Monday, October 27, 2014

A bit of tourism in Dortmund

We didn't have much time for tourism in Dortmund and it seems that the football dominates the city. We went past the U Building a few times, which rates as a place of interest, but due to its proximity to the stadium it didn't really register with us. Above is another monument of interest, St. Reinold's Church.

Another landmark is the Florianturm, a telecommunications tower not dissimilar to several others in Germany. It's located between the hotel where we stayed and the stadium. It is named after the patron saint of gardeners and was built for a horticultural show in 1959.

Sean was most impressed by the U-Bahn though and made this video of a train at Margrafenstrasse station, which was the station round the corner from our hotel.

But as the mural in departures at Dortmund airport shows, it's all about the football.

BVB Borussia Dortmund 0 Hannover 96 1

And finally the reason why we were in Dortmund... for the match between BVB and Hannover. Unfortunately, things didn't go according to plan.

Dortmund dominated the game for the first hour, but the Hannover team stood resolute and looked like they would be happy to get a 0-0 draw. Aubameyang and Ramos both had several chances for the home team, but appeared wasteful in front of goal, on another day they would have been 3-0 up at half time. Reus looked dangerous going forward and hit the top of the net with a goal that looked like it was going in. Mkhitaryan and Gundogan made some good progress in midfield, but still didn't look completely match fit. But as half time approached it looked more like when Dortmund were going to score rather than when.

Hannover seemed to still be determined to sit back and let Reus attack them after the break, on the odd occasion when they did break Subotic cleared the danger and Hannover didn't even get a shot in. Then the visitors got a free kick and Kiyotake beat Weidenfeller in the Dortmund goals with a beautiful shot that he couldn't do anything about. It was to be the only shot that they had all game. When they got the lead they sat back even further and Zieler in Hannover's goals was in fantastic form.

The game finished 1-0 despite all of Dortmund's dominance. The performance and effort can't be denied, but the result will cause Klopp a few more sleepless nights. There was also the problem that although the defence weren't really tested and Subotic cleared most dangers the ball sometimes fell into the danger zone as the midfielders didn't get back and Hummels despite his reputation had a couple of wonky moments when Hannover broke.

Borussia Dortmund V Hannover Sud Tribune Video 4

The Sud Tribune a few minutes before the game kicked off.

Borussia Dortmund V Hannover Sud Tribune Video 3

More of the Sud Tribune before kick off against Hannover on Saturday.

Borussia Dortmund V Hannover Sud Tribune Video 2

Another video of Borussia Dortmund v Hannover of the Sud Tribune leading up to kick off.

Borussia Dortmund V Hannover Sud Tribune Video 1

This was a long time before kick off, but the Sud Tribune were already in good voice

Sud Tribune, Dortmund

The Sud Tribune at Westfalen is famed for the noise and support that it gives the BVB team. They started up early and carried on until well after the match had finished despite the poor result. At the end the team looked suitably disappointed when they thanked the fans. Nobody apart from the Hannover fans probably expected 96 to win. Hopefully better times for the Sud Tribune are just around the corner.

Early in Westfalen

We were among the first few people in the stadium and after we claimed our drink and hot dog we took up our seats. The Sudtribune fills up and starts creating an atmosphere a long time before kick off, which more or less tells you how early we were there!

Outside Westfalen on Saturday

As I said, we got to the stadium really early, we had a bit of a walk round and went to the beer garden even though it was quite cold and damp. Sean also bought a giant flag in the shop, which I am surprised got through customs on the way back.

I was a bit surprised by the Polizia Merda sign so predominately displayed outside the stadium though.

There was a good atmosphere outside with the fans of both clubs drinking together in the beer garden and a surprising number of away fans buying stuff in the club shop.

Eintracht Dortmund

We went out really early to the stadium on Saturday, so on the way we checked out the Eintracht Dortmund stadium where kids train and play. The facilities showed why England is lagging behind and Germany win world cups. It looks like the type of model we should be trying to implement here.

Friday evening in Dortmund

We just went to the pub, back to the bratwurst place and bought some German Matchattax!

Stadion Rote Erde

Next to Westfalen Stadion is Stadion Rote Erde. It's a decent size in itself with a capacity of 25,000, although it is dwarfed by the giant Westfalen Stadion being placed next to it. It was opened in 1924, but was mainly used for athletics. The first football match was in 1926 when Dortmund lost to local rivals Schalke 4-1. Dortmund made it their permanent home in 1937, as their own ground was needed by the Nazis. They remained there until 1971 when Westfalen Stadion was inaugurated.

Nowadays it is used by Dortmund's second team who are in the third division. They drew with Hansa Rostock, who used to be afamous name themselves in the past on Sunday, but we were at the airport by then. I took these photos when we were looking around the ground after our museum trip on Friday.

Friday at Westfalenstadion

After the museum we went to the club shop and Sean got one of the Champions League shirts, which they wore on Saturday. The reason they wore this one was that Klopp was starting to think that the home league shirt was cursed after three losses in a row. They were probably wrong though as they unfortunately lost again.


