Preußen Münster’s Preußenstadion. A nice ground despite the distance to the pitch.
I was only going to stay for the four games in Holland but I decided to prolong the pleasure after finding out from Kicker.de’s very useful Matchkalendar that I could take in a couple of German games as well. So I succeeded where General Montgomery failed and made a swift incursion from Holland into Germany and made my way via Arnhem to the Preußenstadion in Münster for Preußen Münster’s 3.Liga game against VfR Aalen.
The weighty free programme/newspaper Preußen Münster provide.
I happily parked for a euro, paid 9 euros to get in with a free Preußen Münster newspaper, paid 2,50 euros for a Sausage and a bread roll, plus 3 euros for an excellent beer. Then I stood on top of the hill/concourse above the big open terrace and watched the game from there. I guess it’s quite a typical old style german ground with a running track, a main stand with seats, the opposite stand with a covered terrace and two open terraces. You might be a bit far from the pitch but it’s nothing like that horrible Don Valley stadium in Sheffield where I witnessed my team, Torquay United, surrender meekly to Rotherham. For a third division game, they had close to 6,500 people turn up and 4,500 were on the terraces which as the light came down from annoying low sunlight, to sunset, to twilight, to dusk and then darkness made for quite an atmospheric setting despite the distance from the pitch. When you stand or sit in grounds like this I always feel like it’s relaxing as watching a cricket match with a stomach filled with a gourmet burger and a crisp lager.
The packed covered terraces
Preußen Münster just shaded a closely fought match 1-0. The Münster lot turned up in numbers and made a lot of noise without having to rely on some local knobhead with a megaphone to get them going! Although one local knobhead who had a skinful of Pilsner was “escorted” out of the ground for his own safety.
The rather impressive new main stand.
For full photo gallery:
So onto the next day. I had some time to kill before the next game. A lot of time really. At least ten hours. As usual I don’t plan things very well in advance so the first off the cuff decision was to head south towards Dortmund to see whether I could see Borussia Dortmund’s massive Signal Iduna Park and the Stadion Rote Erde which is used by the reserve team Borussia Dortmund II, who play in the Regionalliga West.
The Signal Iduna Park (or it’s old name of Westfalenstadion) was renovated and upgraded for World Cup 2006 and holds 80,720 for Bundesliga matches where terracing is allowed and 65,718 for International and non Bundesliga games when seats are bolted onto the terracing. When I sneaked into the stadium it was the day after the Arsenal game and the seats were being taken out and the place was a right old mess.
Next door is the Stadion Rote Erde. The interesting story is that this stadium used to be the home of the first team but lost this status when the original Westfalenstadion was built for the 1974 World Cup, the money left over was used to refurbish the Stadion Rote Erde and Dortmund city council only got a bill for 800,000 Deutschmarks (a bargain). Cologne’s loss was Dortmund’s gain because even though Borussia won the Cup Winners cup in 1966 (the first German club to win a european title) they couldn’t afford to move away from the Rote Erde. Borussia Dortmund are one club who have benefited greatly from two World Cups.
The old stadium holds 25,000 with 3,000 seated and it’s a fantastic setting with the old main stand dwarfed by the new Westfalenstadion.
For the full photo gallery of Signal Iduna Park and the Stadion Rote Erde go here:
Two stadiums in one setting. The main stand dwarfed by the Signal Iduna Park
After pottering around Dortmund for a little while I headed west to Essen. A city that has a really bad reputation in Germany for being the arse-end of the world. The old saying is that if you get lost trying to find Essen follow your nose and the smell. It’s a bit unfair nowadays. A lot of the heavy industry has gone and rather like Sheffield it’s had a lot of money thrown at it and as a result it’s now has a thriving service sector.
There are however huge monuments and reminders left of Essen’s rich industrial heritage. The massive Coking Plant at Zeche Zollverein is a UNESCO World Heritage site. I decided to pay it a visit. Not everyone’s cup of tea I grant you but I found it a fascinating place. Spread across 3 sites and a massive area it’s free to walk around. You only pay if you want to see special exhibitions inside. The sheer size of the Coking Plant on site number two is something else. It reminded me of a trip to see family in Neath back in 1983 or so when we passed Port Talbot. But Zollverein is on a massive scale in comparison.
The main Coking Plant at Zeche Zollverein. I said it was massive, innit?
One of the chimney stacks. I went as close to the stack as my beer/pork pie belly would let me.
Full Zeche Zollverein Gallery here :
So off to Oberhausen. “Point of interest near you” option on the Tom-Tom chosen. “Stadiums”. I chose “Niederrheinstadion” and off I went. Forty minutes later I got to the ground. But something wasn’t right. There was a Rot-Weiß Oberhausen sign complete with the green Shamrock. I asked a lady walking her dog. She told me that I was in the right place. I was dubious though. It looked like a crappy training ground. I asked a local plumber loading his van near where I parked the car. He confirmed my suspicion that it was the training ground. I cursed the Sat Nav and the woman. I had no more internet on the smartphone as the limit had been reached. So I had to rely on asking for directions from the local fairly apathetic populace who didn’t seem to know where the stadium was. I finally got on the right road, saw the already lit floodlights in the middle of a forest near the river, only to hit horrific traffic. Then after clearing the traffic found that the road to the stadium was closed! I improvised a diversion. Parked the car for free and then still had a joyful 10 minute dash to the ground. I’m not a small man. 12 minutes later I got to the ground. Paid 8,50 euros to stand. Bought myself a Malocher Sausage and a beer and settled in to watch the game.
The game saw Rot-Weiß Oberhausen take on Carl Zeiss Jena, which ever way you cut it, is pure German Football Club name pornography. Both teams are in the 3. Liga and the standard of football wasn’t great especially from RWO who looked like a poor side.
Not available in any Megastore.
There was, like there normally is abroad, a great mix of young and old, male and female, finished off with a pair of extremely drunk lesbians. Everyone watches the football with a beer in the hand. For the equivalent of £6.50 you can stand and watch football in a decent stadium with a beer, whilst watching the sun go down dramatically. What’s there not to like? We really have forgotten what it’s like in this country to enjoy the overall football experience. At non league level you can like, at Lewes and Billericay, watch the football with a pint in your hand. At other levels you are treated like naughty school children. Sit down, can’t stand there, can’t drink that there, have to take the top off the bottle you can’t keep it. Then on top of this you are charged a premium price for the privilege.
As the match progressed the sun came down and gave me one of those photographic opportunities us amateur types dream of. Lots of great colours and great light. The Pinky/Orange sky mixing nicely with the high lux floodlights and the red paint on the principle stadium supports.
The sun goes down on the Niederrheinstadion and the toothy grin of a very nice young lady.
As I walked around the ground to get a few different shots there was a universal groan everytime RWO’s play broke down. To be fair after conceding two awful goals they showed at least a bit of spirit in the second half to try and salvage something from the game. It finished 2-1 to Carl Zeiss Jena. At least the walk back to the car with the A42 motorway in the sunset provided some hope.
Magische orte? Not such a magical place perhaps but one worth a visit.
For full Rot Weiß Oberhausen gallery go here :