A Football Break in Berlin is a 4 Part Series written by Jack Gillies exclusively for Covert Football Trips following his latest experience in the German Capital City.
A Football Break in Berlin – Part 1
Berlin is an excellent city for a footballing weekend from 1.FC Union Berlin in the Bundesliga, Hertha BSC in the 2. Bundesliga and the several clubs spread around the lower divisions, there really is something for everyone if you are planning to visit the German Capital for some football.
As a Hertha Berlin fan I have had many a footballing weekend in Berlin and whenever I am over to see Hertha play, I like to catch as many games as possible so I can showcase just how good the football scene in the capital really is! So, join me on my most recent Berlin adventure and see for yourself just how easy, fun and interesting a football weekend in Berlin can be!
SFC Friedrichshain II Vs Blau Weiss Mahlsdorf Waldesruh II
My visit to SFC Friedrichshain II was a bit last minute and the result of a five o’clock in the morning start, but was nonetheless a fantastic evening out! Thursday night football isn’t exactly the easiest to come by but if you know where to look then you can find some real gems, and this is precisely what happened to me. A quick search on Fussball de (an absolute must for a football trip in Germany) showed that this was the only senior game of football taking place in Berlin on the Thursday night.
Upon arrival for this football break in Berlin, I soon discovered that there was some confusion around the kick off time with Fussball de and FuPa listing it as 20:00 while the Berliner Fussball Verband were listing the kick off as 19:00 eventually however it was confirmed the game did indeed kick off at 19:00. The advertised kick off times on the other sites were due to the game having to move forward at short notice due to availability of match officials (this is a common issue in the lower reaches of the German game so please be aware of this when heading to these sorts of fixtures)
SFC Friedrichshain’s home is the Kurt Ritter Sportplatz a pleasant little ground with an artificial surface, modern club house and a paved area where spectators can stand which is located right in the middle of a nice residential street in the heart of the former East Berlin not too far away from the iconic Karl Marx Allee.
Whilst the spectator facilities are a bit Spartan the club house was generously stocked with beer (as most lower league grounds are in Berlin) if you want to catch a game here please be aware that there is only the one paved area where spectators can stand on the side of the pitch with the club house, make sure you get in early as possible to get a good spot as this area did get quite crowded during the game.
Kurt Ritter Sportplatz
SFC Friedrichshain’s first team play their football in the Bezirksliga which makes up the 8th tier of German football however I was to witness the II or reserve team in action as they took on the reserves of Blau Weiss Mahlsdorf Waldesruh who are Kreisliga outfit in the Berliner Landespokal 2. Herren which is the Berlin regional cup for reserve teams.
Considering both sides were reserve teams of lower league clubs the football played was thoroughly entertaining with both sides evenly matched for most of the game although I would say SFC Friedrichshain had the slight edge over the course of the game. Of course, there was plenty of the usual entertaining lower league football moments such as a beer drinking, chain smoking assistant referee who showed up with his designer jacket and trousers on and there was the fact hardly of the SFC Friedrichshain team were German with a good few American accents on the pitch which confused the referee to no end with him having to switch between English and German almost constantly who would expect such an international flavour to lower league football in Germany ? Certainly not me!
As was to be expected the crowd was small but healthy and certainly lively with them reacting well to the game and enjoying what was a very pleasant evening weather wise. These sorts of games are a great way to explore the parts of Berlin tourists never see even as someone who visits Berlin regularly it was not an are familiar to me and I enjoyed getting to see it!
Overall, this game was a real hidden gem and one I am glad I found while the football played was exactly Bundesliga standard it was great to see proper grassroots football in Berlin and enjoy an evening out in the late summer sun. There was plenty of laughs and plenty of excitement as the game turned out to be very end to end with stunning strikes, off the line clearances, handbags between players and plenty of drama in the closing stages everything you expect from a good cup tie despite the low level!
This game was free entry – all I did was show up and pick a spot by the side of the pitch. A bottle of beer from the club house cost a very respectable EUR 2,00
Getting to the stadium:
I picked up the U5 U-Bahn line at Alexanderplatz and got off at Frankfurter Allee from Frankfurter Allee the Kurt Ritter Sportplatz was a ten-minute. There is also tram and bus stops near the ground.
A Football Break in Berlin – Part 2…
The second part in this four part series by Jack Gillies will be available next Friday 13th October.
Fancy a visit to Germany?
At Covert Football Trips we organise Mystery Football Weekends to Germany. Your trip could see you arrive in Berlin for some great football matches. Visit our website to find out more.