We have been quiet for a while. Why? I've been travelling. Football, beer and magnificent cities, thats why I love Germany.
"Bist du Frankfurter?", she said, I answered "No, but Bad Homburg". This was a standard procedure during my whole trip; to lie about where I was from. As a Swede, speaking German isn't natural, it's actually very unnatural and quite difficult even though the languages are quite similar. Therefore I considered it a good thing to discover if my German was actually good enough and apparently it was. Whereever I said I lived, Bad Homburg, Frankfurt, Cologne, Bernkastel or Bremen, people believed me which of course made me lie even more.
I woke up in my hotel room in Hennigsdorf, half an hour from Berlin, with everything more or less orchestrated. I knew what to say, what to do and how to act. This morning I was going to leave the group I had been travelling with, a group for youths in my local church, and due to my dramatic self, I just had to say goodbye through a majestic speech a' la Socrates (the philosopher, not the footballer). It was a success, of course, and I quickly jumped on the S-Bahn to Berlin, where I found my Hotel and felt awesome for a few hours before I watched football at a local pub, which of course was a treat. This was my regular day. Wake up, walk a ton of kilometers (I'm Swedish, deal with it), drink beer and possibly watch some football. This was life. I was going to discover Germany in a blazer and my dirty beloved Converse.
Was it dunkel or hell, weißbräu or pils, the German beer never ceased to amaze. A country where every little city has its own brewery, where football is a public event and where meeting a foreigner is a treat, is where I belong. My would-be German heart pounded and marked these teutonic lands as home during almost every part of the trip, except for two places. Two places I genuinely wouldn't recommend to anyone, places where I both felt alone and like an alien more than feeling at home. Leverkusen was one of these two. It might seem odd, due to my love for German football, that I would despise a city with a great football team, but Leverkusen isn't even worth calling a city. It's merely a dirty suburb to Cologne, a much merrier city, lucky enough to be the place where Bayer decided to settle. Add to that, that the actual team felt plastic. It sounds like a clichée, but trust me, the whole team felt just like the city. The game I watched was B04 vs HSV, won 1-0 by B04 through an own goal, and I went into the game as a Leverkusen enthusiast, but ended it as a Hamburger fanatic.
The other place I would never recommend is Rothenburg ob der Tauber. This medieval village sounds like paradise, like a small copy of Visby in Sweden. However, it's hard to get there, the village id full of Chinese families and the actual habitants are not too friendly. Rothenburg didn't feel medieval. It felt like something taken from a theme park, built to entertain the gullible masses and the Chinese families. Oh, how disappointed I was.
Back to football. I had one of the most thrilling and humbling experiences of my life at the BVB-Spurs game, which I had the pleasure to enjoy with Ali, my fellow editor. All the stories about Westfalenstadion are true. I had been there before, BVB-Mainz in 2014, but this was special. The fantastic atmosphere in the city pre-game, the even more fantastic atmosphere at the actual game and the goals were lovely too. After having lied to a few Tottenham supporters pre-game by saying that my name was Adam and that I lived in Portsmouth (they believed me), the game began and after the lovely win something odd happened; the train back was late. Whether this was odd or not is another question, Deutsche Bahn sucks, but this meant that my connection to Cochem, where I by some odd reason stayed, in Koblenz was unavailable. Ergo, I travelled back to Koblenz. I arrived at 12 AM, ate a box of Chicken McNuggets and then randomly jumped on the train to Bremen. Why? Because I could. Interrail made it possible. And because it's a lot safer to sleep on the train than to walk around for six hours in Koblenz in the middle of the night. Arrived in Bremen at 4 AM, walked for an hour, ate breakfast at BackWerk and then felt "nah" so travelled back to Koblenz and and then to Cochem.
Due to the rapid nature of my walk, I'm able to actually discover a whole city in a day simply by walking. I firmly believe that it's unnecessary to go by U-Bahn when you've got a pair of brilliant feet, just like I do. And I do love my feet, especially the right one. With these magic things I discovered Dortmund and realized that it's actually quite nice, I discovered Cologne and thought "wow". Through my feet I have fallen in love with quite a few cities, among those Berlin, and in Germany most cities worth visiting are worth discovering by feet. Frankfurt was like that. Even though I had heard disencouraging things about Mainhattan, I forged a special connection to it in the blink of an eye. It just never ceased to amaze me. The history, the importance of the area, the skyscrapers, Zeil and of course Waldstadion (Commerzbank Arena) made me feel at home. I felt at home in Frankfurt and that feeling got even stronger when I visited Waldstadion.
Waldstadion was fantastic. Very beautiful stadium, the area is sehr schön, it's easy to get to and the museum is great. The question "Bist du Frankfurter" didn't feel too wrong to say "yes" to. At home; that's how I felt and it was truly a brilliant experience. Plus the game was nice and Frankfurt won. Änis Ben-Hatira scored the only goal and it was clear that Alex Meier (Fussballgott) was sorely missed.
Axel Falk, editor and co-founder.
Nota Bene: In Wolfsburg Marcel Schäfer is Fussballgott, in Leverkusen it's Stefan Kießling. After discussing with Ali (editor) I came to the conclusion that the real Fußballgott must be Giulio Donati or Peter Niemeyer. I'm not too sure which one though. And I do not know why it became clear. An epiphany, perhaps.
This is where it all begins. Our resident analysts study the unrecognised players and examine the matches that are of interest across Europe.