SSV Jahn Regensburg

18 Dec

10 December 2011

German Liga. 3

SSV Jahn Regensburg 03 v Weder Breman II 02 (att – cica 3000)

Städtische Jahnstadion, Regensburg, Bavaria, Germany

Team Talk. Regular readers of this blog will know that, despite its south London focus, the Pigeon Stands has from time to time strayed beyond what can strictly by regarded as the southern boundary of the M25. We know this is a bit self indulgent but we have nowhere else to write about visits to foreign places like France, Italy, and Yorkshire.

In keeping with this we could not help ourselves when the chance arose for a Christmas time blog about the German lower leagues. The focus of this trip was SSV Jahn Regensburg, the main team in Regensburg, Bavaria.

The football club formed part of a multi-disciplinary sports club that was originally founded back in 1886 with the football club itself starting around 1907. “Jahn” refers to Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, whose ideas of gymnastics greatly influenced German sports in the 19th century, so much so that he is often referred to as “the father of gymnastics”.

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Friedrich Ludwig Jahn - not to be confused with Santa

In 1924, the football players (and apparently the swimmers) had had enough of the gymnasts, and left to form a break away club. The football club eventually became an independent club in its own right in 2000.

Arguably the club’s biggest success was winning the 2nd Oberliga Sud, what was the second division in Germany, in 1953. More recent achievements include winning the Bavarian Cup in 2010 and 2011.

Notable amongst the current bunch of Regensburg players is attacking midfielder Tobias Schweinsteiger (AKA Schweinsteiger II), older brother of Bastian Schweinsteiger.

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Schweinsteiger I and II

Jahn have played in the the 3.Liga since it started in 2008. This is the third division of football in Germany between 2.Bundesliga and the semi-pro Regionalliga.

Today’s game was with Weder Breman II, the second team of the Bundasliga outfit. Jahn lay in second place in 3.Liga at the beginning of the day and could go top of the league with a win if other results went their way. A win for Jahn seemed likely as Weder Breman II were languishing at the lower end of the league.

Park the bus. Jahn have played at Städtische Jahnstadion, which is located in one of the smarter suburbs of the City, since 1926. The ground can easily be reached from the City centre on foot in about 20 mins (which includes a pleasant walk through the City park). Alternatively there are frequently buses.

Home Advantage. Like all good tourists I did some homework before the game, eager to learn the songs and customs that would allow me to blend effortlessly in with the Bavarian crowd. Luckily YouTube came to my rescue by hosting a video posted by no less than the Jahn Ultras (video below).

I made every effort to learn this song, and even asked a German speaker to translate some of the key words for me so that I could (1) understand what made the Ultras tick and (2) to make sure that I was not swanning around Regensburg singing anything deeply offensive.

As we approached the ground about half an hour before kick off it was clear that my hard work was going to pay off as this very same song could be heard blasting from the tannoy within 50 metres of so of the ground. I felt instantly at home.

We picked the tickets up from the club shop close to the main entrance on the west side of the ground. The shop is an open shed and looked like something between a Christmas market stall and the new shop at Dulwich Hamlet (shameless plug – open most match days selling fine pink and blue wares). The range of Jahn branded merch on sale was something else – my favorites being a teddy figurine in a football strip and the somewhat confusing looking salt and pepper dispenser.

The main entrance is through a brightly painted turnstile behind the stand. Once inside you head down a short walkway with walls decorated with Pannini sticker style pictures of the currently playing squad before finally arriving pitch side.

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Main turnstile

The vast majority of the 11,800 capacity is given over to standing room, which is set out as concrete steps that run almost continuously along the east side of the pitch and both ends. The standing areas are entirely open to the elements (i.e. probably a bit grim if it rains).

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East side

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East end

Seats can be found in the impressive and largely covered stand on the west side of the pitch (although beware if paying for a seat, the front ten of so rows are uncovered). The stand also includes a VIP area which frankly is not much different to the rest of the stand. Complementary Jahn foam seat cushions are also available for everyone.

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West side

A major feature of the pitch at Städtische Jahnstadion is that it stands in the shadow of a large brewery. This is exciting and convenient for anyone wanting to combine a football and brewery tour into an afternoon. The Bischofshof Brewery has been in Regenburg since at least 1649 and is actively involved in local life – including sponsoring yearly ironman contests and formally crowning a “beer queen” on the last day of the beer festival.

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Brewery

All hail the queen of beer

The main crowd noise came from the 50 or so Regensburg Ultras, who were stood parallel with the centre circle on the east side of the pitch, beneath the clock. These guys were great and did a fantastic job of getting behind their team, led by a fella with a megaphone. I was unsure before the game what the German version of the Ultras would be like. It is fair to say that, if German football supporters like a sing song, the Ultras REALLY like a sing song. They belted out tune after tune (all different) for 90mins solid. Easily the best of these was “Jahn Regensburg… JA, JA, JA, JA, JA, JA, JA, JA, JA!!!!” to the chorus of On the Floor by Jennifer Lopez (see 1min 45sec on the video below if, like me, you have not heard this).

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The Ultras

Prawn Sandwiches. Lovers of beer in big glasses and ham sarnies are VERY well catered for at Jahn. There is a burger (ham) van in each corner of the pitch. But the big draw here (particularly on cold December afternoons) is the bar. Located under the main stand the bar fantastically set out like a proper German beer hall. Bar service looked incredibly swift, partly because of the sheer efficiency of the staff (one pre-pouring and one taking money) and partly due to the restricted choice of one type of beer (Bischofshof of course). Ham sarnies were also available from a basket at the end of the bar.

An important thing to note about the bar is not to sit in the area marked “stammtisch”. This is reserved for the longest serving regulars of the bar. Sitting here will surely get you a bashing or at the very least a few disapproving glares.

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Bar bouncer? Definitely not to be confused with Santa.

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and the game. Before the game the teams lined the tunnel with young kids as mascots. Each kid (bar one) got a high five from his/her player. The teams entered onto the pitch to Europe’s the Final Countdown. Coincidently we had watched Europe perform live on German TV the night before – yes they are still together. The Final Countdown finished and was blended effortlessly into pumping techno music. I am told that the techno was a reworking of the Pirates of the Caribbean theme. The players must have been so pumped at the start of the game – I know that I was.

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The game itself was actually a fairly forgettable. Regensburg took the lead very early on with a goal that was very scrappy. After this the home team struggled to string a couple of passes together and slowly allowed Weder Breman II to get into the game. Even the Ultras could not get these guys going. I was not at all surprised when the away team scored towards the end of the first half.

In the second half Regensburg were much better, due largely to putting a second striker on. This allowed Schweinsteiger, who had been playing on his own up front, to drop into midfield a bit more to get things going. Two more goals were to follow for Regensburg and one for Weder Breman II

Man of the Match. Despite there being a few candidates for this I have to choose the Regensburg Ultras. Firstly, they posted a video on YouTube that allowed me to get into the swing of things early. Probably more importantly they were truly relentless in the support of their team and were a real credit to the club on this occasion.

Post-match rub-down. Well worth a visit if you happen to be down this way. A fine football ground, friendly people, and close to brewery… I need say no more than this.

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Bromley FC « Tales From The Pigeon Stands - 11 March 2012

    […] than the useful free for all and very similar to the level of bar organisation seen recently in Germany at SSV Jahn Regensburg. Ales on offer are also of great quality and include beers from the Shepherd Neame brewery. An […]

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