Saturday, July 19, 2014

Stuttgarter Kickers - Chemnitzer FC (15-03-2104)



  After a leisurely drive from Dijon, France, we make it with more than enough time to our next destination, Stuttgart. Both T. and I have visited the big club VfB Stuttgart before, so we are here to see the little brother, the Stuttgarter Kickers. The Kickers are one of the older teams in Europe, founded in 1899 as Stuttgarter Cickers. I have always had a weakness for them, going back to the early 1980s, when their beautiful white jerseys had vertical light-blue stripes and Südmilch as their shirt sponsor.


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The Kickers play in the Waldau-Stadion, which for sponsor-purposes is called GAZi Stadion an der Waldau. It’s an old stadium, opened in 1905, which has seen various renovations throughout its 110 years of existence. It holds 11,410 people, of which a mere 1,311 can sit. In other words, a nice old-school German stadium. It is currently the home of two football teams, Stuttgarter Kickers and VfB Stuttgart II, which both play in the 3. Bundesliga (Germany’s Third Division), and the Stuttgart Scorpions, an American football team.


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After we have been joined by my friend M., with whom I have made many groundhops before we both moved abroad, we pay €10, sample some of the excellent stadium snacks (sausages and other chunks of meats), and take our place on the standing-only stand.


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As quite often at second or third clubs in a city, the supporters are mostly old men, who know each other and have been coming to the club for years. As is usual with German teams, the fans bring flags and passionately sing their club song before kick-off.


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I estimate that there are some 3,500 people in the stadium, including some 300 from Chemnitz (known as Karl-Marx-Stadt between 1953 and 1990), some 435 km to the East. As almost always when the visitors are from East Germany, there is a large and very active police presence at the game.


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It took more than ten minutes for the first shot at goal, which came from the home team. However, in the 16th minute a Chemnitz shot ricochets and goes over the goalie: 0-1. Less than ten minutes it gets even worse for the Stuttgarter, as a nice combination attack is finished with a strong low shot: 0-2.


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This finally gets the home team moving and five minutes before half time they have a good header, which is saved by the Chemnitz goalie. Two minutes later a good attack but the striker slides the ball from 7 meter at least 10 meter over the goal. Half time: 0-2.

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The second half doesn’t bring much better play for the home team. The fans around us complain and increasingly talk about games between other teams or better times of the Kickers.


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In the 60th minute the Kickers get a free kick but it is headed straight at the goalie.  Three minutes before the end the guest counter attack and score: 0-3, also the final score. As the East Germans celebrate, the locals complain rather stoically. They have been through a lot, during the past decades. We leave quickly, as we have another game that day, but look back at an old-fashioned genuine football experience, which unfortunately has become increasingly rare in today’s world of commercialized football.

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