Back to back European nights. A TimmyB (my alias on the mean streets of Copenhagen Old Town) first. Also back to back being an away supporter at a European game at the Brøndby Stadium. Another first. So many firsts. I am a winner today. So are you.
Enough. Hertha Berlin are the boys in town and there is a general suspicion that the Danes will not put up much resistance to their more illustrious neighbours from the South.
Dramatic sky season in Denmark.
I have a long and distant relationship with Hertha having visited the absolutely fantastic Olympic Stadium on Berlin on a couple of occasions so I am going to feel in no way uncomfortable being surrounded by boozed up Germans on a school night. The away end has sold out. In fact, it sold out in a couple of hours after tickets were released. Fortunately, with more furious use of the F5 button I bagged us a couple of tickets although I do feel somewhat guilty that I am depriving a loyal Hertha fan from their first European away trip in many years. Not that guilty though. They should have been quicker.
Sure I have some memories of this stuff.
The first leg in Berlin was won by Hertha 1-0 thanks to a fairly acrobatic overhead kick. The Germans are managed by Hungarian, Pal Dardai, who briefly led the Hungarian national team in their successful qualifying campaign to Euro 2016. The first game was illuminated by a frankly spectacular pyro display by the visiting Danes. I suspect that we could be in for a response from the Berliners (meaning person from Berlin and not doughnut). I have never smuggled pyrotechnics into a football stadium. Us Brits have a somewhat fraught relationship with pyrotechnics both in and outside the football stadium. The idea that a fan could be prisoned for 12 months for setting off a flare in a football stadium (as just happened in England) would be met with befuddlement on the continent. I think we have all been scarred for life by those horrific public service broadcasts from the 80s that came out each Autumn. The rest of Europe sees nothing wrong with throwing lit fireworks at each other for a laugh. We handle sparklers with more caution than a rod of plutonium. Actually, a whole football stand of sparklers would be pretty cool.
The trek out to Brøndby was again a long one. But this time, we wisely took beer and ate on the way. Copenhagen has a reputation of being a city dripping with cool design. Anyone who believes that should jump on an S-Tog five stops in any direction from the centre of town. Welcome to a land designed by the housing boom of the 60s! Not necessarily a bad thing except that I do not see such glowing references to the acrhictecture of Birmingham in the left-wing press. Then Gy needed a wee and the walk goes through a residential area with limited tree coverage. Why is life so hard? We also went a bit earlier this time so that we got smuggle ourselves into the Brøndby fans clubhouse located a few hundred yards from the stadium. The place is called Hutten (the Hut) and actually required the annual output of the local yellow paint factory to decorate. It is very yellow! To be honest, it was not all that exciting and simply represented the closest bar to te stadium for us.
Coldplay visited here shortly before debut album.
Much like the Scots a fortnight before, the Germans had clearly enjoyed the pre-game although seemingly had heard about the cost of booze in Denmark and brought their own. There were a few more Germans than Scots, but there was still space in the away and we only occupied a couple of section of the lower tier of the stand. The Hertha fans seemed to be far more organized bringing some nice homemade flags and as we found out later, a wealth of fireworks.
Attempting to look German.
I had whispered to Gy on the way to the ground that an early Brøndby goal would make the game more interesting. Lo and behold, Hertha agreed as they refused to make any attempt at defending the first Brøndby attack of the game to allow Teemu Pukki (another Scottish football connection) bundled the ball in from close range. Hertha roused only slightly from their slumber to equalize after half an hour with Ibisevic heading home unmarked. But then they went back to sleep. For the rest of the game. Pukki regained the league for Brøndby four minutes later following further shoddy defending. That shoddy defending became calamitous in the second half as Hertha contrived to gift Pukki his hattrick and Brøndby what would turn out to be an unassailable lead. Brøndby’s Sydsiden (South Side) took great pleasure in singing “Hertha, Scheisse”. To be honest, I am not sure how insulting that was. It was just the truth. A really disappointing display by the Bundesliga side in a tie they had probably thought they had sewn up both after the first leg and after the equalizer on the night.
Look at my weird fist salute thing.
Hertha’s fans were a little shellshocked to have their European adventure ended so abruptly. The Vilfort Stadion was absolutely jumping and was audible some distance away as we scurried into the night. Good job, Brøndby: two diametrically opposite performances in a fortnight. Sorry Hertha. My curse has struck again. If not, the Dardai will be free to recommence employment with the Hungarians in the late Autumn. Excellent pyro though. Would not have wanted to bring a cat to the match.
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