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Good-humoured fan atmosphere
German football is famed for its merry, good-humoured atmosphere, and what better place to experience it that the country’s bustling capital?
The famed city is one of the oldest footballing cities in Germany, with 24 of the original 86 German Football Association members coming from within the city. It’s long history has provided many memorable moments, including World Cup and Champions League finals, and many of these moments were born at the Olympiastadion – a stunning 74,000 capacity stadium in the heart of the city.
The stadium was originally built to host the 1936 summer Olympics, ordered by none other than Adolf Hitler, and soon became iconic when American athletic Jesse Owens romped to four gold medals at the tournament in track events, as the Nazi leader watched on from his personal stand.
However, the masterpiece stadium has become better known in the world of football over the last few decades, hosting the 2006 FIFA World Cup final, and with it Zinedine Zidane’s infamous headbutt on Marco Materazzi. Likewise, the stadium was also picked to host the 2015 Champions League final, with Barcelona securing a historic treble with a 3-1 victory over Italian champions Juventus.
Hertha BSC – Meet the top team
While such big games don’t come along very often, football fans have the opportunity to visit the Olympiastadion every other weekend, as it is also home to Bundesliga side Hertha BSC. While the side might not compare to the likes of champions Bayern Munich when it comes to trophies, they certainly know how to draw a crowd, with an average of more than 50,000 fans filling into the ground on most match-days.
Those figures often reach maximum capacity against the bigger Bundesliga sides, but, no matter when you attend, it is certain to leave a lasting impression. Especially if you haven’t experienced the wonder of German football in the past. The country’s fans are among the loudest in the world, and you are bound to be treated to 90 minutes of passionate singing, chanting and bouncing from both sets of fans.
Formed in 1892, Hertha Berlin is one of Germany’s oldest football clubs, and was one of the founding members of both the German Football Association in 1900 and the Bundesliga in 1963. Despite a season in 2. Bundesliga, the second tier, in 2010/11, Berlin quickly bounced back, and remain the biggest club in the city.
Olympischer Platz 3
FC Union Berlin – Meet the underdogs
However, they aren’t the only club in Berlin, and if you prefer to watch lower league football, a trip to FC Union Berlin’s Stadion An der Alten Forsterei might be for you.
While the small capacity of just 22,000 is significantly less than their city rivals, you can feel just how important the club is to the small number of fans that turn up week in, week out, and the fact that more than 2,300 of them turned out to help the club with stadium renovations back in 2013 says it all.
Despite their lowly position, the club’s loyal fans are well-known throughout Germany, and with the majority of the stadium made up of standing terraces, it’s a fantastic club to visit if you want to experience all the fantastic things that German football is famed for.
No money – No problem – Do it yourself stadium
Union Berlin’s stadium is called ‘Stadion An der Alten Försterei’ (Stadium by the old forester’s house) In the summer of 2008, the club decided to finally modernise the stadium, the Stadion An der Alten Försterei (Old Forester’s House). Money was still tight, and so the fans simply built the ground themselves.
More than 2,000 Union supporters invested 140,000 working hours to create what is now regarded as the largest football-only stadium in Berlin. The fans gave blood and donated the money to the football club, so the Union Berlin fans really do bleed for their team.
A great official song by Nina Hagen
The official Union Berlin song is “Eisern Union” by the famous German Punk-Star Nina Hagen, and is sung before every home game.
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