Still kicking...?

written on 13/08/2020
by Jutta Triebe

Having lived most of my adult life outside Germany, it is a challenge for me to write about German stereotypes. But let me have a go.

Of course, one pops into my mind straight away and that s the incredible love of a certain sport. Guess which one? Yes, football! But how far does this passion go?

Very far! One of the oldest football clubs in Berlin is Union Berlin. It was founded in 1920 and its stadium celebrates its 100th anniversary of the inauguration last week on the 7th August. 

The big story: in 2008 it was decided that it no longer met the current security standards and the owners were given an ultimatum to meet the requirements or the stadium would face closure. The owners clearly didn’t have the financial resources to restructure the building and were distraught. 

But so were their fans and so they asked them for help. The overwhelming result was that more than 2300 enthusiastic football fans voluntarily worked for almost a year (a total of 140,000 hours) re-building the stadium. Six team leaders were appointed who oversaw a most diverse group of helpers. 

Construction companies took care of the difficult work such as the formwork or straightening. The fans did a great deal for their club.  Some even sacrificed their annual vacation to work on this unique construction project. They all helped together:  doctors alongside nurses, painters alongside bank clerks.

I think this is quite unique and proof enough that this stereotype is true and so is the incredible passion of German football fans.