BVB fan clubs on the bus to London: Veltins of all places?

BVB fan clubs on the bus to London: Veltins of all places?

Our author traveled to London with BVB fan clubs on the bus. He found optimism, anticipation – and a brand of beer that is actually completely taboo.

By Felix Meininghaus

Shortly after nine, the classic song is sung for the first time at the mighty Dortmund stadium, in front of which the black and yellow travelling party has lined up for a group photo: “First round of sick leave/ then grandma dies/ we’ll do overtime if we have to/ then we get fired/ who cares/ Borussia Dortmund international/ European Cup, European Cup…” It is the eternal anthem of the many thousands of fans who accompany BVB wherever they play on the continent. This bus left Paderborn at seven in the morning, picked up other passengers in the area and set off for London, where the biggest game that club football has to offer worldwide will take place.

The fan clubs Altenautal, Thüler Borussen, Heder Borussen and Schlossgeister, all based in East Westphalia, have come together to organize the tour. The price is strikingly reasonable and surprisingly affordable: Riders have to shell out 239.09 euros, which includes the trip, the ferry, an overnight stay in a hotel, provisions and lots of beer.

After BVB won the semi-final against Paris Saint Germain and it was clear that they would be at the final in Wembley, the run on tickets began. The prices for flights and train journeys exploded, so the good old bus tour is a nice alternative.

Real Madrid against BVB: Every series comes to an end

As the bus rolls towards Holland, the mood is relaxed. It’s all about the prospects, after all, Real Madrid, the biggest heavyweight that European football has to offer, is waiting. Real Madrid, the best? The passengers in black and yellow see things fundamentally differently. Football fans are allowed to be: when it comes to their passion and above all the club they have lost their hearts to, they are hopelessly romantic, mercilessly optimistic and completely out of touch with reality. That is their privilege, that is part of their passion. Statistics and other figures? Totally overrated. Trends, series or the aura of invincibility? So what!

That Real Madrid is the benchmark, the super team, the record winner, the measure of all things in the Champions League? No problem. In this still young millennium alone, the Royals have reached the final of the premier class seven times. And have won all seven summit meetings.

Such mundane fact-mongering falls on deaf ears here on the bus. Every series, the general consensus goes, has to come to an end. In this case, on Saturday between 11 p.m. and midnight at Wembley Stadium. The fact that Borussia Dortmund is considered a clear underdog by the bookmakers and Real Madrid is the strong favorite doesn’t bother anyone here. If you were to start a survey here, the probability of BVB winning would be exactly one hundred percent. Fans are allowed to do that too. “The story,” says Marc, “doesn’t start here on the fan bus. It’s been going on for many years.” Every passenger has their own adventures, their own experiences, which they report on.

The fact that their Borussia will face Real Madrid at Wembley and not Bayern Munich is “extremely important” to the Dortmund fans. Everyone here shares Michael’s opinion. The sting of the defeat against the deeply despised club from the south in the final on May 25, 2013 – also at London’s Wembley Stadium – is still deep. “If you lose against them,” says Michael, “it’s a catastrophe. If you lose against Real, that’s normal.”

The question is whether every passenger has their passport on their person. It’s a bit of a problem with Great Britain, since the already special island with its special inhabitants has made entry regulations more difficult as a result of Brexit and people from the mainland are only allowed to enter with a valid passport. In a Europe where travel is largely restricted, very few people use this document and got into trouble when they started looking for it while planning their trip to Wembley and discovered that the red booklet had expired.

So the football city of Dortmund showed itself to be flexible and set up a special service from the public services that enabled hundreds of fans to arrange the trip to London despite the short time available. Employees at the offices of the metropolis appeared in black and yellow outfits, which led to unusual encounters, as Norbert Dahmen, head of the law and order department of the city of Dortmund, stated: “BVB fans sat opposite each other on both sides of the counter.”

Black and yellow stream or: Pee break before the ferry

The administration used the opportunity to show its proximity to the citizens and to collect karma points with the city’s residents. There are no problems with the documents on the coach. Instead, Matthias, president of the Altenautal fan club, warned: “Boys, be careful with the beer you drink, there are sporadic alcohol checks on the ferries.” A question from the back left: “How much do you need?”

On the bus there is Veltins

Incidentally, the offer includes – you won’t believe it – bottled pilsner from the Veltins brewery. Of all things, the sponsor of the unloved local rival from Gelsenkirchen. How can that be? A coincidence. Before the round of 16 match against Eindhoven, someone who doesn’t want to be named bought crates of Veltins. Why remains a mystery. Borussia advanced, and the enemy’s pilsner became a lucky charm. “Never change a running system,” explains Michael with a broad grin.

“London Calling” by the Clash is playing loudly, the mood in the bus is great. Hits from the 70s also work wonderfully. The fact that the bus driver initially drives the vehicle to the tunnel and not to the ferry dock and that chaos rages on the ferry does not spoil the good mood for long. The debates about the controversial sponsorship partnership that Borussia Dortmund has entered into with the arms company Rheinmetall do. He doesn’t know “anyone from our scene who thinks this deal is cool,” says Marc. He is not only bothered by the commitment itself, but also by the timing of the announcement a few days before a final “in which we are all using all our energy to win the trophy.” Taking the focus away from the essentials at this stage is counterproductive. The term “sideshow” has rarely been more apt.

Michael, Frank, Torsten and Marc: Ready to depart

The bus group gathers on the ferry and fortifies itself with fish and ships and more beers. The anticipation of the big event, of the game of games, holds them all spellbound. There is the feature film in which eleven brave Borussia players defend themselves tooth and nail against the overpowering Madrid team and substitute Marco Reus scores a counterattack shortly before the end. Or the variant: In this plot, BVB falls behind 0:1 before substitute Reus scores the equalizer with a free kick and Mats Hummels scores a corner kick with his head in injury time. The fans on the bus tell each other all this and the listeners nod reverently. Sounds like a fairy tale, too good to be true? Yes, of course. But as I said: football fans are allowed to do that.

Source: Stern

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