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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Away Day- Hertha Berlin

Finally, I have managed to upload my pictures from the 1860 game in Berlin. But that is only because they are off my phone, the only piece of equipment my beleaguered computer seems to recognise via a USB connection. Any how, enough of my PC woes, and on to the first Away Day of 2011.

This year our Lowen trip was to Berlin, to watch them play champions elect Hertha. Alas, due to the kick of time, neither Downhill or the Major were able to make it to the ground on time, and the rest of the usual suspects were grounded by a combination of money (lack of) and spouse (lack of understanding) So for the second time it was left to the intrepid duo of my good self and the Right Honourable Shouty. The ground is something of an anomaly in Germany. It actually isn't that far from population. Not close mind, but not a good forty minutes by train or bus. The place was originally built by the Nazis for the 1936 Olympic games. It is this combination of bombast and efficiency that gives the place a very original look. From the purpose built U-Bahn stop, via the short stroll towards the stadium, it has a very nostalgic feel to it. Approaching the entrance there is a row of wurst and beer stands to soak up a bit of pre match, before entering through the very grand pillars sporting the Olympic rings. The one strange thing about the place, is that it seems to have been built into a natural amphitheatre, so there is no concourse running round the stands. This means all the concessions stand are on the outer perimeter, and the toilets are a port a cabin outside the ground all together. But the inside is magnificent. Even though it has a running track around it, you don't feel like you are miles from the action. The roof, which was added for the 2006 World cup final, does a fine job of keeping the noise in as well, and the home fans certainly gave it their all. This is, in short, the kind of stadium that is unlikely to be built again. Instead we are left with the new faceless stadia, that are built to make sure you are never more than 50 metres from a concession stand, and have ample parking, due to the fact that are rarely in the actual borough of the team they claim to represent as home. No, I am afraid places such as this, which actually make you look in wonder and lift the soul, are going the way of the dodo. If you are in Berlin, I would highly recommend a visit.

  • Capacity- 74,500
  • Concessions- It is Germany, so you know it's good. Beer vendors are every where (although they had all run dry by half time) and you could also get a three litre bucket of the amber nectar that would pretty much last you throughout the game (Shouty bought ours twenty minutes before full time) The wurst was also excellent.
  • Built-1936
  • Did You Know?- Has there ever been a stadium that could claim the history of this one? Jesse Owens won his four gold medals within these walls, and Usain Bolt established world bests for both the 100m and 200m on the new track. Italy won their fourth World Cup here as well. However, there plans to demolish it at one point, due to it's Nazi legacy.
  • Visited By- Euro Bri and Shouty
  • Rating- Mount Olympus- One of the finest looking stadiums I have ever seen. The exterior is pretty much a one off original. Inside it's no slouch either, although the openness of the ground doesn't give it the intimidatory feel of places such as the Bernabeau, which is probably the only place that I would rate as a better football stadium.

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