Monday, June 21, 2010

The World Cup 2010 Series: Deutschland v. Serbia

Venezia, local Italian deli run by a sweet Italian family with a loyal following. I have never gone by during an Italy game but I am guessing they have another store-front sized flag in red white and green.

Germany's second World Cup game kicked off at 1:30 last Friday afternoon and leider was not the dazzling spectacle nor the thrilling outcome that fans expected after their 4-0 win against Australia in the opening game. Germany's team captain Michael Ballack sprained his ankle in his final Champions League game with Chelsea, thereby effectively thwarting his plans to play in the World Cup, as well as seriously darkening the stimmung or mood and lowering expectations in the lead up to the games.

But Germany's opener changed all that. Suddenly everyone's singing Werden wir Weltmeister sein! and is a born again believer in Germany's quest for the cup. And this was evident on a Friday afternoon (doesn't anybody work around here?) everywhere you looked around Hamburg.

At Bacana, on the corner of our old street and still one of my favorite coffee roasteries in the city, where two large screens were set up for fans gathered outside.

Internet café and call shop turns sports bar! Just pull up a chair ... and then call your family in Serbia to talk smack about their weak midfielders.

Juli bar/café turned brat vendor! I love how these bars, cafés, shops, whoever will just set up a grill on the side walk in front of their establishment. TV. Check. Beer. Check. Bratwurst. CHECK! Because really, what's a German football game without a PORK PRODUCT?

The Schulterblatt - the main artery of the Schanzenviertel and when the weather is nice - read over 50 degrees and dry - its sidewalks are packed with beer drinkers, the unemployed, the creatively self-employed, the ultra hip self-important, and any other general merry-makers. And on game days, the Schulterblatt is packed with FANS. A seat is hard to come by unless you show up at least an hour in advance. Enough time to get a few-beer head start in anticipation - even at noon on a weekday.

For some fans, a football day is like any other. Jeans and a t-shirt will do. But for others, it's black, red and yellow all the way. And for a very small minority, its spray-paint-your-mohawk-national-colors day! Right ON!

What fans thought was the first goal of the game - the ref disagreed and the score remained 0-0.

 Serious fans looking for a serious crowd go to one of the public viewing spots in the city - Heiligengeistfeld is one such spot.

This public viewing area also has food vendors hawking local specialties from every one of the countries in the tournament. Here, Spain sits next to Switzerland - who embarrassingly beat them last week in their opener. As for the food, though it has the potential of an international food festival, the showing is abysmal. The American stand basically serves up McDonalds - or pathetic looking cheeseburgers, the French stand makes cliché crepes and the South African tent offers more of a generic pan-African buffet than real South African specialties. Stick with bratwurst and beer and try to find a spot where you can see the screen, i.e. not behind one of these guys....

Like I said, serious fans.

This couple with their German-flag capes and baby sort of reminded me of that famous shot of the couple wrapped in a blanket at Woodstock.

Fans in the Reeperbahn, Hamburg's red light district gathered at the Herzblut, right next door to the SeXes porn theater and Pearls Table Dancing. Hookers are football fans too!

Sadly, this game did not turn out the way most fans, confidence bolstered after the initial win, had expected. Not hoped but expected. This loss seemed particularly bitter and now everyone is holding their breath and "pressing their thumbs" (rather than crossing their fingers) for the final group game this coming Wednesday night against Ghana.

Press your thumbs for Deutschland!!


  1. You bet Hookers are soccer fans! Viva Mexico!

  2. Jiffer!
    I feel like I know the route you took!