Brothers Gonna Work It Out
Lokomotive Leipzig 2-0 Sachsen Leipzig (06:02:11)
It's 8am at Berlin Hauptbahnhof; yesterday was a 22 hour day and I've had next to no sleep due to celebrating FC Union's unlikely win at Hertha long into the night. None of these facts registered with my German friend, Stoffers who ships in two carrier bags worth of Berliner Kindl for breakfast. Destination: Leipzig - for another local derby. Unlike in Berlin, these two teams do hate each other and there has been serious crowd trouble at this fixture in the past. Pass me that beer then Stoffers lad. We might need it.
We were joined on the train by Barnsley Graham and EFW stalwart Big Deaks. Fergal and David would also be hooking up with us in Leipzig. Additionally, unplanned company was provided in the previously sleepy town of Eilenburg, just outside of Leipzig when a group of Lok fans got on the train. They alleviated the boredom of a five minute delay by setting off a few bangers and smoke bombs. The smoke billowed back into our eyes as there was a bit of fahrtwind (headwind) blowing. (And your German word for the day is fahrtwind - Ed.)
As the train pulled into Leipzig, further bangers and fire crackers were thrown out of the window. Not the most inconspicuous way to approach a high risk fixture. Riot police moved up the platform before we could slope off and stopped our group. We were searched thoroughly and asked why on earth we had travelled all the way from England to see a Division 5 game in Germany. Have a flick through these pages Mr Leipzig Policeman - this is what we do. I thought I was in big trouble when the police pulled out my Union Berlin scarf, that an Eisern fan had given me the previous night. FC Union had a loose connection with Sachsen in the GDR days and, probably, this wasn't the garment to be flashing around in front of a mob of Lok fans.
I predict a riot. We're stopped and searched by the local police at Leipzig station.
Parklife. The approach to the Zentralstadion.
One of each please.
€9 for a ticket leaves enough money to get a fancy haircut in these parts.
So which section to go in then? Lok or Sachsen? Sachsen or Lok? I'd been asked to do a radio interview with Lokruf station - one of the biggest in Germany with a potential audience of millions - at half time. But the lads wanted to go in the away end, in with the Chemical Brothers, so that put pay to that idea.
Sachsen (loosely pronounced Saxon) were formed by a team of chemical plant workers, and they renamed themselves from BSG Chemie after the German reunification. While the railway workers' club Lok (Lokomotive in full) were renamed from VfB back in the mid-90s after a series of fan protests. Lok are also rumoured to have some right-wingers and hooligans amongst their fanbase, whereas Sachsen are believed to be a more non-political, mixed crowd. I don't tend to like tarring fans all with the same brush though, so take that information with a pinch of salt.
The Zentralstadion itself was used for the 2006 World Cup. The newer version - as if by magic - was built inside (inside) the ring of the old ground. Nowadays it is only used for 'high risk' games because both of these two clubs have their own - rather less safe and full of wooden stands - stadiums in town. It's a shame really, because the crowd (10,600) is rather lost in a stadium that holds over 44,000. Police blocks and stringent searches meant that the flares had all been confiscated. I was told that it was safe here unless you were hit by a passing signal rocket. There were none of these though, in fact, there wasn't actually too much atmosphere. Evidently, for reasons I'm unaware of - the Sachsen ultras had chosen to boycott this particular match.
It was a dire game played on a pudding of a pitch. Sachsen got stuck in the mud. Lok - despite only have one game all season, and staring relegation in the face - produced what little skill was on offer and ran out fairly convincing and deserved winners. Cue all night disco parties in the blue and yellow part of town. Some of which were just kicking off up by the station as we departed back to Berlin.
The Men in Black. (the banner said "Your City, Your Club, Become a Member")
[insert terrible Keys/Gray/Smash it/did she know the rules joke of your choice]
It's behind you!
All night disco party coming up.
A huge police presence with helicopters, water cannons and barking dogs did their job in preventing bare-knuckle fighting afterwards. In truth, they probably could have stayed at home, because there was no real threat of violence all day.
Incidentally, I work with some Crawley Town fans. They've had to pay £70 for their train ticket to Manchester - which they booked weeks in advance - and £41 for a match ticket for the Red Devils FA Cup 5th round tie. For less money, I booked a flight to Berlin (£65) and saw two matches; Hertha v Union (£14) and this Leipzig Derby (£8). The return train ticket between Berlin and Leipzig only cost £8. So Manchester United v Crawley Town or, for slightly less money, two local derbies on a European Football Weekend in Germany? It's not rocket science is it?
For more photos from the weekend CLICK ME.
Like this? You might also like the EFW Hertha v Union report.
Outside the Zentralstadion.
Outside the Zentralstadion.
Another successful EFW for Danny and Deaks, tick.
Follow European Football Weekends on Twitter.
- Feel free to comment below -