Sunday, 13 April 2008

SC Freiburg 2 - 0 Carl Zeiss Jena

Went to Freiburg today with two good friends, Karl-Heinz and Pete, to watch some second division football at Sportclub Freiburg. Attendance 14,050.

Jena scuppered Freiburg's promotion chances last season with a last-minute equaliser, so today was a bit of pay-back time for SCF. Not only that, but Freiburg disastrously lost 0-5 the previous Sunday at the home of anarchy that is St. Pauli. (Here is a fact well known to followers of German football, and quoted in, ahem, Wikipedia: "St. Pauli opens its home matches with AC/DC's Hells' Bells, and after every home goal Song 2 by Blur is played, turning the stadium into a giant mosh pit." Evidently no room for Freiburg's pretty passes with eleven hairy-ar*ed cloggers with a skull and cross-bones on their shirts chasing them.

For the first time in ages, we stood in the Nordtribüne instead of sitting elsewhere. Being the typical English-style fans we are, we arrived only a few minutes before kick-off, which meant that we had to settle for standing room at ground level right behind the goal - given that German fans arrive hours before the match to grab the best sun benches.. sorry, terrace spaces.

The match itself was a fairly entertaining affair and Freiburg were well worth their win. One of the notable features of standing in the Nordtribüne was that the crowd were egged on by some bloke with a microphone who stood on a few cardboard boxes about 10 yards from us. He would start each chant through his loudspeaker, then the crowd would follow suit. Not very spontaneous, if you ask me. This cheerleader was facing the crowd during the whole 90 minutes (although I noticed that someone else came on and replaced the original one for the second half). The first one probably got bored. Such a phenomenon is fairly recent and dates back to around 2001/2002 when the more dedicated (or extreme) fans of most Bundesliga clubs began to form Ultra groups - a way of mimicking Italian football supporters and their various groupings. I don't wish to cast judgment on such fans, but only to say that English football does pretty well without them. But then again, English fans are rather more spontaneous.

Incidentally, Jögi Löw, the Germany manager, was at the match today. He supposedly has a house on the outskirts of Freiburg in Freiburg-St. Georgen.

Another notable fact was that the flamboyantly monikered Alain Junior Olle Olle came on for Freiburg some time during the second half. He is from Cameroon and was signed from Uruguay's Nacional during the winter break.

To cap off the day, United beat Arsenal thanks to a stunning free-kick from Owen Hargreaves.

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