Third Year History and German student, Tim Cole, wrote for Impact Sport earlier this year about watching live football in Berlin. In this instalment, he travels north to Rostock…
Hansa Rostock 0 vs. Preußen Münster 2 (06.12.2014)
The German port city of Rostock, situated on the dismally grey and windswept Baltic coast, was my destination for a weekend away from Berlin to meet up with a fellow Erasmus ex-pat. On the coach heading due north I was updated on Hansa Rostock’s illustrious former Bundesliga history and oddly expansive fanbase, as well as their fans’ penchant for violence and right-wing political leanings (as we all know, the two go merrily hand-in-hand).
My mate also provided video evidence of the electric and overtly nasty atmosphere at the Hansa/Dynamo Dresden derby he attended just the weekend before, with flares and other missiles being frequently exchanged and a packed stadium rocking to the sound of ‘SHEIßDYNAMO!’ Obviously a similarly venomous atmosphere wasn’t going to be on the cards against Preußen Münster, whose small yet gallantly vocal away contingent had made the trip all the way from western Germany. That said, some of the stories I’d heard up until that point of Hansa’s reputation had raised my expectations for the game, even for a lowly 3. Bundesliga match.
Before the 14.00 kick-off, a quick walk around the town and its glowing Christmas markets revealed a surprising serenity to the place which seemed at odds with the local side’s allegedly hardcore character. The pleasant stroll culminated in forking out for a commemorative and horribly touristic Rostock scarf so as to better infiltrate the home-end, and then it was onto a tram headed for the DKB-Arena (Ostseestadion) with its ‘famous’ lone-standing floodlights. We ducked into a charming Brauhaus for a pre-match pint and I ill-fatedly ordered a litre ‘Maß’ for each of us, which left us both nicely half-cut for the short hop to the ground, which bizarrely led through a small wood. The tone now set and tickets successfully picked up (at a bargain €15), beers were swiftly bought upon entering the stadium and drunk in glorious sight of the pitch – always such a satisfying feature of live German football.
We ducked into a charming Brauhaus for a pre-match pint and I ill-fatedly ordered a litre ‘Maß’ for each of us, which left us both nicely half-cut for the short hop to the ground
Not so satisfying was the laughable standard on display. The miserable conditions were hardly conducive to fluid attacking football but Hansa’s laborious attempts to shunt the ball around the pitch were met with resounding derision from the half-empty stands. Each player individually failed in his own unique way to control the ball as Preußen, clearly warranting their much higher league position, began to take control and kept Hansa well and truly on the back foot. A catalogue of defensive errors led to Preußen’s inevitable tap-in opener, though credit where it’s due, the Hansa ultras behind the goal forged on with their noisemaking, even if the chants were carbon copies of the ones heard at Union Berlin. I suspected that their fans were by now blissfully conditioned to their team’s self-harming ritual and commented that maybe they were all actually paying penance for some past misdeed.
The second-half unfolded in a similarly limp fashion, Preußen burying a second towards the end to confirm what everyone present already knew. It’s testament to Hansa’s hopeless lack of flair and attacking creativity that they mustered only one perceptible shot on target: a soft header which sailed hopelessly into the keeper’s gloves. The quality was so poor that at one point, after one particularly insulting hoof, I questioned whether I even liked football anymore.
The miserable conditions were hardly conducive to fluid attacking football but Hansa’s laborious attempts to shunt the ball around the pitch were met with resounding derision from the half-empty stands
The fans around us, however, seemed used to this familiar ordeal and knew how to provide their own entertainment. Some blokes in the row in front nonchalantly passed round a joint as the nearby stewards, presumably stupefied by years of bloodless football, turned a blind eye. Others kept to roaring abuse at every hospital ball and aimless punt, and were thus able to shout themselves silly throughout the game. Luckily for us, the concourse bar was serving hefty and scolding-hot portions of Germany’s infamous Glühwein, which we precariously brought back to our seats through a windy path of burly, bald, Stone Island-clad men.
Getting slowly more and more pissed, we became anesthetised to the drivel on display and left the DKB-Arena strangely optimistic and in high spirits. The 3. Bundesliga had been laid bare in all its ragged glory, with a predictable scoreline capping an experience in parts both hollow and peculiarly enriching.
Follow Tim in Twiiter: @timcole93
Image courtesy of www.zeit.de/sport