When I heard that the Dortmund stadium sat 80,000 die-hard fans I immediately thought of Hawkeyes football. I thought I would walk in and hear cheers for the team and hear predictions for the day’s match up. I thought wrong.
Think Iowa City is crazy on game day? Think again. Soccer here is nothing comparable to Iowa Hawkeyes Football. Borussia Dortmund makes a trip to Kinnick Stadium look like going to the ballet.
Drunken cheering in the subway station? Check. Police in riot gear? Check. Seven-year-old kids drinking beer out of mini-steins? Check.
This is soccer in Germany.
Fighting through the overly crowded subway platforms all I could see what black and gold. The stench of beer was everywhere and as trains passed carrying fans out to the stadium you could hear songs and the beating against windows. After finally being able to squeeze into one of the subway cars we made our way out to the stadium. Loud, extremely hot and crowded the ride there was nothing short of anxiety producing. I’ll admit, once we exited the train I had to take a breather for a few minutes just to process the experience I was having.
Outside the stadium gates things were very much the same. Loud chanting, drunken fans, public urination (which evidently isn’t a crime here because the police just watched) and young children walking with beer was a pretty common sight. Alex, my guide, told me that this behavior isn’t “typical Germany” but it is “soccer in Germany.” Either way it was an atmosphere that you really can’t describe or fully understand until you experience it.
After searching for tickets from scalpers we were able to secure standing room in the famous Südtribüne of Borussia-Dortmund , an area reserved for the rowdy die-hard fans who would never be caught sitting down in a seat.
Though I don’t particularly enjoy soccer and the game was pretty one-sided as Dortmund went on to defeat Borussia-Moenchengladbach 3-0, the experience of the atmosphere at the stadium on game-day is something that I’ll never forget. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ll be running on the remaining adrenaline for the next few days.
Erica’s Dortmund-Soccer verdict: Complete insanity.