After getting on the U-Bahn we headed for the museum. It was really interesting to see all the old trophies and souvenirs from from Dortmund's history. The highlight was the Super Cup that is also kept in the museum, it's just a pity that they haven't got more trophies at the moment! The video sections and the cinema are probably a highlight to, as they bring the objects on display to life. There are even a couple of fussball tables for you to have a go on after looking around.

Friday arrival in Dortmund

We got to Dortmund early and planned to head out straight for the museum, but we were that early out tickets hadn't arrived at the hotel. To pass the time we went for a Bratwurst and found the U-Bahn station, which was conveniently situated just around the corner and the stadium was only three stops away. Luckily when we got back our package was there with some soft drinks, scarves, tickets and programme for the match.

A weekend in Dortmund

We're just back from a weekend in Dortmund where we went to see Borussia Dortmund play Hannover in the Bundesliga. Unfortunately, things didn't really go to plan with BVB going down 1-0 at home. It was a great weekend though on the Adrenalin trip where apart from the experience of going to the Westfalenstadion we also went to the museum and had the craic in general, with free food and drink, scarves and 20 Euros off in the club shop it was actually pretty good value. The picture above shows Sean early at Cambridge station on our way to Stansted.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Hannover 96 - Club focus

Hannoverscher Sportverein von 1896 to give them their full name will be providing the opposition when we go to Dortmund next week. Dortmund have got off to a disappointing start in the Bundesliga and despite a bright start Hannover's form has also taken a dip for the worse. Their last 3 games have ended in defeat against Stuttgart, Bayern and Moenchengladbach. But as Sepp Herberger would have said 'Der Ball ist rund', so it's going to be tough to predict what will happen next week.

The Club started off in 1896 as a rugby club before changing over to football a couple of years later. They would have perhaps been more succesful in their early years if it wasn't for Eintracht Braunschweig, who regularly beat them. Their first major victory came when they were crowned champions in 1938 after causing a massive upset and beating the all conquering Shalke team in the final. The first game finished 3-3. but Hannover prevailed in the replay winning 4-3.

The next major victory for Die Roten came in 1954 when they reached the final against Kaiserslautern. This time their victory was a lot more comfortable though, as they ran out 5-1 winners.

The club weren't selected to be in the Bundesliga when it first started in 1963, but they won promotion to the top table a year later. They spent 10 years in the top division, before being relegated and in 1974-5, although they did bounce back at the first attempt.

From the late 70s to the early 90s Hannover didn't have the best of times. They spent most of the time outside of the top division, although in 1992, they became the first team out of the top division to win the DFB Pokal. Their most humiliating times were just around the corner though as they spent 1996-98 in the Regionalliga Nord (III). After promotion in 1998 though they again won promotion back to the Bundesliga 2002 where they have played ever since.

In 2012 they reached the quarter final of the Europa League before losing out to eventual tournament winners, Atletico Madrid in the Quarter Finals. In 2013 they went out in the Round of 32 to Anzhi Makhachkala.

Ely Reserves 0 Outwell Swifts 1

After the trauma of following the first team, who finally got a win yesterday when they beat Clacton 4-2 away, i thought I'd give the reserves a go.

It was a first round of the William Coad Intermediate Cup and the visitors were Outwell Swifts. Ely had most of the pressure in both halves, but the game was ultimately decided by an own goal from the Ely left back in the opening minutes of the second half.

Ely tried their best to get an equaliser, and the goalkeeper also went up in stoppage time, but it wasn't to be despite a good effort.

Now only one week to go to the big one in Dortmund!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Ely City - they think it's all over

Ely played the only team with a worse record than them on yesterday, when they took on Diss Town. Most people were looking forward to 'the battle of the losers'. as it was seen as the chance where Ely might finally get at least a point on the board.

The first half was characterised by 2 teams making errors. Diss probably had the better chances, probably because they kept it simple. Somebody ought to tell the Ely players that when you aren't good enough for the Eastern Counties, you shouldn't really be trying to play like Messi.

Surprisingly Ely took the lead in the second half when Luke Fretwell scored a bullet header, but it wasn't to last. A defender whose name it's probably better not to mention upended a Diss player in the box in one of the clumsiest challenges ever seen and it was 1-1, as Diss made sure from the spot. There was still time for the circus defenders to mess it up completely and truly embarrass themselves with yet more schoolgirl defending. Diss got another one. they move off the foot of the table and the black comedy that is Ely City and the players who have convinced themselves that they deserve a chance at this level are still on zero points.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Borussia Dortmund club focus

Football in late 19th Century Germany was dominated by the rich teams from the South of Germany and those based in Berlin, Borussia Dortmund or Ballspielverein Borussia 09 e.V. Dortmund to give them their full name were of a different breed. Originally German teams had been founded by rich middle class fans of the sport and were part of bigger sports clubs. The letter 'T' for example in many teams stands for the German gymnastics term 'Turnen'. Borussia though were part of the industrial Rhine's working class fascination at the turn of the century, as workers flocked to the mines in the area. If we look at Borussia's full name Ballspielverein (which gives us the BV on the badge) stands for Ball sports club. The name Borussia is the neo-Latin name for Prussia. Many of the clubs in Germany have pretentious names like this, due to the rich educated men who formed them, in Dortmund's case though it was because the founders met in a pub selling Borussia beer. The 09 stands for the year they were formed and e.V. is in most teams to show they are a non for profit organisation (ha ha).

