German Soccer Fans = Timbers Fans on Steroids

October 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

Pauline and I went to our first German soccer game on Saturday. We saw the local Berlin Hertha BSC team defeat Koeln (national team player Podowlski plays for Koeln) in a 3-0 game.

The Hertha fans made our Timbers fans look like beginners.

Part of the reason is that the Jen-Weld field renovation was such a disaster. There just aren’t enough seats. Top capacity is less than 20,000. The Olympic Stadium in Berlin has a capacity of 74,500.

There were “only” some 59,000 fans at Saturday’s game — but that’s still more than 3x what Portland can hold at capacity. And the shouts and cheers made the Timbers Army look like fans in training. My ears were killing me when I left.
And also my lungs — We had an obnoxious chain smoker in front of us.

Despite the smoke pollution we both had a good time. But I couldn’t help thinking about Jesse Owens and Hitler. No matter how many times I go to Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, I always remember them.  It was here, after all, where the great American runner showed up Hitler by winning so many races in 1936.

Though the game was soccer, it was easy to imagine Owens passing his competition while the Frueher looked on in disgust.
The stadium resembles a kind of Roman collisium — except these days the same crap food is sold outside as it is everywhere else.

But there are differences. Instead of the over-priced beer that Jen-Weld sells — it’s something like $ 9 a beer — the Olympic Stadium sells only non-alcoholic beer inside the stadium and it’s 3 euros or $ 5. You can get regular beer outside where the hot dogs are sold, but judging from the many already drunk fans streaming into the stadium, there wasn’t a need for more alcohol sales.
In the end, Hertha won by a decisive 3-0. That surprised me, since the Berlin team is not one of Germany’s best.
But it sure has a lot of fans.

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