The Stade Napoléon is located on the edge of Wedding. The sports facility at the end of the Alleé du Stade was restored in 2019 and is now considered one of the most modern football facilities in Europe. The duel between the Berlin Adler and the Berlin Rebels in the German Football League North (GFL), “the mother of all derbies”, as the Adler social media account put it, was played here for the first time on Saturday.
It was the second derby this season, and the away team won twice. After a 43:35 victory in the first meeting, the Adler had to admit defeat on Saturday with 44:49.
If the match had been predicted about ten years ago, the predictions would have been in favor of the Eagles by a clear majority. But a lot has happened in the last ten years. The Eagles were struggling with financial problems, and the sporting downturn could no longer be stopped.
The six-time German champion and two-time Eurobowl winner had been passed down to the regional league after two consecutive relegations. After a year in the third division in 2017 things went up again, this year they returned to the top German division. “We also attended the games in the regional league. The club went through a difficult time, but came back stronger,” said an Adler fan before the start of the game.
During this time, it was the city rivals from Charlottenburg that increasingly established themselves in the GFL Nord and replaced the Adler as the best football club in Berlin. The Rebels finished the 2018 season in third place in their conference – the best result in the club’s history so far.
Things aren’t going so well this season. The first win of the season came on matchday six, followed by the win against local rivals, who are in fourth place and one place ahead of the Rebels.
A wide range of age groups were drawn to this derby on Saturday afternoon. “The Stade Napoléon is also very nice, but we like it better in the Poststadion, with 10,000 people a lot more fits in there,” said a Berlin Adler fan who attends almost every home game with his wife and two children.
There was a lot of action on the field between the two teams, and the spectators got their money’s worth with a total of almost 100 points. While the atmosphere on the pitch and especially in the coaching zone was charged, supporters of the Rebels and the Eagles together created a derby atmosphere in the main stand. Not much of a rivalry.
There were also people with jerseys from the big stars of American football like Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers. The spectacle was commented on by the Adler club legend and long-standing board member, Roman Motzkus, and Carsten Spengemann. Both have been TV experts and moderators for the NFL broadcasts by Sat.1 and ProSieben Maxx for years.
Due to the manageable size of the stadium, you can be up close and hear announcements from Adler head coach Shuan Fatah, who was not satisfied with his defense. “It was a great game for the fans, both teams played superbly in attack. Both defenses have conceded over 40 points. If you allow them, there are a number of things that need to be corrected,” Fatah summed up.
After being 0:14 behind, his team had turned the game around and was leading 44:41 until eight seconds before the end. The Rebels won with a touchdown pass from Rebels quarterback Donovan Isom to wide receiver Nigel Westbrooks and a subsequent two-point conversion.