interesting. I've only been to three games, but I have not had the same experience as you at all, either in the stadium or in the S-Bahn. In fact, as I read your post, I actually thought what you were describing sounded more like Schalke fans, tbh. Also, I could name a fair few English clubs where if all you received from a run-in with the more unpleasant fans were a couple of nationalistic jibes, you'd be thanking your lucky stars, no?

I'm interested to know who you support across the Channel now. Care to share?

8:45 pm  
Blogger P. said...

No, you are right. This was a bit of a rant really - I have been to three or four games at the Olympiastadion and I just never felt comfortable. Unlucky I guess.

BTW - My team is currently playing real betis as I type...

9:08 pm  
Blogger BerlinBear said...

Ah, the Reds. Fair enough. Are you from up north then? Personally, I'm coming round from a position of hating them with a passion when I was a kid (You can blame Peter Beardsley, Bruce Grobelaar and Ian Rush for that) to quite fancying them, based on the fact that Anfield is currently home to several of my favourite players, but it hasn't yet gone so far that I could call myself a fan. Anyway, good luck tonight. I wonder why you're blogging and not down the pub, eh?

9:35 pm  
Blogger P. said...

I'm listening to it on the internet as I post. Various personal reasons mean I am at home, plus the beer is cheaper from my fridge than at the Oscar Wilde ;-)

9:40 pm  

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