A friend brought me tickets to the Hertha complex. The most important game for the club in many years. If the very expensive team had to move to the second division, things would look bitter for the Berliners. As we now know, the worst possible accident will not happen to Hertha.
Before the match, the atmosphere was still calm. HSV fans are already discussing matters with Hertha supporters on the S-Bahn towards the Stellingen destination. “You can look forward to Sandhausen,” says a man from Hamburg. Berliner answers: “The second degree isn’t that bad. You win again.” Everyone laughs. Then comes Stellingen. A sea of broken beer mugs floods the plaza around the S-Bahn station, and the police abound.
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It is now clear, at least, that something is at stake today. And it may not be completely nonviolent. On the way to the entrance, I saw three Hamburg fans in front of me, all about 20 years old. One of them walks with very wide legs and looks gloomy. The young man, radiating it with every fiber of his body, wanted not only to watch football here and now. He wants to cause trouble. He even deals with HSV fans who cross his path. “I’m so charged,” he roared into space.
The southwest entrance, dedicated to Hertha fans, offers visitors their last chance to take a sip of alcohol. It is forbidden in the stadium. Some don’t stop at one sip. A young man in front of me empties three-quarters of a bottle of peppermint – Pfeiffy – in a few minutes. In general: I look at many faces soaked with alcohol. It’s as if banning alcoholic beverages in the ballpark would really boost consumption.
I’m on the block, the game is about to start. I’m standing here basically sacrilege. Hertha is not important to me, I don’t care about the club. I just want to take the mood with me, but I don’t want to do anything about it. I’m standing there in my brown jacket and nothing blue and white adorns me. I’m not a fan and therefore I’m an outsider. The first chants are sung. Everyone hugs, then jumps together in one block. My chain is broken. The first Hertha fans to turn to me and shout out loud for me to join. Now I really don’t feel like it.
Now the difference is presented. The pitch announcer starts with the HSV goalkeeper. “With number one, Daniel…” Block Herta shouted together with raised middle fingers: “Son of a bitch!” And so it goes with every other player on the HSV team. Another stranger is sitting next to me. An old man, a fan of hamburger and HSV, looks at me sadly. He only got this card dying to watch the match, albeit on the wrong block. “I’m going to be very quiet today,” he says.
He should suffer for the first time after four minutes. Hertha takes the lead. The size in the block is enormous. I get a little beer drizzle. A little later I put my headphones on because the noise doesn’t subside. You have to hand it to the Berlin fans: they fight their team for the duration of the match. Aggression in the block is limited. At half-time there is a debate between two Hertha fans and a host. Behind me, a drunk young man was waving in the direction of the others. He hopes that many will meet and that there will be friction on the block not only with the security guards, but then with the approaching police. But nothing happens.
Ecstasy reigns, which culminates in the second half with the goal of making the score 2-0. The fans turn around in front of me and give me baby tops. The guy sitting next to me, an HSV fan, joined us as well, gritting his teeth. Five minutes before the end of the game, I wish him all the best and out of the area. I’ve seen enough. As a non-fan, I’m more on the outside in Hertha’s ecstasy than I’ve been throughout the match.