The Bundesliga returns at the weekend – and while there are of course more important things going on in the world right now, it didn’t escape Football in Berkshire’s notice that a large number of our counties towns have links to major German cities.
Therefore, while we all work out how to book a BT Sport month pass – the channel are showing all the weekends Bundesliga games, we thought it might be fun to work out who we should all be supporting.
So from the fall and rise of Fortuna Dusseldorf, the Billy Goats of
Caversham FC Koln and Vfl Wolfsburg – worth supporting because they were previously managed by Wolfgang Wolf, here’s our verdict town by town.
Leverkusen – If you live in, or grew up in Bracknell you’ll no doubt be aware of the towns twinning with the German city of Leverkusen in the North Rheine Westphalia state of Germany. If you live on or around Opladen Way, your support for Die Werkself is surely guaranteed?
The city is one of the smaller ones in a state that includes Dortmund, Cologne (Koln from this point on) and Dusseldorf (more on that in a minute) and is famously home to the Bayer pharmaceutical company who’s works team – Bayer Leverkusen play in the Bundesliga.
Bad Godesberg – A district of former West German capital Bonn established a link with Maidenhead in 1960. Bonner SC is the cities major team but with them currently languishing in the regional leagues, the nearest side for Maidonians to get behind in the televised fixtures is Koln – half an hours drive north up the Rheine.
With the Magpies recent crest switch to one celebrating the clubs history and particularly the merger between Maidenhead FC and Maidenhead Norfolkians, the fact Koln’s current home, away and third kits are all white, all red and all black should resonate.
Braunfels – The town in Hesse, central Germany twinned with Newbury in 1963 and it’s team FSV Braunfels plays in the regionalised Gruppenliga Giessen/Marburg at step 8. Obviously, that’s not going to be on BT Sport this weekend so we think that nearby (well an hour south) Eintracht Frankfurt.
It feels like a good fit, not least because thanks to the closure of Faraday Road, Newbury’s football fans are sadly used to having to travel out of town for a proper stadium. The Bundesliga club arguably also have one of the standout kits in the competition, a rather fine vertical striped black, white and red number.
Dusseldorf – The mark of the state capital of North Rheine Westphalia is visible around the town, not least Dusseldorf Way on the outskirts of the Broad Street Mall in the town centre and the relationship dates back to when the Mayor of Reading Phoebe Cusden answered a call from the Royal Berkshire Regiment, then occupying the city, for help for people who were hungry and homeless following the war (source reading-dusseldorf.org.uk).
The cities Bundesliga side, Fortuna Dusseldorf are battling the drop this season, their second back at the top tier of German football after a bit of a rollercoaster couple of decades since the late 1980s when they dropped down to the fourth tier in 2002.
Nideggen – Another twin from the state of North Rhein Westphalia, Nideggen is a town to the west of Bonn and naturally we’d probably point you in the direction of Koln – it’d be easier and we could finish this entry here.
However, this subheading in Wikipedia of Borussia Monchengladbach’s entry 2017–present: Ascendancy to the top* fits quite nicely with the rise of the Kingfishers since the FA Vase triumph.
*Okay it actually says – 2017–present: Ascendancy to the top half of the table but why let reality get in the way of a good narrative. And pointing you at Koln REALLY would be lazy.
Goslar – Twinned with the Royal Borough of New Windsor in 1969. Goslar SC in the Lower Saxony state finished second bottom of the Landesliga Braunschweig at the end of 2018/19, part of the regionalised sixth tier of German football.
The nearest Bundesliga clubs Windsor fans might want to get behind are Hannover 96 of the second division and top tier Vfl Wolfsburg. Leipzig is a little further away to the South East.
RB Leipzig vs SC Freiburg (Saturday 16th – Bundesliga) 2:30pm BT Sport
FC Augsburg vs Vfl Wolfsburg (Saturday 16th – Bundesliga) 2:30pm BT Sport
Hannover 96 vs Dynamo Dresden (Sunday 17th – 2. Bundesliga) 12:30pm
Erftstadt – Like a lot of these (I want to know, did Berkshire towns get together and say ‘only twin with cities in North Rheine Westphalia?’ – it’s not like the industrial history and coal mining of the area matches at all with the Royal County – though thanks to the Channel Tunnel it is quite close, so maybe that’s the reason) Erfstadt is in North Rheine Westphalia, west of Koln.
So where should Sumas look for a Bundesliga side to get behind? Bear with me on this one because it’s not based on geographical concerns, but I’ve concluded Bundesliga 2 Hamburg are the ones for you.
Why? A fallen giant of the game? Check. Ground changes around 2000 (don’t look to deeply in to that, this parallel will quickly fall apart if you do)? Check. Off field problems in the 90s? Check. Preparing to climb back up the divisions? Check.
Unfortunately, while HSV are playing at the weekend it doesn’t look like it’s on BT, so feel free to go with Koln..
Ultimately, it’s entirely up to you. You might notice the absence of Slough and Hungerford from my list as well. Unfortunately neither town (as far as I can see) have a twin in Germany – something they both probably need to think long and hard about.
Me? I’ll be imagining I am back on the Yellow Wall with Duds and the boys backing Borussia Dortmund in the Revierderby with Schalke.