Riding the train from Munich to Augsburg was a pretty simple feat. We got on the train, road a pretty straight shot to the city and then moved over to the local train system. What happened next, I was not ready for. As we road the local train, we started to get tightly fit into each car like we were a box of sardines. Each stop, more and more people added to the cars as if we were trying to set a record for the amount of people we could fit into a constricted area. Being from the Bay Area, I have felt this way before, but this felt different. What was unique was that the people boarding the bus, were football fans.
The match was between FC Augsburg and Eintracht Frankfurt. Not heated rivals like that of Borussia Dortmund and Schalke, but still both sides did not want to suffer a defeat. The people on our train were mostly Frankfurt fans coming into the city for the match. They were loud and proud. Chants consistently made way through the train cars for all to hear. We knew we were in for a great experience as we exited the car and watched a drunk person immediately slam his beer.
We made our way to the match, ready to push forward with our first Bundesliga event. After we got past the confusion of figuring out how to purchase beer, we landed in our great seats just rows off the field.
I grew up a sports fan and have been to many stadiums and teams. I’ve seen the intensity of playoff games and the true fanatics at stadiums. I was not expecting the Eintracht Frankfurt fans though. As I watched them throughout the game, I thought to myself that maybe I’m not a fan of any of my favorite teams at all. These were true fans. They stayed up on their feet the entire game and went from cheer to cheer to cheer. The energy level of the fans actually had me feeling exhausted at the end of the match. I can only imagine how they felt. They must have felt like they came down off of drinking 5 Red Bulls, 2 5 hour energies and a Mountain Dew! That will put you to bed nice and gracefully at the end of a night!
Frankfurt ended up winning the match, but the fun was the culture of football. Whether you travel to Germany, England, France or Spain, try to make your way to a football match. The intensity does not compare to anything within the US from a sporting event standpoint.
Football fans in Europe are unlike any other that I have experienced in the world. Yes, these people have their religions that they follow, but what binds them is the religion of football. Every country that we have traveled to, has absolutely die hard fans that are captivated by their local clubs. How die hard? Well, if you have seen a movie with Elijah Wood in it called Green Street Hooligans, you could probably have a good idea of how intense fans get. Now, I will say that people are a bit more civil than I expected after watching that movie, but nonetheless, intense.
For those that are unfamiliar, each country has its own football league. Some of the largest leagues in the world are Premier league, Bundesliga Serie A and La Liga. The competition is intense, but the love of the game is what is more important. You often get a different experience within each league. Traveling fans going to every match across the country. All sitting together in one section and they get loud. Often times during a match I can’t distinguish between a beheading or a normal sporting event! There is that much intensity in every second at a match. Somehow fans believe that they have the ability to breath life into their gods on the field and help lead them to victory in spirit. No need to sit down, we have a match to win!
The religion of football is here to stay because it’s in the blood of the fans. Come for the match, but stay for the people! You’ve got to love European football at it’s finest!