An experience not to be missed…
The recent game against Dortmund proved an attractive fixture for football junkie Simon Pott and his son Mike as he added to his vast experience of watching the beautiful game with his first ever trip to watch 1.FCN. Here’s his account of the experience…
Over the past 20 years I have been fortunate enough to travel to three World Cups and four Euro Tournaments, and have visited over 60 European stadiums.
Early in 2011 my son Mike introduced me to the book For Better Or For Wurst, and after reading the excellent account of an English love affair with the Clubberer, we agreed that we must visit Nuremberg and see what all the fuss was about.
Last October the wife confirmed she was off on her annual shopping weekend away, and Mike and myself soon realized that the weekend coincided with FCN playing at home to Borussia Dortmund
(Thank you to Kicker.de and Bundesliga for announcing the fixtures so far in advance)
We soon found out that the flights to Nuremburg were a little rare, so we booked a cheap €50 Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt and a quick onward two hour train trip to the city. Oh and one more thing!! We overlooked the fact that the world’s biggest toy fair coincided with the weekend in Nuremberg.
We really wanted to stand in the Nordkurve and absorb the home atmosphere. A quick email introducing ourselves to Jon who wrote the book, who put us in touch with Rudi Ullmann, who runs a Fan Club in Nuremberg and he sorted the tickets without any problems.
€30 later, yes €30 for two tickets, and a week before the match, we had flights, tw0 match tickets, and could not wait for the game, or so we thought !!
How cold can it get? On arrival at Nuremberg we were greeted with -13 degrees, with no issues surrounding the match taking place – this was Germany and they are prepared for anything. We had a two hour trip on foot around this beautiful city, although we did make a few stops to warm up, and we found the people absolutely charming. Mike’s understanding of the German language did help.
The stadium is only five minutes on the S Bahn from the main city station, and we were invited to meet Rudi for a pre match beer or two. The stadium is located next to the Nazi showground, and although little is left to see, we tried without success to pop in to take photos.
We were pleasantly surprised by the sensible low key police presence, and the fans mingled like long lost friends. After a trip to the club shop, and a photo of legend Max Mortlock we tried in vain to call Rudi. How cold was it? My phone had frozen, and little battery was left, so after about 20 minutes of searching we gave up and went into the stadium.
It was an absolute pleasure to be able stand in a stadium, mix with locals and drink with them. Even a Dortmund fan was welcomed into the Kurve. Cold beer soon turned to Gluwein, and we just about stayed warm. I am so glad we did not buy seats for the game.
For the first 20 minutes of the match on a perfect pitch, Nuremburg were certainly matching the fancied Dortmund and could have scored two goals (not sure how they didn’t) and a crowd of 45,000 was amazing even if it felt like being in the world’s largest freezer!!
Early in the second half Dortmund scored and then sealed the game with a second goal after 80 minutes. This did not dishearten the locals who sang all through the game. Let’s hope the luck soon changes for a decent, friendly and famous Bundesliga club
At the end of the game the trains ran about every three minutes, the organization was superb, and prices very reasonable. A trip I would thoroughly recommend to any soccer fan and admirer of a traditional beautiful German City.
Just don’t pick the coldest day of the German winter!
Simon Pott, February 2012