Saturday, August 27, 2011

PWT-blog Goes To Germany

I recently got back from a fantastic trip to Germany to partake in two of my loves, soccer and beer.  My traveling companion John and I planned a great weekend with 3 professional matches mixed in with many visits to the local Biergartens.  Unfortunately, on our second day in country before we had a chance to see any matches, John had a medical incident that forced him into the hospital for the entire weekend.  He was good humored throughout and forced our host Jan and I to attend the matches that we had spent so long planning to see.
FC Nuernberg Stadium
The weekend started with a drive past the FC Nuernberg stadium on the way to the Bundesliga 2 match-up between Bavarian sides Greuther Furth and Ingolstadt.  The Furth stadium has old timey feel and is nestled in a quiet neighborhood.
View from the Greuther Furth Terraces
Jan and I were able to score some tickets in the Furth terraces with the fanatics where there was some impressive chanting accompanied by the best drummer this side of the Who's Keith Moon.
Beer and Brats at the Furth Stadium
Furth clears the danger
At half time, we moved into the seated section to enjoy the rest of the match from a different and more low-key perspective.  Furth would dominate the match and come away with the easy 3:0 win. 
Marcel, Jan, and I outside the Paulener Bier Garten and Alianz Arena
Our next destination saw us move from the neighborhood stadium in Furth to the corporate behemoth that is Bayern Munich's Alianz Arena for the Bayern v Hamburg match.  For the match, Jan and I were joined by German ex-pat living in Birmingham, AL, Marcel. 
View from the Alianz Arena's press area
Bayern's Beer and Pretzel
We were fortunate to get tickets through my good friend and Bayern season ticket holder, Juergen. Juergen is a former soccer journalist and current publicist for many of the Bundesliga's biggest players.  He let me use his journalist ticket to get a view from the press area which is very close to the action.  We also joined Juergen and freinds in his normal seats in the upper tier to watch the game.
I'm a happy Bayern fan after watching 5:0 win
A view of the Alianz Arena from the autobahn.  The stadium lights up Bayern Munich red after the match.
As a Bayern fan, I'm happy to report that Bayern had no troubles with Hamburg.  Marcel, who is an HSV Hamburg fan, was not so happy to see his team go down 5:0 to Bayern. 
The Old Mainz Stadium
The Mainz Boys dominate in the old stadium
The next day, Jan and I visited a smaller Bundesliga club in Mainz.  Mainz has recently built a brand new stadium, but first, Jan and I went to the old stadium to watch the U-19 Mainz 05 team play Eintract Frankfurt in a youth Bundesliga match.  Can you imagine playing a youth match in a 20,000 seat stadium?
The New Mainz Stadium
Feuerwurst (spicy sausage) and Beer in the Mainz stadium
Jan formerly coached two talented Mainz youth players in Marcel and Niko Seegert who were kind enough to provide us with tickets to the senior team's match against Shalke 04 later that day.

The Mainz v Shalke match was a great game for the neutral.  Mainz came out of the gates on fire and were up 2:0 after the first quarter hour, but missed chances would doom them.

Inside the new stadium before the game

USA international Jermaine Jones warms up for Shalke
After the half, Shalke made some changes and scored 4 unanswered to travel home with the full three points and the 4:2 win.

SV Silber Workers Schorndorf e.V.
After watching all that soccer, we had to try some of the moves out ourselves.  We picked up John from the hospital and drove down to hang out with Juergen and his buddies from the Silber Workers soccer team. 
At the Bierakademie after the match
We built up quite a thirst kicking around and had to refresh ourselves at the Beer Academy.
Stuttgart practice
After showing off our skills, we went back to learn from the professionals at the VfB Stuttgart practice.
Hoffenheim's Stadium from the Autobahn
With the trip nearly over, we zoomed past the Hoffenheim stadium on the autobahn.

1 comment:

  1. FANTASTIC!!! Thanks so much for sharing this. The one video that included the pregame audio was incredible. I am soooooo jealous - not of John (poor John), but of you, Ryan. Next time invite me along - Omar (inside joke)