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Published: November 30th 2015
In the day, Portsmouth had the 6.57 crew. A cold, grey morning in Northern Bavaria dawned and we became the 7.07 crew. The bus rolled up early and we were well ahead of schedule to the Nurnberg Hauptbahnhof to secure our Bayern ticket for the 8.10 to Munich. The Bayern “Bavaria” ticket was not aptly named. We were TSV 1860, en route to the Allianz Arena for the game against Saint Pauli. The ticket is however one of Europe’s great transport bargains with prices from a mere 27 Euros for all day train travel anywhere in Bavaria. The ticket allows up to 4 more additional passengers to be added for a mere 3 Euros each. The local transport in cities such as MVV in Munich and VGN in Nurnberg is also included. The catch? Travel on the ICE (Inter City Express) fast trains is not permitted, but judging by the numbers around this is but a small price to pay for the average German football fan. The Deutsche Bahn ticket machines were easy to negotiate with a translation button and a quick trip to the Information Counter, ensured we completed our names in the right place on the said ticket.
Two Saint Pauli fans settled down in our full carriage, having re-arranged their luggage for easy access. The luggage consisted exclusively of various bottles of Pils. There are various other special Deutsche Bahn tickets with overnight options that operate across Germany, which makes it feasible to wander around in pursuit of your local team The taller of the two Saint Pauli – sporting a retro Liverpool FC tracksuit top – consumed some of his luggage with vigour, whilst the other dozed off after his overnight travel. A mere 105 miles to go! The train proceeded across the pretty Bavaria countryside. The previous day’s rain had disappeared. The stops were infrequent and nothing of note until we approached the outskirts of Audiville. The first thing in view on the northern approaches to Ingoldstadt was the headquarters of Audi - a wall of offices and factory complexes that make up the world centre of Vorsprung Der Technik. The impression from the rain was a pretty version of Eindhoven, where everyman and his dog works at Phillips. The product was lined up on multiple train car transporters in the sidings approaching Ingolstadt Central. The floodlights of FC Ingolstadt were visible beyond.
Munich Hauptbahnhof was busy with police keeping a watchful eye. It was a possibly a reaction to the football match, but could equally be due to the recent terror in Paris or because Munich has become a gateway for those looking to exploit the recent open border policies embraced by Germany. We sourced a map and headed out from the main Railway Station. The Man in the Middle reminisced about the previous glory trips with the Trees in Europe. A Forest cap had been brought for photograph opportunities. It is possibly their best chance of appearing in Europe for the foreseeable.
After the miserable weather of the past couple of days, Munich was basking in bright sunshine. The SLR had been left back in Nurnberg in the interests of easing security issues at the Allianz. However, a few reasonable photo opportunities presented themselves en route to Marienplatz. On my first visit to Munich in 1981, I must have walked the same route. Thirty odd years later, nothing looked familiar. I had recollections of more Brauhaus and other open air areas for the consumption of the famous steins of beer. This had been my downfall
back then – waking up outside McDonalds covered in a red liquid. Had I been stabbed? It transpired to be the contents of some sachets of tomato sauce! In 1983, I probably walked along the same route, but the memories of the tomato sauce were too recent and I got back on another train bound for Cologne. I had a ticket for Germany v England in 2001 to be played at the old Olympiastadion, but work got away and I passed the ticket on to a good home. It didn't turn out to be a smart move, as England cruised to that famous 5 - 1 win!
We pressed on to Marienplatz looking for the nearby Orlandostrasse – home of a ticket source for the 1860 Munich match. The two Saint Pauli fans from the train were heard announcing their arrival to the general Munich population. I had a conversation with Markus, a German groundhopper, at the recent Scotland v Germany match in Glasgow. I was giving it my wind up speech ……… there is only one team in Munich and it is not Bayern. He leaned across the table……… listen, he said – Munich is red
not blue. We passed the empty Bayern Munich shop on Orlandostrasse. It was gratifying to see he had been wrong. There was not one person inside – not even a passing Japanese souvenir hunting tourist. The 1860 Shop was doing a brisk business on the other side of the road. Tickets and souvenirs. We acquired our 3 stehplatz – standing room – tickets at 14 Euros each and 2 pin badges at 1.75 Euros each. Football tickets that are affordable. England could learn a lot.
After a brief walk round, we were back in Marienplatz staring at the clock on the Town Hall with the other tourist masses. On the hour, the figures in the clock façade swirl round to organ music. It was pleasing to see that of the 2 knights who joust, the sky blue and white knight won. The reverse is possibly true, when Bayern are playing in town. The 2 minutes of free entertainment over, we went in search of a beer. The obvious location was the very commercial Hoffbrauhaus or Royal Brewery, which is further up Orlandostrasse. The place is enormous – a small football crowd could easily get lost in there.
There is a shop and a space for the band to play. The waitresses are dressed in traditional costume, as a few key customers who seem to have the role of drinking with the high tipping tourists. This obviously wouldn’t include us. We ordered a beer and a soup. It had been a long time since breakfast. The Man in the Middle arranged his Forest cap between the beer glasses for a relive the 1979 moment photograph. After only one beer, he thought he saw a mouse scurry between the tables – probably as well the soup had been eaten by that stage.
