Sep 26 2010

Werder v HSV

Published by at 7:49 pm under Bundesliga and tagged: , , ,

After a few weeks watching my football from a distance, what better way for me to get over the withdrawal symptoms than with a trip to the North German derby?  While regular readers may wonder why the change of tact from the usual Slovak stuff, as mentioned in my “About” page, I am more than partial to the experiences offered by both the Bundesliga and the Eredivisie. Being based in Holland this is often a much more practical undertaking.

I really love the passion on the terraces so once posted to Holland I decided to pick and stick with a team from both Holland & Germany.  Living in Den Haag, ADO was the obvious choice in Holland, but more on them later.  This post is all about Werder and my love for the Gruenn-Weiss was born one day in Dusseldorf in 2009.  We’d bought tickets to Leverkusen v Werder (Leverkusen were playing in Dusseldorf while their stadium was under construction) and even though we were in ‘home’ seats, we were surrounded by thousands of Werder fans.  Being part of a travelling army of over 5,000 was quite an experience, and from that day on I was hooked on Werder.  Werder are a genuinely popular team, they play exciting, attacking football and have a large and passionate following.

There are several stadiums in Germany within 3 hours drive of Den Haag so until this weekend I’d only ever seen Werder away.  Last season I got to Bochum, Cologne, Hamburg, Monchengladbach & Austria Wien, all with Werder, but I still hadn’t been to the Weser Stadion in Bremen.  When I discovered that through work we had the possibility to get VIP seats, I had the perfect opportunity to put that right.  Not that I would have a problem getting my own tickets, through my membership I can usually get tickets without many problems.  This time I had also applied for my own tickets and did receive 2 standing places in the specially designated ‘singing area’.  As we’d already arranged to do this work trip, I begrudgingly handed over the €16 standing places to my mate @2_bundesliga and his girlfriend, and waited to see what the Werder VIP experience was all about.

First impression was as always in Germany, the general good natured atmosphere in town before the match, with Werder & HSV fans mixing without any issues.  We had the same experience last year in Hamburg and how refreshing a change this is when compared to the ridiculously restricted away travel rules in Holland.  It’s quite common to see a couple walking hand in hand one wearing Werder colours and the other with HSV.  If only I’d not stupidly forgotten the battery to my camera!

After a few beers in town & the obligatory Bratwurst, we got the boat to the stadium.  Yes, the boat!  This was one of the most civilised ways to arrive at a stadium.  With Werder’s ground located literally on the banks of the river, a boat runs through town bringing fans to the stadium 1 hour before kick-off.  Obviously the boat had a bar and beer was in plentiful supply.  Werder fans sat with HSV fans in the sunshine on a river cruise approaching the “highest-risk category” North German derby.  My Dutch colleagues were impressed.

The walk from the river banks to the VIP entrance took us past the “Gasteingang” and thousands of HSV fans were queuing up to get in.  There was the usual exchange of banter between fans but the heavy police presence appeared to have things under control.  I really didn’t expect what was to come from the VIP experience.  Normally I’m much happier on the terraces than in the atmosphere-lacking world of the corporate high-fliers.  However I can’t say a negative word about how this was organised at Werder.  Even though it was just 30 minutes before kick-off, we could help ourselves to the hot buffet and had our reserved table available for a good feed.  Free beer of course.  Leaflets circulated with all the latest scores from the days’ earlier matches, excellent service, you really didn’t feel like you were in a football stadium.

I was adamant I’d be in my (cushioned) seat at least 10 minutes before kick off to soak up the atmosphere and that didn’t disappoint.  Well it disappoint in the way that the HSV fans were exceptionally loud & totally overwhelmed any chants from the Werder end.  HSV must have had a full allocation of around 4,000 fans and they were right up the back of the stand under a heavy roof.  Their singing and the acoustics in that part of the stadium were phenomenal,  these were some serious decibels reverberating from my right.  Werder fans were trying of course, but they were on an open terrace with a tower crane for company.  That end of the stadium is being reconstructed and it’s the poor home fans who have to suffer at the moment.  No worries, the volume picked up soon enough!  Amazing atmosphere, real Bundesliga and an experience to savour.

Players enter the arena. Serious noise from the away end.

The match got off to a slow start, and the main focus of attention was the incessant singing from the HSV end.  However it did come to life in the 25th minute, Marko Marin, the liveliest Werder player, ran through and put a shot in which with quite a lot of luck, ended up in the back of the net courtesy of a slightly unfortunate Guy Demel own goal.  3 minutes later the home fans joy was enhanced with a long range free kick from Aaron Hunt powered in by the head of Hugo Almeida!  2-0 for Werder at half time.  Time for Bier & Currywurst.

The 2nd half produced the inevitable HSV comeback, a lucky goal by Van Nistelrooy from a dodgy back-heel which somehow went in and shortly after the away end nearly exploded after a great strike from substitute Jonathan Pitroipa.  2-2.  After Werder’s poor start to the season things didn’t look good.  However they held their nerve, Schaaf got his tactics right and the winning goal came 5 minutes from time through Almeida.  This sent the home fans into raptures, myself included.  Hopefully this is the result which will kick-start Werder’s season and if Marin can continue this form he will be one of the players of the season.  A player who I hadn’t seen before also impressed, Brazilian Wesley was all over the field and a really energetic and skilful player.

We enjoyed a bit more of the hospitality and eventually made our way out of the ground at around the same time as the HSV fans who had been kept behind for 40 minutes after the final whistle.  There was an extreme police presence which we skirted relatively easily and made our way on into town.  A nice atmosphere in town gave us a great end to a great day.  I didn’t witness any crowd problems whatsoever, as is usually the case with my trips to football in Germany.

However I have read this morning that several HSV fans were badly injured in a stampeded around their exit point of the stadium.  The police were determined to keep the HSV fans segregated and the delay in letting them out led to a lot of panic amongst some of the fans.  Only 2 trains were left to take the fans back to Hamburg and they’d missed the first one due to the delay.  I think there will be a full enquiry into these events, especially after the recent tragedy at the Duisburg Love Parade.  Perhaps the police didn’t handle things quite as well as I thought ..

2 responses so far




2 Responses to “Werder v HSV”

  1.   2_bundesligaon 26 Sep 2010 at 8:35 pm

    Having accepted the generous offer of two tickets in the ‘singing section’ I was looking forward to the game and the atmosphere. The Werder fans repertoire before the game seemed to include little more than the obvious ‘scheiss HSV’ which was what greeted the arrival of the HSV players onto the pitch. The stewarding of the standing area was fairly petty, ‘get your feets off the seat’ etc (the seats due to Champions League restrictions have to be screwed together so they can be accessed for CL games) and there was a scramble for places so much so that you darn’t get a drink or a bratwurst until it had settled down. Throughout the first half the Werder contingent lead by the ring leader were fairly noisy but the acoustics were unfortunately not great. After the two goals plenty of beer was being thrown about and the usual mayhem insued! The last ten minutes were awesome, v. Nistelrooy should have levelled the score and it was a pretty tense atmosphere.

    Overall a great experience as has been said above both teams play good football and Marko Marin was the standout player alongside Almeida and the reliable Tim Wiese, ever outstanding in goal.

    A lot of respect for the HSV fans, who even managed to smuggle in fireworks and a rainbow of flares for when the goals were scored. Looking forward to Gladbach away in a few weeks!!!!

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Daniel Richardson, Daniel Richardson. Daniel Richardson said: my story from Werder v HSV http://bit.ly/aKaK4b sorry about the lack of photos this time .. [...]

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