THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

13 September ~ The derby between FC Schalke 04 and Borussia Dortmund is probably the biggest in Germany. It is the German “Old Firm” and has had its fair share of highlights over the past decades. Jens Lehmann once scored in the dying seconds to equalise for Schalke, Borussia ruined Schalke's title hopes in 2007 with a 2-0 win – one of only three wins for the Black and Yellows in the last 26 matches. On the terraces a banner reading Ein Leben Lang Keine Schale In Der Hand (A lifetime without a championship) greeted the 49th anniversary of Schalke’s last title.

It will be different when the game kicks off in Gelsenkirchen at 5.30pm next Sunday. More than 300 different Dortmund fan groups are backing a boycott appeal for this match. Over 1,500 tickets have been returned (of 6,000 available). As this is high-security match, tickets for the terraces cannot be sold on matchday, so for the first time in many years the derby will not be sold out.

The boycott is directed against yet another price hike by Bundesliga clubs. With a top match surcharge, travelling Borussia fans would need to pay €22 for a terrace ticket and an average of €55 for a seat. When the two teams met for the last time earlier this year, the very same ticket would cost €14.30. We believe that this is an attempt to have higher ticket prices set in stone and have decided to fight it.

Nearly every Bundesliga fan has been asked to pay more in recent years. Supporters fear that a Premier League trend has taken over German football in the last decade or so – forcing moderate income groups and younger fans out of the stadiums, and looking for new customers who will accept higher prices in exchange for seeing the latest stars from all over the world.

The Bundesliga's chief selling point, however, is its unique atmosphere, alongside lower ticket prices than in all the other major European leagues. Stadiums are sold out – the average attendance last season was 42,490. Fans travel over from Benelux, the UK and Scandinavia to see Bundesliga matches and enjoy a beer and a bratwurst while standing on the terraces.

This is slowly changing. The campaign Kein Zwanni für nen Steher (20 euros for standing – no way!) is challenging the price hike and wants to see the Bundesliga continue to be affordable for all social classes for years to come. Over the weekend other supporter groups from different clubs joined the campaign, showing their feelings with banners. It will be a long and hard road to success. We believe it is worth taking. Stephan Uersfeld www.schwatzgelb.com

Comments (4)
Comment by MachoMorten 2010-09-13 16:24:08

Very interesting article.

I support the boycott 100%. The Bundesliga is awesome, providing class football and some of the leading fan culture in Europe for reasonable prices. I can't believe they want to change that, but I guess money talk as always.

I'm one of those coming from Scandinavia to enjoy a wurst and bier in German stands. In February I got to see three games for the price of one Premiership match. That's the kind of image the executives should be proud of, not tear down!

Comment by ursus arctos 2010-09-13 18:06:43

Bestes glueck, Stefan.

The Bundesliga still has the best price/quality ratio in Europe, and it is great to know that fans are willing to take significant action to try to keep it that way. If only more fans across Europe were as willing to "vote with their feet".

Comment by Moonlight shadow 2010-09-13 21:32:14

Hopefully, they have less members of that idiotic "Boycotting will hurt the team, I don't mind having a rectal probe inserted if this is what it takes to support the lads" mindset so popular with some over here...

Comment by ragrunner 2010-09-14 00:56:30

I wish you luck in your battle! Was astounded when in Berlin a few years ago that I could get a ticket, beer, programme (even though I couldn't read it very well was nice to have) and a bratwurst in a stunning stadium watching top level football all for more or less the same price as a ticket to my tteam, who play in the English Championship.

The atmosphere and game was also fantastic, so it would be a tragedy if the fans were to be priced out like many are in England.

Related articles

Mesut Özil: Gunning for greatness – my life
by Mesut Özil 
with Kai PsottaHodder & Stoughton £15.99Reviewed by David StubbsFrom WSC 365, July 2017Buy the book The jury is...
Braunschweig look to upset odds and local rivals Wolfsburg in play-off
Embed from Getty Images The tie pitches two former Bundesliga champions against each other for a place in the top flight, with public support...
Badge of the week ~ 4.25 Sports Club, North Korea
The main task of North Korea's junior minister for re-information is to refute everything ever said by French intellectuals. One year he did a special...