On Friday, I went to see another game. A fourth tier Regionalliga Nordost game just a little bit outside of Berlin. One of those weird things you have in big cities where a place is on the local rapid transit line, but it’s actually outside of the city boundary. I went to see SV Babelsberg 03 in the Babelsberg area of Potsdam in the state of Brandenberg.
As you may have been able to tell from these posts, I’m quite happy with myself having this little Berlin teams project. It’s a nice little idea, I think, and one I’d wish I’d done years ago. But last week, I noticed there are two teams that are really close to the border of the city, one on the eastern edge, one on the western edge. If I’d’ve noticed this before, maybe this project would’ve been the Thirteen Teams Project.
But anyway. Babelsberg is relatively simple to get to from Prenzlauer Berg in the north, but it’s a long old trek. Two overground S-Bahn trains. A bit more than an hour. I forgot my iPod.
I’d read a little bit about SV Babelsberg 03 before going. Their hardcore fans are vocally lefty, which I liked obvs. Looking at their Twitter account, I noticed that the image promoting the game said that all refugees get in for free. Excellent stuff.
It was a nice vibe there right from the start. For one thing, the street and stadium are both named after Karl Liebknecht, the security dudes were friendly, the woman selling tickets (€11 on the terrace behind the goal) was friendly, the people in the little team store were friendly, and the people selling bretzels and bier (€3) were friendly too. Friendly. Let’s type the word “friendly” again. Friendly.
There were people playing chess near the bar before the game. The PA played Real Wild Child by Iggy Pop, People are People by Depeche Mode, Rhythm is a Dancer by Snap!, and Happy Hour by the Housemartins. Someone somewhere might have been smoking weed. When wind blew plastic cups or other rubbish around the terrace, fans picked it up and put it in the bins.
The ultras of the Nordkurve stood, unsurprisingly on the northern side of the ground, not on either end. They were singing and jumping constantly. Of several flags, the biggest had blue and white stripes (Babelsberg’s colours) and brown and red stripes, the colours of St. Pauli, with whom the fans have a friendship.
I’d seen the visitors Berliner AK 07 at home earlier in The Project, the attendance was pretty low at that game for this fourth tier of football, only 111 people there. Tonight, the away section at the other end of the pitch had maybe 20 people. Out of a total attendance of 1,778.
Babelsberg won 1-0. And this was the song played over the PA when they scored. Brilliant.
Everyone was happy. As I left the stadium, the stewards and security people stood at the gate and said tschüß to everyone. A weird thing there was that as I walked by, one of the said adios to me. Was I in Mexico long enough to start giving off Mexican vibes!?
When I went to Chicago in 2008, I was so excited about going to Wrigley Field to see the Cubs, that going to see the White Sox the next night was almost out of a sense of duty, like “well, I should go while I’m here.” But I ended up having a better time at the White Sox game. And in a way, that’s how I felt after the SV Babelsberg 03 game. It’s not part of my self-defined project, but in a way, it was the most fun. Obviously, Hertha BSC is always gonna be the most impressive because of the stadium and top tier football quality, Union Berlin is gonna be an absolute joy because of the full stadium and fans, but all things equal, this was the one I’ve enjoyed the most so far.
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)
1. FC Union Berlin v Erzgebirge Aue, (5/4/17)
Remaining teams to see:
SV Lichtenberg 47
Tennis Borussia Berlin
The song in my head when I woke up this morning
I’d Rather Jack by the Reynolds Girls
On this day
Local stuff, 11 April 2011
Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article