A friend got me tickets for the Hertha block. The most important game for the club in many, many years. If the outrageously expensive squad has to go to the second division, things will look bitter for the Berliners. As we now know, the worst possible accident for Hertha will not happen.
Before the game, the atmosphere is still relaxed. HSV fans are already discussing things with Hertha supporters on the S-Bahn in the direction of the Stellingen destination. “You can look forward to Sandhausen,” says a man from Hamburg. The Berliner replies: “The second division isn’t that bad. You win again.” Everyone laughs. Then comes Stellingen. A sea of broken beer glasses floods the square around the S-Bahn station, the police are numerous.
At least now it is clearly noticeable that something is at stake today. And that it may not be entirely non-violent. On the way to the entrance, I see three Hamburg fans in front of me, all around 20. One of them is walking extremely wide-legged and looking grim. The young man, he radiates it with every fiber of his body, doesn’t just want to watch football here and now. He wants to cause trouble. He even accuses HSV fans who cross his path. “I’m so charged,” he roars into space.
The southwest entrance, which is intended for Hertha fans, offers visitors their last chance to have a sip of alcohol. It’s forbidden in the stadium. Some don’t stop at just one sip. A young man in front of me empties three quarters of a bottle of peppermint liqueur – Pfeffi – in a few minutes. In general: I look into many alcohol-drenched faces. It almost seems as if the ban on alcohol in the stadium would only really promote consumption.
I’m in the block, the game is about to start. Basically, it’s a sacrilege that I’m standing here. Hertha is not important to me, I don’t care about the club. I just want to take the mood with me, but I don’t want to do anything about it. I’m standing there in my brown jacket and nothing blue and white adorns me. I’m the non-fan and therefore an outsider. The first chants are intoned. Everyone hugs, then they jump together in a block. My chain breaks. The first Hertha fans turn to me and yell loudly for me to join in. Now I’m really not in the mood for it, even if I can even understand the displeasure.
Now the teams are introduced. The stadium announcer begins with the HSV goalkeeper. “With the number one, Daniel…” The Hertha block yells together with raised middle fingers: “Son of a bitch!” And so it goes with every other HSV player. Next to me sits another outsider. An older gentleman, Hamburger and HSV fan, looks at me sadly. He only got this card and is dying to watch the game, albeit in the wrong block. “I’ll be very calm today,” he says.
He has to suffer for the first time after four minutes. Hertha takes the lead. The volume in the block is enormous. I get a few beer spatters. A little later I put on my headphones because the noise doesn’t die down. You have to give that to the Berlin fans: They whip their team up fantastically for the entire duration of the game. The aggression in the block is limited. At half-time there is a discussion between a couple of Hertha fans and a steward. Behind me, a young, heavily intoxicated man is already waving in the direction of the others. He hopes that many more will get together and that there will be friction in the block not only with the security guards, but then with the approaching police. But nothing happens.
The euphoria prevails, which culminates in the second half with the goal to make it 2-0. The fans in front of me turn around and give me high fives. The man sitting next to me, the HSV fan, also joins in, gnashing his teeth. Five minutes before the end of the game I wish him all the best and get off the block. I’ve seen enough. And as a non-fan, I’m an even bigger outsider in the Hertha euphoria than I have been throughout the game.