We headed to the Marienplatz U Bahn, which was packed with football fans and police. St Pauli were much in evidence. A scuffle broke out in the next carriage. The police moved in quickly. One fan was unceremoniously pinned against the wall of the platform. The police video unit filmed proceedings. Calm restored, we headed north towards the Allianz. It was a 20 minute journey. There was a further 10 minute walk from the U Bahn station at the other end. The Allianz Arena loomed in the distance. On a night match it apparently
lights up in the club colours. Today, it looked like a grey sea cucumber in the distance. The queues were manageable, but security was tight. The checks were a bit pointless as usual, but were successful in removing the most dangerous of weapons from the other half. The importation of food into the Allianz is strictly forbidden. Her breakfast apple was consigned to the bin with her water bottle. The Man in the Middle suffered the same fate, but had to stand in the naughty corner until the inexperienced steward had sought clarification from a boss on the apple policy. My apple made it in unchallenged. There was no interest in the camera and a couple of Japanese were later seen walking around with long lenses. The Allianz operates as a cashless zone i.e. if you want to buy something you get an Arena Card, load it with money and this is then deducted when you make your purchase. OK if you are a home fan, but pretty unappealing if you are an away fan intent on promotion and therefore unlikely to visit 1860 next season.
The official Saint Pauli following of 3000 was away to our
left. A mere 980 mile round trip. There were others in the 1860 seats, so possibly the travelling army was many more. The main core of Munich 1860 were at the North end and it was well populated. The total crowd was 30,100. It seemed strange to stand a major football match in Western Europe. I left the apple in my pocket to avoid detection by the food police. Saint Pauli arrived as joint leaders. TSV 1860 were second from bottom. The difference in form was not evident, although early chances were wasted by St Pauli. The 3000 were vocal in their encouragement. Two well executed goals early in the 2nd
half put paid to Saint Pauli’s hopes of going top. They continued to play neat football, but looked increasingly likely to get hit again on the break. TSV 1860 fans looked surprised and happy to have a 2 – 0 lead. It should have been extended, but some woeful finishing let Saint Pauli off the hook. The away support quietened down and were probably resigned to the long journey home. The game finished and we briskly walked back to the U Bahn. We managed to get on the first
train out avoid the crush. The return journey could have been somewhat more crowded if it had been FC Hollywood playing – the U Bahn didn’t seem destined to cope with another 40,00 fans.
We set about further exploration of Munich. Munich is a large city, but in truth is short on sights. The Munich Residenz is the former seat of Bavarian power and the former royal palace. It extends from the Max-Joseph Platz towards the Odeonplatz and ends with the Hofgarten – the Court Garden. A few people were enjoying their game of French bowls in the cold. The shops were upmarket to cater for the affluent Bavarian market. We studied an estate agents and baulked at the cost of 3.9 million Euros for an upper calls villa – nice, but nothing out the ordinary. There might not have been too much to see, but the Man in the Middle suggested it was more than he had accomplished in his previous visits. We considered a return to the Hoffbrauhaus, which was now very loud and in full swing. Football fans mingled with tourists. The “customers” in the lederhosen were still there – drinking with
the tourists. It wasn’t the place for a quiet pint. We left. We settled for another venue, which turned out to be a more money grabbing establishment intent on extracting tips – “tipping is not a place in China”. The Munich version of arrogance came to the fore with the demand for money. I wouldn't care, but the guy looked like he had been wiping his hands on the same leather shorts for the past 20 years! We left in disgust and headed for the Railway Station.
Munich Hauptbahnhof was a sea of humanity, all looking confused. Saint Pauli – fully loaded with beer bottle – sat on their luggage waiting for the train north. The departure boards were a sea of delays and cancellations. A train to Nurnberg waited at the Platform 24. It was a slow boat to China, so we waited with the other passengers for our intended 1805 departure. The first display was a 5 minute delay. It kept extending. After about 40 minutes, there was a mass movement towards Platform 27. It was in vain. The train that arrived there wasn’t for Nurnberg. The driver leant out of his window and shrugged
his shoulders. We followed others back to Platform 23, where another slow train to Nurnberg was about to depart. It was an easy choice by this time – get on – it might be slow, but at least we had a hotel at the end of the line. Saint Pauli fans climbed on with their beer. The passengers numbers swelled beyond the number of seats. We were split up, but found a seat. The Man in the Middle ended up next to Mrs Audi Warranty – quite ironic really. I suggested that she didn’t really have a job – nothing goes wrong with Audis. She translated for us back to Ingolstadt, before she completed her journey. We were instructed to change trains and get on a faster express to Nurnberg. The delays had been caused by overhead electric power line issues – apparently now resolved by Ingolstadt. Mrs Audi Warranty said that Deutsche Bahn have a new excuse every day. What will think of next? Leaves on the line?
Meanwhile, the Saint Pauli fans continued downing their beers. It was only a short delay in the context of their journey …………….. only another 380 miles to go! Appendix 1 2 Bundesliga
TSV 1860 Munchen 2 - 0 FC Saint Pauli 1910 Date: Saturday 21 November 2015 at 1300 Hours Venue: Allianz Arena (Munich) Attendance: 30,100 Scorers: Liendl (TSV 1860 Munchen) 53, Okotie 56 (TSV 1860 Munchen)
Teams TSV 1860 Munchen
1 V. Eicher, 25 G Kagelmacher, 26 C. Schindler, 30 M. Degenek, 37S. Yegenoglu, 11 D. Adlung, 10 M. Liendl, 7 D. Claasen, 31 R. Neudecker, 19R. Okotie , 27 M. Wolf FC Saint Pauli
30 R. Himmelmann, 16M. Hornschuh, 3L. Sobiech, 4P. Ziereis, 15D. Buballa, 28 W. Sobota, 11 M. Rzatkowski, 10 C. Buchtmann, 29 S. Maier, 37 Kyoung-Rok Choi, 18 L. Thy
Tot: 0.171s; Tpl: 0.059s; cc: 12; qc: 28; dbt: 0.0191s; 1; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb