You can read 19 more articles this month
IT’S been a typically unpredictable start for the majority of the teams in the Bundesliga 2, German football’s second tier.
Union Berlin are the only unbeaten side, but they’ve drawn five of their nine games, while recently relegated top-tier stalwarts Hamburger SV have found it trickier than they might have expected.
HSV’s relegation has meant that there will be two derbies in Hamburg this season, as their descent into the second division for the first time in their history sees them join city rivals St Pauli in the fight for promotion.
Anyone who followed the progress of St Pauli in this column last season will know that roller coaster rides are their thing, and the new campaign has been no different. They rounded off their pre-season friendlies with a win at home to Stoke City and emerged victorious from their opening two league games.
They were then knocked out of the German cup by third-tier Wehen Wiesbaden, lost their next three in the league, but have since gone on a four-match unbeaten run.
The one draw in this run was perhaps the most significant, as it saw them face HSV for the first time in seven years. It is one of the most fiercely contest derbies in the world, as much off the pitch as on it, and there were a number of incidents in the build-up to the game.
“We anticipate a much higher than average police mobilisation,” said Hamburg police spokesman Timo Zill in the week prior to the match. “We will be very present and will monitor the situation.”
There were reports in the local press of St Pauli supporters attacking HSV fans, leaving two in hospital. HSV followers responded by hanging lifesize dolls wearing St Pauli shirts from the bridges over the river Elbe and across the city’s canal network.
This continued to the day of the game when stink bombs were let off at the station where St Pauli fans would disembark on their way to HSV’s Volksparkstadion. More foul smells met the “away” fans at their end of the stadium, with more local reports stating that excrement had been spread on the floor near the turnstiles.
While there was plenty of unsavoury action off the field, there wasn’t much on it and the game ended goalless. This, however, was a good result for St Pauli, who now sit fifth in the table just one point behind third place HSV.
The next derby, which will take place at St Pauli’s Millerntor-Stadion, isn’t until March, but it will already be on the minds of the fans. The clubs, meanwhile, will hope to get their minds on putting together a consistent run of results in one of Europe’s most volatile leagues.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.