Go to contents

Showdown In Hannover

Posted December. 14, 2005 06:15,   


The FIFA World Cup Stadium in Hannover, Germany is very close to downtown. Two stops from the central station, one can see Waterloo station. In the distance, a steel-framed roof shaped like a sail emerges, and is just a five-minute walk away from the station exit with the stadium sign.

Daylight does not last long during the wintertime in Germany. It is already dusk by 3:00 p.m. The stadium, framed by the twilight sun, is very beautiful.

Big letters that read “HANNOVER 96 AWD ARENA” loom large as I step into the stadium, guided by Tobis Hammer, a marketing official for Hannover 96, the stadium’s home team. Although the official name for the stadium is “Niedersachsen-stadion,” it is known as the AWD-Arena to the locals. AWD is the name of an investment consortium that was the main reconstruction sponsor of the stadium.

Hannover Stadium is surrounded by wooded areas such as the wonderful Maschsee Park, but the team color of Hannover 96 is red. The seats of the home supporters and player benches are all in red.

The words “Die Rotten” (in red) are noticeable below the number 96 on the red carpet of the area beside the players’ entrance. The logo’s meaning is same as the slogan “The Reds” that is used by the Red Devils, the Korean national soccer team’s booster club.

The Korean national team will play its final preliminary Group G match against Switzerland here at 4:00 a.m. on June 24 next year (Korean time).

A lawyer, Polker Brinkman, 32, who is a big fan of Hannover 96 whom I met in downtown in the evening already knew what the match meant.

He said, “The match in Hannover will be critical for both Korea and Switzerland because they will be competing for second place in Group G.

Even though the young Swiss players are good, I believe in the Korean team. A Red Devil at heart, the red blood of Hannover runs in me.”

Jae-Yun Jung jaeyuna@donga.com