Gloved up and watching the Hertha boys.

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Saturday 4th February 2012, Kick Off 15:30pm @ The Olympic Stadium, Berlin.

Hertha BSC 0-1 Hannover 96

The Bundesliga, attendance 36,997.

Admission 31 Euro, Programme 2 Euro.

 

Berlin had long been on our list of weekend breaks. So, we decided to take a winter weekend in Berlin to do all the sights. Obviously top of my list was a visit to the famous 1936 Olympic Stadium, well-remembered for the presence of Adolf Hitler and a certain Jesse Owens winning the 100 Metres.

Now the home of German top flight club Hertha Berlin, the stadium has been much renovated over the years and in particular before the 2006 World Cup Final where it hosted the final between Italy and France, scene of Zidane’s sending off and the victorious Italians.

The journey out of Central Berlin on the underground is very easy, journey time about 20-25 minutes where you alight at the Olympic Stadion station, and from there it’s a gentle 5-10 minute walk uphill to the ground.

When we planned the trip I’d said to my wife to expect it to be cold, but I don’t think either of us were actually mentally prepared for the extreme bitter cold we did get over the weekend, good job we packed plenty of warm winter clothes and walking boots! It was probably about -5 C during the day. Good job the Bundesliga insist on ALL clubs having undersoil heating!

The Olympic Stadium, Berlin, 4/2/12.

So, anyway, arriving in good time after an enjoyable morning at Berlin Zoo. We picked our pre-booked tickets up from the ticket booth, situated right and left of the entrance gates, as seen in the picture above. I was quite surprised by the sheer numbers of fans drinking bottles of beer just outside the turnstiles, firstly because it was freezing cold, and secondly because this is not so common in England where drinking is more likely to be seen in the pubs rather than on the streets. It seems the German authorities have a more liberal opinion about this.

After a short stop in the ‘Fan Shop’, which is the souvenir shop, which was very busy and well worth a visit if you like to bring home a memento from your visit, we entered the stadium, and the first thing you notice is the size and scale of the bowl of a stadium. This became more apparent later when the attendance was announced as a healthy 37,000, even though the stadium was half empty with swathes of empty seats and blocks in certain parts.

Hannover had a fairly decent following of about 1,000 or so, and before KO decided to warm themselves up with a few flares! The Hertha fans gave a German rendition of ‘You’ll never walk alone’, and it seemed all was set for an exciting game at my first ever Bundesliga top flight fixture.

Hannover fans warming their hands!
The Home End at the Olympic Stadium, pre match show of scarves.
 
The game itself was pretty disappointing and never got above mediocre. Hannover laying just in the top half of the table in 7th certainly had more about them, and it was clear that Hertha, who had been promoted from Bundesliga 2 in season 10-11 have a challenge to the end the season to retain their top flight status.  Although Hertha had short periods of pressure in the first half, Hannover generally dealt pretty easily with them, and looked dangerous on the break themselves.  However it was 0-0 at half time. During the half break many of the fans, already pretty cold, although well wrapped up including blankets, jigged around in time to the music, or just bounced up and down, ALA Boing boing baggies! It seemed the thing to do, so we joined in! Others seemed to enjoy glugging something that looked like mulled wine. In fact a couple sitting in front of us, spent the entire game drinking the stuff, even going and getting a re-fill in the 85th minute of the game, most strange!
 
Hannover (Green), on the attack in the 1st half.
 
The 2nd half did not reach any great heights of quality, although to be fair to the players I’m sure it’s no fun playing in such extreme cold. In fact the only quality moment was the winning goal in the 68th minute from Hannover’s striker Mohammed Abdellaoue who hit a lovely 20 yard strike from out on the left side of the penalty area into the top corner of the Hertha goal giving keeper Thomas Kraft no chance.
After the goal, Hertha huffed and puffed without really convincing their fans they were likely to grab an equaliser, and that’s how it panned out. FT 0-1.
 
If visiting Berlin I can really recommend a trip out of the centre to this historic stadium.
 
Another tick of my list, and I ‘think’ my 51st overseas ground visited 🙂
 
 
 
 
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