Tag Archives: bochum

The Second Tier: Season Preview

13 Jul

Hi everyone, it’s been a while. Thanks to all for being so patient for the last month whilst I’ve been away but as promised, I’m back and ready for the start of the 2.Bundesliga season on Friday. Here we go…

It’s the 13th July. In just two days time, before the extremely successful Women’s World Cup has drawn to a close, Germany’s unified second division will kick off for a 20th time. It seems a bizarre time to be starting a season – in the height of summer – but when voted on, only tiny FSV Frankfurt opposed the motion. (Although Bochum gaffer Friedhelm Funkel didn’t mince his words when more recently slating the ‘shit’ decision.)

Of course then, FSV would be one of the four teams to get the ball rolling. The other three – East German outfits.

Last season was something of a renaissance for former DDR-Oberliga sides. Although 2011/12 will be the third year running that all eighteen sides in the top tier are from the former West, both Hansa Rostock and Dynamo Dresden were promoted from the 3.Liga. With Union Berlin, Energie Cottbus and Erzgebirge Aue also there, the 2.Bundesliga will have five representatives from the former East – the most since the league was unified in 1992/1993.

Eintracht have required well since relegation

So what can we expect from this season, save for some feisty games between these Eastern sides and culture-club St. Pauli? It could be the most competitive promotion race in years. Assuming Eintracht live up to their billing – you can only get around 2/1 on them ending up champions – the fight for second and third could involve any two from around 10 teams.

The relegation battle could be equally as tense. The promoted clubs will be looking to get to around 37 points as quick as possible, and the teams that narrowly avoided the drop last season – Ingolstadt, Paderborn, Karlsruhe and the likes – are all likely to struggle again whilst teams like Union, FSV and even a side like Aachen could be dragged in.

So what do we think will happen? I’ll start with my expectations but please feel free to add to the debate below! It’s always a good laugh come May when we’ve accurately predicted nothing but our own idiocy.

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Vfl Britain – the birth of a fanclub

7 Mar

It all started three years ago. I’d somehow managed to rope five friends into joining me on a trip to Germany to watch some Bundesliga football, our main draw being the clash between Vfl Bochum and VfB Stuttgart.

None of us had been to Bochum before, nor did we have any connection with the place. But soon we  were  hooked.  We’d paid exactly Eur 12.16 to stand (stand!) with 12,000 others on the Ostkurve, the beating hub of the Ruhrstadion.

Within four minutes, Bochum were ahead and though the visitors came back to take the points, the home fans were delighted.  Down the road, Borussia  Dortmund were busy dispatching league leaders and hated rivals Schalke, which meant that with only one game to play, Bochum’s opponents had leapfrogged them into top spot.

This was an excuse for a  massive party, helped no doubt by the end of season Eur 1 beer promotion! All that said, I think the best thing to come out of the day was the friendships that were forged, friendships which have remained and multipled to this day.

From thereon, we started making regular trips to Germany, watching Bochum both in the Ruhrstadion and on the road. We’ve visited some great stadiums along the way in places like Hamburg, Frankfurt and Dortmund, all the time paying less than we would for fourth division football back home.

The away games are particularly fun. At the weekend, the Deutsche Bahn is transformed, everyone turns up with crates of beer and heads off to follow their team.  One of the most memorable trips was that to Arminia Bielefeld. On arrival, we were met by a line of police, who rather pointlessly marched us to the ground. The police like to put on a show of strength at the football which is a complete waste of taxpayers money, but a good laugh nonetheless.

After a couple of years, we felt it was time to take things on to the next level. Fanclubs are big business in German football, the top clubs can have hundreds. And so, on 14th February 2009, Vfl Britain was born. What followed made the day doubly memorable. We had waited two years for our first Bochum win but it was well worth the wait. It was the Derbysieg against Schalke!

British based fanclubs of German clubs are very much a growing phenomenon. More and more people are growing tired of the endless hype around the Premier League being the best league in the world. This is a league where standing is verboten, having a beer in view of the pitch is verboten, flags are verboten and for which you have to pay a fortune just to get a ticket.

The Bundesliga isn’t without its problems, but it doesn’t have the highest attendances in Europe for no reason. It’s a highly competitive and unpreditable league, but here’s one prediction, once bitten, you’ll endlessly be yearning for more.

By Chris Nash