Wednesday, August 18, 2010
SV 1916 Sandhausen – FC Carl Zeiss Jena (07-08-2010)
Having finished my business in Berlin, I have scheduled a weekend of groundhopping before returning to the US. On Saturday I will meet a friend in Sandhausen, 635 km southwest of Berlin. I leave already on Friday night, so that I make the 14.00 kick-off the next day. Unfortunately, my friend M is ill and can’t make the game. I park accidentally at the away supporters lot and have a 15 minute walk through the forest to the ticket office.
I buy a ticket for the standing section for 10 Euro and enter the small Hardtwaldstadion, which can take 10.231, half of which on its two covered stands. There are 2.400 people for this second home game of the season, enjoying the sunny summer day. At least 500 people have made the almost 400 km trip from Jena: respect! Carl Zeiss Jena used to be a top team in the DDR Oberliga (East German First Division), but, like many East German teams, has fallen on hard times after the reunion. Still, they clearly kept a loyal fan base, and their 500 fans were responsible for the only singing and chanting this afternoon.
SV Sandhausen is a relative newcomer to professional German football. This is its third season in the 3. Liga (Third Division) and it seems that it’s success is more the result of a rich sponsor (allegedly a furniture salesman) than a sizeable supporter base. The stadium is small – they will play their cup game in Mannheim – and the supporters tame; no one sings the club song, for example.
After having watched one of the most pathetic warm-ups ever, by Sandhausen, I was not surprised that Jena would be the better team. In the 3rd minute they go alone at goal, but miss, while in the 11th minute a good hard shot is stopped by the Sandhausen goalie. However, one minute later a Jena attack is headed in: 0-1.
Not much later, the first home supporters start to boo their team. Clearly, the start of the new season is not going as expected. Both the teams and the supporters are almost exclusively white: there is one black player, one Asian female supporter, and I will also count the two Spanish speaking fans behind me for good measure. There are two visible supporter groups, the Jungs (boys) and the Veteranen (veterans).
The rest of the first half doesn’t bring much. The home supporters are increasingly voicing their dissatisfaction, while the away fans continue their drumming and singing. In the 42nd minute Jena has a great chance at a second goal, but they shoot over the goal. 0-1 is the half time score.
At half time everyone lines up at the beverage stand, rather than the sausage stand, as it is so hot. Undoubtedly, this also affects the players, although I saw Sandhausen a couple days earlier during a cold and wet evening, and they didn’t play much better. In the 48th minute Sandhausen heads a corner in, but the ball is cleared of the goal line by a defender.
After a couple of big chances on both sides, a freak header of the black Jena defender goes over both the goalie and the defender on the goal line: 0-2, game over. After that, there is an incidental, and accidental, chance for Sandhausen, but overall Jena is too strong and Jena too weak. Hence, 0-2 is the final score.
I head out early and quickly, as I have another game to make, in France, two hours later. SV 1916 Sandhausen has not impressed me. It is an amateur team that has been promoted because of a rich sponsor… no soul, no support base, no atmosphere.