Friday, June 16, 2006

One man and his log Hamm

One man and his log
Wednesday 14th June Berlin. Hamm. Dortmund. Hamm

I mentioned earlier the exorbitant prices some hotels were charging. Coupled with this was a stipulation that you also had to book a minimum of three nights in some places. As a result of a compromise I ended up booking three nights in Berlin in one place, as it was cheaper than one night at the other options I had found.

So despite having accommodation in Berlin I set off for Dortmund as I had managed to get a ticket for the Germany v Poland match. All the talk before was of high security and a good chance of a major incident. Although there was a higher police presence in the city all the bars were open, the Fan fest was packed and everyone was singing and dancing in the streets. It is normal for German football fans to be walking down the road carrying a crate of beer to any Bundesliga match. I thought that the police may have clamped down on this behaviour but they are very relaxed and life continues as normal.

Before the match chants of Ecuador rang out as the Germans revelled in the situation their opponents found themselves in. The game itself was tense and as time wore on the Poles started to look for a goal that could have been their lifeline. Twice breaking down the left flank, cynical German fouls stopped promising attacks and resulted in bookings. The next foul committed by a Pole resulted in a booking, his second and the game swung towards Germany.

The euphoria after the game, fuelled by Coke (ads) which as you may have seen predict victory in Berlin and remind Germans that statistically speaking everytime the World Cup is held in Germany that they win. Led to chants of "Germany, World Champions" and "Berlin, Berlin we're going to Berlin".

In addition to this German fans already have flags printed with 'The Wonder of Berlin', and someone sat nearby me had the German flag painted on their face with 4 stars.

Having seen their performance I can clarify that, yes they are going to Berlin. But only to play Ecuador in the final group match if they don't show more imagination.

Thursday 15th June Hamm. Hamburg. Berlin

Heard German radio paying homage to their football team, first thing in the morning with a song called Deutschland Weltmeister immediately followed by another song which contained the numbers 54, 74 & 90, obviously referring to their past victories. It was refreshing to hear something different, as in the stadiums they still revel in the spirit of '96 with the borrowed anthems of "Fußball's Coming Home" and "All Together Now".

I had been warned that the weather was due to break and sure enough it rained in the morning, but the afternoon although cloudy, saw temperatures of 25 degrees.

My revisit to Hamburg revealed less tickets available outside for Ecuador v Costa Rica then Ivory Coast v Argentina! There has also been a sign outside two of the games I have been to offering €2000 for England v Sweden tickets, I am confident he is not going to the game.

This was my first 3p.m. kick off and the heat had been bearable. The finish of the match before 5p.m. and a brisk jog through the park ensured I was at the train station in plenty of time to be at 9p.m. kick off in Berlin, where I had accommodation for the night available to me.

This journey was pretty tame compared to the one I heard of yesterday. I met a scout for Hibs who had been to Leipzig in the afternoon then caught a plane to Köln, and taken a taxi to Dortmund in order that he could see Spain v Ukraine and Germany v Poland.

Arrived at Berlin in time to pick up a ticket from the Paraguayan F.A.

Copyright (c) Ross Clegg & Socerphile.com

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