Graeme’s Beer Guzzling Bundesliga Adventure

Munich 1860 1 St Pauli 2, Bundesliga 2 

 By Graeme Swanson

I’ve spent all season following Largs Thistle’s ongoing fight to avoid relegation, so it was inevitable that my first ever visit to a German football game would be a relegation battle.

Bundesliga 2 has 18 teams, the bottom 2 get relegated and 3rd bottom meets 3rd top of League 3 in a playoff match. Munich 1860 (14th/25 points) v St Paul (15th/21points) was our destination as part of a stag weekend for Kev, my future son-in-law.

He’s a Broxburn supporter but claims to enjoy days out with me to Theesel games. It was potentially a tasty encounter, as the teams drew 2-2 earlier in the season with a total of ten yellow cards shown by the referee.

Flying out of Edinburgh on the Friday morning, our party celebrated a two hour flight delay in traditional style, with plenty beers and shorts taken to kill some time. We met up with our counterparts from Manchester (a mix of Liverpool and Evertonians) and had a blast in Munich on Friday night. So, 23 people were ready to sample the big relegation battle.

Saturday morning started with beers and chat from 9am, ready to leave our hotel at 11am for a 1pm kick off at Allianz Arena stadium, capacity 75,024. A couple of casualties emerged from the previous night. My son had bruised ribs from an over exuberant bouncer’s martial arts kick. Was that kung-foo? Naw, he’d only had a couple of pints”. Kev also had some aches and pains after a wee tumble.

In Germany, the match ticket allows free travel on the train and subway, so we joined in with the local supporters. I’m going to ask if Theesel can negotiate a deal with Scotrail, see if my £6 entrance fee will include rail travel from Edinburgh.

The game was played in sunshine, with a crowd of 30,300. Biggest talking point for us was the performance of Munich’s Sebastian Boenisch. He looked like the love child of Doug Rougvie and Kirk Broadfoot, but with his boots on the wrong feet and back to front. One of his awful clearances even got me shouting Kilbirnie play’, that well-known shout when a player blooters the ball into orbit and beyond. Final score, Munich 1 St Pauli 2.

Things to learn! (a) What a tidy place…carry out bottles and juice bottles are gathered into recycling bins and nobody ‘tut tuts’ at you; (b) leg room in the stand is way superior to Scottish top league clubs, very comfortable; (c) able to mix with Munich and St Pauli guys over a beer during the game; (d) a fantastic subway/rail service.

Back to Munich and a few litre steins in a lovely beer garden, followed by more in a sports bar which ended in a singathon of Largs songs (Beith Juniors got mentioned a few times). I then got disorientated and ended up in the Turkish quarter, with a couple of guys trying to lure me away from the main street. A quick text and call to my carer meant that my sore-ribbed son got me safely back to the hotel.

On the whole, a great experience. The Allianz Arena must be electric when filled to capacity. We met and chatted to loads of football-loving people. The young one’s in our party helped Munich’s pub and club economy into 7am each night/day. Pretzels are gorgeous but make you soooo thirsty, steins are heavy so drink them quickly.

Roll on my daughter’s wedding on 25th March. If the SJFA West fixtures man has half a heart he’ll give Theesel a free week.


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