Saturday, September 02, 2006

Spvgg Unterhaching - LR Ahlen (06-02-2005)

I had to be in Munich for a conference so I decided to stay a day longer to visit the third team of the city, after Bayern and 1860 (which I had already visited before), indeed the Spielvereinigung Unterhaching! This club has one of the most remarkable combination of sports, namely football and... bob sledge.

As it had snowed extremely in the last week, I feared the game had been cancelled. Moreover, because of the freezing cold the snow had turned into ice in the city. At 13.30 I took the Strassenbahn (tram) from the center of town to the Ostbahnhof, where I transferred to the S5 in the direction of Holzkirchen. Perhaps blinded by the reflection of the sun in the ackers of snow I got out one station too early and had to walk for almost half an hour by my lonesome through a snowed-under park, getting more and more pessimistic about the game. When I finally made it to the right S-Bahn station I saw more and more fans, which caused my frozen fingers to tinkle with refound warmth. In the end I arrived 15 minutes before the start of the game (15:00) at the stadium, after having observed a game of curling on natural ice.

The Generali Sportpark is a reasonable home for a club that has only recently returned to the 2. Bundesliga. It is located in the district of Unterhaching, a former suburb to the south of Munich. Officially the stadium holds 15.053, of which 6.874 are seats. As it was freezing but dry, I decided to buy a ticket of 7.50 euro for the Südtribune (standing), so that my knees wouldn’t freeze together.

At the program of the day was a game between Spvgg Unterhaching and the LR Ahlen, a so-called Keller-Duel in the 2. Bundesliga. Despite the unbelievable cold some 1.500 spectators had made it to the game -- the speaker spoke about 2.500, but that seemed wishful thinking. By the way, the speaker also announced the presence of Rudi Völler, which did prove to be correct. Without (much) fear I settled in between the Rot-Blaue Tiger and the Sonnenbrillen Mob, gangs even the PSV (T)L-Side would fear. ;-)

Already after 4 minutes "Haching" was 1-0 up, and another 4 minutes later they were 2-0 up. The fans didn’t know what hit them and even I was overcome with sudden enthusiasm (making me forget my frozen limbs for a while). After that the game deteriorated, and I was confronted with reality again (cold and biting wind). Even the Bratwurst could not bring my frozen toes back to life.

Fortunately I was pleasantly surprised after half time by a conversation with a British German, who attended every home game of Haching with a group of seven Munich-based Brits. Some of them were fans of Darlington FC, one of Dundee FC, and he himself of Walsall FC. He had also lived a couple of years in Wolverhampton and had come to me because of my Wolves had (see the December trip).

After a pleasant conversation at half time we turned our attention back to the game, which looked more and more like a race against the clock. Ahlen gained the initiative and the level became of a questionable level. In the end the visitors scored the 2-1, and even had a chance at 2-2, but to the great joy and relief of the 1.500 (minus ca. 20 away fans) Haching won 2-1.

With frozen toes I walked, cold but satisfied, to the S-Bahn station, to later see BMG beat Freiburg at the sports bar at Munich airport. There is something special about the third team of a city, as I had experienced before at Excelsior in Rotterdam, Partick Thistle in Glasgow, or Bohemians in Prague. A kind of charm that is possibly only appreciated by the real groundhopper, but those I can fully recommend a visit to the Spvgg Unterhaching.

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