Go to contents

Two Wild Hours With German Soccer Fans

Posted December. 19, 2005 03:04,   


Germany’s Bundesliga has the most loyal fans in the world. What explains this football craze?

To find out, this reporter caught up with the supporters of Eintracht Frankfurt on their way to cheer for an away game on December 17 local time.

This reporter was met by 150 fans filling two train cars. Dressed in the team’s jerseys, the fans sang continuously. Their spirits rose higher as did the number of empty beer bottles; and seeing a Korean reporter amongst them, they started singing “Du-du-du-Ri-ri-ri-Cha-cha-cha, Du! Ri! Cha!” the famous Cha Du-ri Song, at the top of their lungs.

Jens Goepfert, a 30-year-old real estate consultant, says he attends almost all of his team’s 20 or so away games every year. Christian Ginige, a 20-year-old office worker, was wearing the Korean national team’s jersey. “I bought this jersey before the start of the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup. Cha Du-ri signed it.” Ginige said proudly.

Football, beer, and music filled the two-and-a-half hour railroad trip. The train arrived at Moenchen-Gladbach station at 1:30 p.m..

Shuttle buses lined up in front of the station to carry people to the football stadium. Usually these buses come every 15 minutes, but on game days, the city increases the schedule and offers free rides to football fans.

Chants of “Eintracht Frankfurt. Auswaerts-Sieg” (win the away game) to a marching band beat filled the air. The bus rocked up and down, but the driver seemed to be having a jolly time as well.

Some 5,000 Frankfurt fans filled the southeastern stands.

Cha Du-ri played at the right wingback defender position as he did in previous two games. At the 16 minute and 22 minute marks in the first half, Francisco Copado (Frankfurt) scored consecutive goals. The cheering reached its climax at those moments as well. No one foresaw the defeat, and the game ended in Moenchen-Gladbach’s 4-3 come-from-behind victory.

While Cha Du-ri had grim expression and looked drained out after the game, he said he was adjusting pretty well to his position as a defender. “No matter what position I’m given on the national team, I am sure I will make great plays.”, said Cha.

Jae-Yun Jung jaeyuna@donga.com