Over the last two-and-a-half weeks, I’ve been reminded of something: not appreciating a place while you are there. I’m gonna call it I’ll-Get-Round-To-It-One-Day-ism. There’s so many things I didn’t do or see when I’ve been in places, like London, Toronto, Mexico City, and Berlin. Going to these games has taken me to parts of the city I’ve not been to before. Even things as simple as getting out of U-Bahn and S-Bahn stations that I’ve just travelled through before. And it’s made me realise I must go around with eyes closed half the time. Right next to the Olympiastadion S-Bahn station is a Le Corbusier building. One of his Unité d’Habitation jobbies. It’s right there, you can see it from the train platform, yet I never noticed. In my defence, every time I’ve been to that S-Bahn station, it would’ve been going to a football game, with tons of people around, so my focus would’ve been elsewhere, but still.
It’s a beautiful building. Here’s some photos before we get onto footballing matters. The last photo is of a big diagram thingy inside the foyer, showing the names and location within the building of the residents.
I was in that part of town to go and see Hertha BSC II v FSV Union Fürstenwalde. A Regionalliga Nordost game at the Amateurstadion, a field that’s a part of the whole Olympiapark sports complex. Hertha BSC II are the U23 team of big Hertha, the one in the Bundesliga. It’s a long old trek from the S-Bahn station, cos the Amateurstadion is close to the Olympiastadion U-Bahn station.
Saturday was a nice sunny 23° day. A bit sweaty by the time I got there, and had gone to the far end of the field to get an €8 ticket. A bunch of younger Hertha fans stood, seemingly by choice, in a tiny bit of terracing in the corner, waving flag, singing songs. Most other 329 people, though sat down, enjoying some football in the sunshine. The referee and his assistants wore salmon-y jerseys and black shorts. A nice colour combo.
I had a nice wee chat with an old fella who sells pins and scarves and old programmes. I’ve seen him at two other games during The Project, I told him about The Project, and he seemed appropriately disinterested. He was a nice fella, mind. It’s just, yes, why would this project be of any interest to anyone other than me, really? (Thanks, if you’re reading this!) He didn’t have any pins of the teams I’m missing in my Project collection. So far I have five pins of the ten I’d like (I don’t need a Hertha BSC II one, cos, well, it’s the same club as big Hertha, obvs).
The game ended 2-3.
After continuing drinking with a pal on Saturday, I had a bit of a hangover, and the idea of going to another afternoon game was a bit daunting. But, while my planned schedule is in no way set in stone, I wanted to stick to it, and knew that if I didn’t get out of the house at that point, I’d not bother all day.
And it was worth it just for the chance to see some of the lovelier U-Bahn stations on the U7 line, though.
Game eight was Charlottenburger FC Hertha 06 v 1. FC Frankfurt in the Oberliga Nord at Sportplatz Sömmeringstraße. CFC Hertha 06 are not related to the other three Herthas that I’ve seen so far, and are spending only their second season in this fifth tier of German football. Their stadium is, well, not a stadium really. Eight euros to get in, it’s just a field with four rows of dirt/grass/weed-covered terracing along either side. The refreshments stand was literally just a dude with a foldout table, a crate of beers, some soft drinks and some office-sized pumpy coffee flask thingies.
In my head, I keep thinking about this fifth tier of German football as the equivalent of the fifth tier in English football, but it’s quite clearly not, and I should’ve thought about that before now. The fourth tier in German has five regional divisions of 18 or 19 clubs each. The fourth tier of English football has 24 clubs. So just a simple bit of mathematics tells me that it’s only really the top five clubs in each of the regional Regionalliga divisions that’s the equivalent of the fourth tier. So this CFC Hertha 06 level, the fifth tier of German football, it could be argued, is actually closer to the eighth tier of English football.
Nonetheless, good gosh it’s fun going to these games. I was one of 89 people who went to see a 2-2 draw on a sunny Sunday afternoon. And I can’t think of many places I’d’ve rather been at that time.
The Eleven Berlin Teams Project:
Hertha BSC v Eintracht Frankfurt, (25/2/17)
FC Viktoria 1889 Berlin v 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig (18/3/17)
FC Hertha 03 Zehlendorf v SV Lichtenberg 47, (19/3/17)
Berliner AK 07 v FC Schönberg 95, (22/3/17)
VSG Altglienicke v FC Viktoria 1889 Berlin, (25/3/17)
Berliner FC Dynamo v Hertha BSC II, (29/3/17)
Hertha BSC II v FSV Union Fürstenwalde, (1/4/17)
Charlottenburger FC Hertha 06 v 1. FC Frankfurt, (2/4/17)
Remaining teams to see:
1. FC Union Berlin
SV Lichtenberg 47
Tennis Borussia Berlin
The Eleven Berlin Teams Project (supplementary game):
SV Empor Berlin v 1. FC Union Berlin, (23/3/17)
The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Crocodile Shoes by Jimmy Nail
On this day
(The) (Rolling) Stones, 3 April 2013
Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article