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Saturday 16th April 2022 ko 15:00

Landesliga Bayern Südwest

1FC GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN 2 (Durr 27p 58)

FV ILLERTISSEN II 4 (Santolo 1 Kazaryon 4 Hafnel 40p Glöckle 87)

Att 100 at Stadion on Gröben

Entry €8 (£6.80), for Robyn €6 (£5.10)

Programme included

When Robyn and I started planning our honeymoon the plan was to watch 3 games in the 10 days we were in Austria. I’d learned a lesson back in 2018 when we got engaged in Stockholm and somehow contrived to watch 7 games in 5 days, and then the Swedish Hop started! We even did a game the day we got engaged, at Lidingö mainly because I’d planned it so Robyn wouldn’t guess what I’d really got planned, and neither of us thought NOT to go…. I really didn’t want to go down the same route here, but then we did have a Saturday afternoon free…

This was a honeymoon, not a football tour;  the previous day we’d had great fun taking the train to Innsbruck but we had got back to Höfen well after midnight which had answered a question I’d asked myself for our final Saturday in the Alps. 

The idea was to get up early and take the rack and pinion railway and cable car to the top of Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain. The little train departs from Garmisch-Partenkirchen and I’d spotted that the local football club were at home in the afternoon. It seemed sensible to me combine the two, mountain in the morning, football in the afternoon.

But on Saturday morning the mountain tops were shrouded in mist, and more significantly we fancied a lie-in! We did half of what we’d planned and did the Zugspitze the next day! We opted for a quiet day to such an extent that we only crossed an international border twice!

As the name might suggest the town is a merger, but for unusual reasons, it happened in 1935 on the order of Adolf Hitler in anticipation of the Winter Olympics held here a year later. Now all things considered I’m surprised the merger stuck! These days the Garmisch side (where the ground is) is the more modern looking, and the Partenkirchen side the more traditional.

On the way to the Stadion on Gröben chances are you’ll pass the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies. Marshall gave his name to the Marshall Plan, the American Aid programme to aid the rebuilding of Europe following World War II, following his idea that that economic stability would provide political stability in Europe. The location seemed rather appropriate to me!

But geopolitical history isn’t why you’ll want to pay the local football club. No, that’ll be because of the backdrop. Imagine yourself looking towards the pitch from the stand. You’ve got 3 mountains in front of you; to the right Zugspitze, in front Alpspitze and to the left Mount Wank (yes I know!) Now I’ve visited some grounds in incredible settings and this one is right up with the best of them, but Robyn had found something else to fall in love with. 

That was the clubhouse and bar, and who couldn’t want to visit somewhere where you can watch 1860 Munich on TV while enjoying a slice of cake and a Weissebier? Even a couple of 1FC’s older supporters found time to practice their English with her; I smiled when I imagined them travelling to the UK speaking Bristol dialect. 

Ga-Pa to use the local abbreviation have spent their entire existence playing in Bavarian state leagues, never troubling the Regionaliga but always being better than the smallest local Kreisliga. Incidentally the reserves played straight after this game in the Kreisliga Zugspitze- with that name I might have been tempted to stick around! 

What we did see was a club struggling to stay in the sixth tier of German football. That task was made virtually impossible by the Ga-Pa being caught as cold as you’d ever see. Take those two goals in the first four minutes and suspect the regulars would have settled for the draw. Instead the hosts slipped to a painful defeat, and eventually entered a relegation play-off series.

That ended up with a two-legged tie with SV Bad Heilbrunn with the loser relegated to the Bezirksliga. The tie at Bad Heibrunn finished 1-1 so Garmisch-Partenkirchen must have felt reasonably hopeful for the second leg at the Stadion on Gröben but the second leg finished with 0-1 with the visitors’ goal coming in second half stoppage time- talk about a cruel way to be relegated. 

We flew back to the UK on the Monday evening, via a 20 mile queue to get into Germany due to Covid checks at the border. The hire car’s German number plates meant we sailed through without a check, when, on reflection, we were exactly who the authorities would have wanted to check- we’d crossed 17 international borders at that point!

We departed from Munich airport, which was a little odd; after 10 days of everything being new to us it was strange to be at the start and end of a previous adventure! There was the advantage too of “Airbrau” the airports house brewery and restaurant- I’d always recommend factoring an extra hour to visit.

Now I’m not sure a visit to a brewery is most couple’s idea of a wonderful end to a honeymoon. But as I said at the start of the ASV Salzburg article, Robyn and I aren’t your normal married couple…. and long may that continue!