SV Babelsberg 03 0 v 2 AfB Auerbach:
At 5am the alarm rang, and I, still half asleep, packed and headed for the trainstation. A quiet journey, was spent reading the paper and the first section of a large pile of fanzines that I had accumulated over the previous weeks. In the cavernous Berlin HBF, I grabbed some breakfast and was then joined by the others (a mix of FC fans and mates), before we hopped on the train to Babelsberg. The streets and cafes were somewhat quieter than the weekend when FCUM had visited, but the town looked as lovely as ever in the sun. On the way to Babelsbergs “Fanladen” we bumped into S. and before long B. too. After a quick catchup, we bought some of the 1 euro “Sterni” beer and hung around outside with the rest of the fans, ultras and skinheads.
Babelsberg are having a fairly mediocre season, and Auerbach could definitely be classed as less than attractive opposition (they brought exactly 6 fans with them). As such, there were no worries about tickets and a slightly later arrival on the terrace was acceptable, rather than the usual minimum 1 hour I’ve become accustomed to in the Bundesliga 2. I have to say, I prefer it! Obviously sometimes it can be exciting to be in the ground so early, but I hate the rush, the inflexibility of it all, and not being able to spend so much time chatting with friends who stand elsewhere.
Once inside the ground, we bought cider, as well as stickers and sunglasses (2 euros!) from the Filmstadt Inferno & Sektion Nord Ultragroups, hung up our flag (out of respect, asking beforehand) and took up a position slightly to the left of the main ultra block.
The game started with a choreo involving a large (and very heavy) surfer flag, followed by confetti. That was probably the highlight of a game which lacked creativity. Null Drei looked short on ideas, having lost one of their best players, Süleyman Koc, in the winterbreak. Auerbach won 2-0.
We entertained ourselves with large amounts of alcohol and joining in with the songs, prompted by the singer with the megaphone, who was standing on some old wooden pallets rather than a podium – very cool!
After the match, a further game (I think the reserves) took place on the astroturf directly behind the ground. This meant that most fans simply turned around and carried on supporting!
In general it was a great feeling to be back at the Karli ground. The FC & 03 against Fascism graffiti is still there, the old school open terrace was a delight and in general the whole club and Kiez nearby gives off an air of still being a football club for the community, rather than a polished bit of entertainment.
We finished the afternoon off outside the Fanladen once more, to the point that we were in no fit state to really make the journey onwards to Dresden. Nevertheless we persevered. The long trip mixed sleep, laid out across several seats, with more beer, and O’Shea and Tony Cascarino impressions. By the time we needed to change trains in Elsterwerda, we had got a second wind and a funny train trip complete with singing, saw us the rest of the way to Dresden.
More photos here