Saturday 4th February 2012
TSV ALEMANNIA AACHEN 2 (Auer 13p Demai 15)
FC ST PAULI 1 (Boll 39)
Glüwein €2.50 (mulled wine)
Frikadelle & Chips €4.50
With the temperature having warmed up to a positively balmy -11C, we did wonder whether this game would fall foul of the weather too. But there is undersoil heating at the Neuer (New) Tivoli, and this is Germany! So 20,000 plus people simply wrapped up warmly, and away we went.
The new Tivoli opened in August 2009, with its nearby predecessor being recently demolished. The adjacent ground is in fact for equestrian sports. There are nods to the old ground with the yellow roof, and the name, which the club has decided not to replace with a sponsor’s, choosing instead to levy a 1 euro supplement, the “Tivoli penny” making up in part, for the lost revenue.
The capacity is set at 32 960 seats, broken down as follows: 11,681 standing places, of which 10,584 are on the massive South Stand (Bitburger Wall), 19,345 seats, 1,348 business seats, 28 boxes, each containing twelve seats, 100 disabled spaces and 110 press seats. I did find the concourses slightly disappointing in that they’re not fully enclosed. On a warm day though, I might have taken a different view! One major pain was the Tivoli-Karte, via which is how all food and drink is purchased, no cash is allowed. You pay for the card, then charge it up with credit, and of course, you always have slightly too much or too little for what you want. That I suppose is the point!
Maybe it was the game, maybe it was the atmosphere, aided in no small part from the army of travelling St Pauli fans, from Hamburg, but I really enjoyed this game. St Pauli of course are the famous “Cult” club. They’re known for left-leaning politics, social activism and the event and party atmosphere of the club’s matches. Supporters adopted the skull and crossbones as their own unofficial emblem. St. Pauli became the first team in Germany to officially ban right-wing nationalist activities and displays in its stadium in an era when fascist-inspired football hooliganism threatened the game across Europe. In fact at one point banners were displayed from the away end telling the home fans to wake up to the extremists within the home terraces. You can see the banners in one of the pictures.
With fans like this, it was a shame that their team failed to live up to their following. Aachen won the game in 2 mad minutes. Firstly Zambrano hacked down Radu in the box, Auer’s penalty sending St Pauli fanatic and keeper Pliquett the wrong way. Then, a neat passing move round Demai 20 yards, and his curling shot easily beat Pliquett. St Pauli had the lion’s share of possession, but were creating too little with it. Finally all the possession led to a goal ,when a poor clearance fell to Boll, who tucked away the chance.
The second half continued in a similar vein. Substitute Saglik thought he’d scored but referee Willenborg ruled him to be offside, even the home supporters thought that was probably a wrong decision. Aachen just about deserved their win, even if for most of the half I thought St Pauli would snatch a point.
In the final analysis I was just pleased to have got a game to watch, and a good one at that!