Football in Stuttgart

*In the great football/soccer debate I typically go with what it’s called locally. So for this purpose its ‘football.’

The first time I went to a football match in Germany was in March, and like most my trips there, I was hammered. This time was fairly similar, but I was with it enough to take account of my surroundings and come to the conclusion, Germans got this down.

Right from the start they get it. Every match ticket is also valid as your round-trip train ticket to get there and back. Don’t even have to worry about it. Now VfB Stuttgart is in Bundesliga 2 as they were relegated  at the end of last season. Even so, they had a great turn out for a Monday night match.

We hit a few bars before the match, then walked with the crowds to the stadium. First thing I noticed was how massively wide the concourses are. You could have people walk about 30-wide in some sections. This makes a 65,000 seat stadium empty very quickly. The second thing I noticed were ample bathrooms. Nothing pisses me off more than a lack of bathrooms in a stadium. The Germans know their customers.

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Of course we can’t forget the beer, it is Germany after all. Unlike England, where you can’t drink in the stands, the Germans damn near encourage it. They have engineered their cups with handles, that can stack in one another. So you can carry up to five beers in one hand. A tear rolled down my cheek when I realized this.

They also put a €2 deposit on each cup, so you pretty much have to return them. This is actually also done so they can keep beer prices low. The cups are more expensive, so if they were just thrown out that would drive up beer costs, and if you want to see some pissed off German football fans, raise the price of beer.

It was also cold as Hell. By the time of kickoff it was -1C (30F) and got down to -5C (23F) by the end. This made the turnout even more impressive. It’s a very different experience than what I am used to in England. I drank a lot less then the last time, but still had a few too many. Germans are pretty solid people. While they are not known for their sense of humor and outgoing nature, they are great hosts. if you’re into football I highly recommend a match in Germany.

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