SV Wehen Wiesbaden 3 Erzgebirge Aue 0 (15/02/2008)
The prospect of 3 games in 3 days enticed me over to Germany again, back to Frankfurt where I spent a week during the 2006 world cup, and a few days for the Confed. Cup a year earlier. I still didn’t get to see Eintracht play, but I did get to see two teams in towns just either side of the city.
The first was SV Wehen Wiesbaden, who’d moved from a village on the edge of Wiesbaden to a brand new stadium in the centre of the city.
The stadium itself did suffer a tad from a distinct flat-pack look, looking incredibly boxy, but the provision, as always in Germany, of terraces made it decent enough. The locals seemed to approve, as crowds jumped a remarkable 850%, going from just above 1000 at the village ground (itself a 60% rise on the previous year) to nearly 9000 in the new home.
I very nearly didn’t get to see what all the fuss was about. The game was meant to start at 6pm for live tv coverage, and as the kick-off approached I became aware that the was a clear lack of pre-match activity. The fans were there, singing away, scanning “SV Wehen Wiesbaden” with “And sweet Marie who waits for me” from show me the way to Amarillo. There were jsut no teams. I rechecked the programme for the kick-off time. Re-checked my watch. Then I noticed it was a tad dark. Outside, well, you’d expect that a 6pm in February. Inside, perhaps not. Not if all the floodlights were working.
By 6.30 they’d found enough 50c pieces to feed into the meter and get all the lights on, and the game kicked off, at last. With their MK Dons-lite approach to gaining a club for their town, and a bandwagon for thousands of fans to readily jump on, it would be easy to climb a high-horse and dislike the club. From my view in the stand though, everything was rosy, and they throughly outplayed Erzgebirge Aue – who probably win the award for being the German team I’d be least confident trying to pronounce – and strolled to a 3-0 win that could have been more.
Since those heady early days of optimism things haven’t gone so well, and they’ve dropped down to Bundesliga 3, which prompted around 4500 fans to fall off that bandwagon, but they still have a better future than in their village days. Whether they should still be in that village is a different matter.