December 6, 2019
We have to admit, it is a little bit odd. We can’t really think of another country where the capital city doesn’t boast any of the big teams, but that just seems to be the way it is in Germany. The best sides play in Munich, Dortmund, Leipzig and even small towns like Sinsheim, home of TSG Hoffenheim. Berlin is home to two well-known clubs: Hertha BSC and Union Berlin. Neither of them really ever compete for trophies. But that does not disqualify Berlin as a footballing city. Far from it!
If you really think Berlin is not a footballing city: hop on metro line U2, get off at the Olympiastadion and have a long, hard think. This cathedral of football in the German capital does not exactly have a beautiful history, for it was Adolf Hitler who ordered for the stadium to be built ahead of the 1936 Olympics. Jesse Owens was responsible for the ground’s first highlight. The black American athlete won four gold medals right in front of the racist Nazi members.
In 1963, when the Bundesliga started, Hertha BSC moved into the stadium, which has been thoroughly renovated twice since. Both times, the efforts were made to allow World Cup football to be played at the venue. What’s more, it is on this ground that Italy emerged victorious in the 2006 edition of the world’s biggest football final. On a more regular basis, namely each year, the Olympiastadion is also host to the final of the DFB-Pokal, the German Cup, And there’s Hertha too, a mid-table Bundesliga team since seemingly forever. The big question, however: how long will they remain there still? The blue and whites have a bit of an awkward situation with this ground: it’s a bit too big with a capacity of 75,000. This is why they have made plans to move.
You will have heard of Union Berlin’s promotion, making them appear in the Bundesliga for the first time. Visiting a home game at Die Alten Försterei is more than worth your while. However: Hertha and Union take turns to play at home, so if you are visiting Hertha you won’t be able to take in a game at Union as well. Not to worry: plenty of options remain to catch a game of football elsewhere. Pay a visit to the Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Sportpark, for example, located in the part of the capital that used to belong to the GDR. In this run-down stadium, 20,000 supporters can somehow fit in to watch BFC Dynamo and VSG Altglienicke. So make sure to check if there’s a home game on!
City with a hundred faces
The best about Berlin is that it might well be Europe’s most complete city. In this metropolis, you can genuinely do whatever you happen to fancy. A history lesson? The city is literally full of history, not even mentioning at least ten museums remembering Berlin’s and Germany’s rather turbulent past. Who prefers to sleep during the day and party through the right is also covered: Berlin’s nightlife is second to none. Anarchists, metalheads, techno lovers and hip hop fans are all catered for. The same goes for food and drink: you name it, Berlin has it. The city has trendy bars with a wide variety of cocktails, but also old-fashioned Kneipe (Pubs) where elderly Berliners convene to discuss current affairs over tall glasses of Berliner Kindl. And once you hear just how often football is key to the conversation, you will never again deny Berlin to be a footballing city. And that is before the game at the Olympiastadion, where crowds rarely drop under 40,000, has even started!
Fancy a trip to Berlin with Homefans? Check out our Berlin Weekend in January here.