Sunday, 6 March 2011

Germany - part 2

Saturday 5th March 2011
Niederrheinliga [Lower Rhine League]
Stadion an der Feuerbachstraße

Well there was not originally going to be a "part 2" to this trip, but like previously stated in part 1 Gary had found a 3.30pm kick-off at nearby Herne, but this was brought forward by an hour or so which made it impossible for us to get there in time for kick-off. This left us with pretty much with one option and that was to find a decent restaurant and chill out for a couple of hours before our flight home. But again Gary came up trumps with a second game, though this I feel was more out of desperation than anything else!!!! We would have around an hour to make to 50 kilometre journey south to Dusseldorf for a game in the Niederrheinliga (Lower Rhine League) between TuRU 1880 Dusseldorf and Ratinger Sp.Vgg. Germania 04/19 at the 8,000 capacity Stadion an der Feuerbachstraße. This should on paper still give us time to get back to the airport in time for our flight home at 8pm local time.

Dusseldorf is the capital of the North Rhine Westfalia region and is an important business and financial centre. It is the seventh largest city in Germany with a population of over 585,000 inhabitants. The city lies at the centre of the Lower Rhine basin on the river delta where the Dussel flows into the Rhine. Every July over four million people visit the city's largest "Largest Fair on the Rhine" funfair. 

city flag (Source: Wikipedia)
The main football club in the city is Fortuna Dusseldorf who play at the Esprit Arena which has a capacity of 54,500. A lot more information on Dusseldorf can be found on a detailed page on Wikipedia which can be accessed by clicking here.

There is very little on the club on the internet, but from what I can gather the club are a merger of various sports clubs in the early part of the 20th century. Firstly on May 10th 1905 Düsseldorf Fußball Klub Union was formed through a merger of three clubs: Vorwärts Düsseldorf, Borussia Düsseldorf and Fußball Club Britannia Düsseldorf. In 1911 they changed their name to Düsseldorfer Sport Club Union. Finally another merger occured in 1919 with two more clubs Verein für Rasensport Düsseldorf and Friedrichstädter Turnverein 1880 to give us the club that is known today.

club logo (source: official website)

Turu currently find themselves at the top of the table with 42 points from their 18 games played with RW Oberhausen and KFC Uerdingen just two points adrift. Their opponents from nearby Ratingen sit in 4th place, 8 points adrift.

The top 4 (as at 28/02/2011):
1. TURU.............18 13 3 2 35 14 42
2. RW Oberhausen....20 12 4 4 51 24 40
3. KFC Uerdingen....18 12 4 2 45 20 40
4. Ratinger.........19  9 7 3 37 25 34
Statue outside the stadium

Programme cover

Following an easy get away from Bochum we hit road works which slowed us down on the way to Dusseldorf. With kick-off approaching we went past the ground but it was on the wrong side of a dual carriageway, but a risky / required u-turn at a set of lights from Gary enabled us to make kick-off. We parked on the pavement on Auf'm Hennekamp with the locals. As they say "when in Rome". Ticket prices for adults are either €9 for grandstand seating or €6 for general admission. With sitting down for most of the day, whether it be in a car, on a plane or in the stadium @ Bochum we opted for the cheaper of the two options with the match day programme given away free on entry. Immediately to the right of the entrance is a lean-to type shelter that is home to the food and drink stalls. The club did have some merchandise for sale from a portable trailer which included the usual football affair - scarves, hats, shirts etc. There is one main stand along the near side which covers about two thirds the length of the pitch with terracing either side. Along the far side is more terracing that runs along the whole length with Dusseldorf Volksgarten railway station behind the perimeter, while there is nothing behind both goals.

The game was more entertaining than the first, though as anyone who had read the report will know this would have been nigh on impossible. Both teams went forward at every opportunity though neither keeper was particularly tested. In the opening couple of minutes the home side thought they should have had a penalty kick but the referee waved away their protests. I had an excellent view of it and thought Dusseldorf were hard done by. Ratinger's best chance of the half came on 32 minutes when, following a mistake in the home defence Daniel Rehag shot from a tight angle instead of pulling the ball back to better placed team mates. Around the hour mark Dusseldorf were awarded a penalty when a ball over the visiting defence resulted in Miguel Lopez-Torres being fouled. Torres stepped up but the penalty and resulting follow-up was saved by the Ratinger keeper. The only goal of the game came two minutes later when an excellent through ball split the visiting defence and Marko Nikolic finished superbly with a 1st time shot into the bottom corner. Both sides continued to push forward but with no reward and the referee blew his whistle some after some five minutes of stoppage time.

Admission: €6
Programme: Free
Attendance: between 350 and 400 (guesstimate)
Match rating: 2 1/2 out of 5
Beer: €3
Coffee: €2
Bratwurst sausage: €2

A slideshow of the photos taken of the ground and game can be found below:

A trouble free journey then followed to the airport and after Gary handed in the hire car keys we had no issue going through the security checks before getting on the plane. The plan was pretty full and despite only taking around an hour, it was not the best due to a combination of 1) us being tired; 2) irritating kids who are also tired and 3) the cabin crew (who I know are only doing their job) trying to sell you something every five minutes! We landed at 8pm and it took us the best part of an hour to get to the car, the majority of which was stood in a que waiting to go through passport control. Welcome to the United Kingdom :( The drive home was an easy and stress free drive and we arrived back in Leicester some 19 hours after leaving home.
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