In their early years Borussia Dortmund only met with moderate success. They were quite often in the shadows of their then more illustrious neighbours and now deadliest enemies Shalke, who dominated German football in the inter war years. Their first appearance in a national league final was 1949, when they lost 3-2 to Mannheim in the final. This was at time when Germany didn't have a national league and between 1946 and 1962 - the Bundesliga was founded in 1963- they played in the all powerful Oberliga West. During this period Dortmund won the championship in 1956 and 1957 as well as the final German Championship in 1963. The 1957 game has especially gone down in folkelore with Dortmund beating Hamburg 4-1. The three Alfreds of the team (Alfred Prei├čler, Alfred Kelbassa and Alfred Niepieklo) are still legends in Dortmund.

Dortmund's next piece of glory came in 1965 when they won the DFB Pokal Cup (German FA Cup). The following year they won the Cup Winner's Cup beating Liverpool 2-1 in the final. It was to be a bitter-sweet year though, as at they would have been crowned champions, if it hadn't lost four of their last five games. In the end they were caught by Munich 1860, who's hero Konietzka had recently joined the Munich club from you guessed it, Dortmund.

Despite moving to the impressive Westfalenstadion in 1972, the 1970's and 1980's were barren spells for the BVB boys. Financial problems and poor performances on the pitch went hand in hand. As the 80's started to turn into the 90's though things started to change for the better. In 1989 Dortmund beat Werder Bremen 4-1 in the cup final and then went on to beat Bayern Munich in the Super Cup. This was a sign of things to come, as the 1990s are generally seen as a golden era for Borussia Dortmund.

The real turning point was in 1991 when Ottmar Hitzfield took charge of the team. In 1992 Dortmund finished second, narrowly losing out to Stuttgart. The following season they finished fourth and made it to the UEFA Cup final. Despite losing 6-1 on aggregate to Juventus in the final, they still found themselves DM 25 million better off, and for once Borussia had cash to burn! one of the most impressive signings that they used the cash for was sweeper Matthias Sammer, who returned to Germany from Inter to sign for BVB. Dortmund went on to win the league and Super Cup in 1995 and 1996 and Sammer also picked up European footballer of the year in 1996.

There was yet more3 to come the following year though. Dortmund reached the final of the Champions League and as fate would have it the game was held in Munich against the team who had humiliated them in the UEFA Cup final, Juventus. Dortmund went on to win 3-1 in a game that saw Paul Lambert mark Zinedine Zidane out of the match.

At the start of the 21st Century Borussia became the first and still only German club to be floated on the stock exchange. It didn't seem to propel them forward though, as the early part of the century was another barren period for the team in black and yellow.

The charismatic Jurgen Klopp took over as the noughties drew to a close and his first act was to get Dortmund in the UEFA Cup in 2010, with the club narrowly missing out on the Champions League. The following year Klopp had assembled a young and hungry squad that went on to win the Bundesliga and drew them equal on seven titles with rivals Shalke.

In 2012 the yellow machine continued its onwards march, this time securing the double, but there was another development on the horizon. As well as the Spanish and English vultures circling the Westfalenstadion were Bayern Munich who have embarked on a spending spree since then, most of the time trying to pick off Dortmund's talent. In 2013 BVB finished second to the Bavarians and also lost in the Champions League final to them. Last season Dortmund came second to Bayern again, but the gap was bigger. Dortmund, this season have started poorly, mainly due to injuries and despite a decent start in the Champions League they seem to be already too far behind Bayern to catch them. Let's hope they can turn things round quickly and a win against Hannover when we are in town would be nice too.

A quiet couple of weeks

I have had a couple of quiet weekends since last posting here. After Ely's abject defeat at home to Whitton United, they've continued their poor run of form away from home losing to Kirkley and Pakefield 3-0 and Felixstowe and Walton 6-0 in the league. Over the last two weekends I have had to be content with watching football on the TV. The first of those weeks Sean's team had a late kick off, which meant we couldn't really go anywhere and the trains and weather fought against us the week which followed. I was also saving some money, as later this month we have an exciting trip to Borussia Dortmund v Hannover to look forward to and. Next up it's back to the Unwin though as Ely City take on fellow strugglers Diss Town on Saturday in the battle of 'the almost practically already relegated'.