On a weekend that saw Aston Villa take almost 7,000 supporters to Blackburn away in the Championship, I, along with a group of friends decided to do an away day of a different kind, Borussia Dortmund of Germany.
Now this is an Aston Villa fansite and I wouldn’t usually cover something like this but my experience was so good I felt I had to. Aston Villa and English football as a whole could learn a lot from German football – Yes I know, I sound like a certain Paul Lambert!
I was in Germany for my brother’s stag do. We stayed in Düsseldorf, the seventh most populous city in Germany and a place that is becoming more and more popular with tourists of all kind. There are so many positive things I could tell you about the City and the people but that is another day and another website.
We woke up on Saturday morning following a rather heavy night and took the hour long journey on the train to Dortmund without tickets! We tried to get tickets before hand but really struggled so we took the chance of hoping to get some on the day. I will be honest and admit that we didn’t do much research and decided to take the day as it came.
Upon arriving at the main rail station we learn that the ground was a further 3km away in the South of the city. We took a quick liquid break before taking the U-bahn along with Dortmund and Koln supporters and this is where we first experienced the famous German club football atmosphere.
We arrived at the Signal Iduna Park (Westfalenstadion), the home of Borussia Dortmund we were greeted by many very friendly supporters of both clubs. Between us, we managed to all get tickets, some from local touts for as high as €60 and others as low as €20 from supporters. We were a little worried that we were separated but I actually believe it added to the experience.
Three of the group managed to get tickets in the South Stand (The Wall to many of us), a couple of us in the North Stand with the FC Koln supporters and another in the top tier of the East stand.
The game was a bit of a bore draw but it was far from boring in the stands. The atmosphere of both the Dortmund and Koln fans that got us all talking once we met after the game. Both sets of fans were extremely welcoming to all of us and sung and danced the whole game away.
Despite the final whistle blowing, the party was far from over. The Dortmund fans paid a very special tribute to Neven Subotić, a long serving player for Die Borussen, currently on loan at FC Koln – and to think we boo our players in England if they have a poor game.
Upon meeting after the game we got talking to some locals who took us under their wing which allowed us to sample the ‘Dortmund way’ well into the evening. We briefly spoke about who we were and Aston Villa and sung both Aston Villa and Dortmund chants before taking the long walk back towards the city.
As you walk through the city you come across various bars, outdoors and pop-up bars, all surrounded by fans of Dortmund drinking in the street, singing songs and greeting us as we were one of our own.
A few hours later we arrived back at the train station where we parted ways with the Dortmund fans and boarded our train back to Düsseldorf. Just when we thought it was over we met a lot of Koln supporters on the train who, just like the Dortmund fans took us under their wing. We exchanged complementaries, sung songs and drunk lots of beer until we got back to Düsseldorf where we shook hands and parted ways.
The supporters of both clubs were absolutely fantastic with our group already talking about when we can return to Germany to experience some more of their football culture. Amazing is the word I would use to describe the people of Germany, the football culture and the Country as a whole. If you haven’t done it yet – be sure to do so. I promise you that you won’t regret it.
Thank you Borrusia Dortmund, FC Koln and Germany. I can’t wait until the return trip.