Monday, April 16, 2018

Sportfreunde Lotte – SC Fortuna Köln (10-03-2018)

After the FC Emmen game on Friday night, we only have a one-hour drive to our first Saturday game in Lotte, Germany. The local club, Sportfreunde Lotte, is one of a few teams class “Sports Friends” – we earlier visited Sportfreunde Siegen – which you cannot pass on. We arrived at the stadium early, which meant that we were still well in time after having been sent back because I had candy with me.

Unfortunately, they no longer use the beautiful, original name, Sportpark am Lotter Kreuz, but instead have named it after a sponsor: Frimo Stadion. Whatever the name, it is a makeshift stadium, with four different size stands, all looking pretty basic. It can hold 10,059, which seems a bit much, and this afternoon there were officially 1.819.

We bought a ticket (20) for the (seated) stand behind the goal (Westtribune), again just next to the “hardcore” home fans. There were also some 100 away supporters, having made the modest 200 km trek north from Cologne, who celebrated the 70th birthday of their club SC Fortuna Köln.

Germany’s 3. Liga (Third Division) is comparable to the second division in most smaller countries in terms of quality of play, while the atmosphere is often (much) better. Before the game they play the club anthem of SC Fortuna Köln without home fans whistling.

The game is between the fourth from bottom (Lotte) against the fourth on top (Köln). The crowd is clearly local, all ages, and quite a lot of family with kids. The game starts well for the hosts, who have a few a few decent shots in the first twenty minutes.

After some 30 minutes the visitors have their first moment, you can barely call it a chance, but the rebound goes well over. Eight minutes later a long pass ends up in the box, is controlled well, and tipped into the goal from 3 meters: 0-1 for Fortuna! The home fans seem resigned. Lotte has two more chances, but half time score remains 1-0.

The second half starts explosive. Lotte has an attack and the striker gets a slight touch in the box. He wants a penalty, but doesn’t get it. In the 52nd minute Fortuna has a good chance, but the goalie saves. That same minute the hosts kill themselves, as a player gets a (deserved) red-yellow card. Oddly enough, the next chance is for Lotte, which have a long attack, which ends with a great shot from 16 meters, which goes just wide of the crossbar.

In the 60th minute Fortuna has a free kick, which is a long ball into the box, where it hits a knee, but is saved by defender just before the goal line. The corner leads to a good chance but the striker hits it too softly. In a direct counter Lotte almost scores, but the goalie saves.

Fortuna sits further and further back. At one time, Lotte has a corner kick and the furthest Fortuna player is 20 meters from his own goal. Consequently, Lotte dominates much of the game, despite being with only 10 men. Still, in the 74th minute the visitors have a counter, go into the box, slips a bit, pulls back, and puts it cool in the far corner: 0-2. Game over.

We leave soon after, to make sure we make the next game in Belgium, but later see that the final score didn’t change. Overall a quite enjoyable afternoon, but Sportfreunde Lotte is definitely among the less exciting hops in the 3. Liga.


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