The last time I went to watch St Pauli in Paderborn it was about minus 20 degrees celsius. The groundstaff used leafblowers to clear snow off the lines of the pitch (the rest of the pitch was white) and the game still went ahead. Ever since, just a mention of the word Paderborn and I begin to shiver with cold. Fortunately on Friday, the weather was slightly milder and so I only had to wear the one coat.
The place is only up the road so we assembled in Dortmund trainstation mid-afternoon. A few familiar faces from the Hirsch-Q and the Ruhrpott Piraten made up our group. Beer was bought and before long we boarded the very full train.
Today was a sell-out in the ground but normally attendances are lower at Paderborn. No wonder when the ground lies so far removed from the town! Once again, we were caught out by the bizarre separation of fans who arrive by bus and fans who arrive by car, once again we were disappointed by the lack of beer with alcohol in it. We climbed the only set of stairs open (ground safety?) onto the terrace and waited for the match to start.
This week, the German FA, in their continuing wisdom, had decided to fine St Pauli as us fans had chanted “Naki” (as in Deniz Naki, occasional football genius and famous dancer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfFHnvWqcac ;-)) over the surnames of all the Rostock players as they were read out over the tannoy at the game versus Rostock. We can only assume, the FA thought we were shouting “Nazi”, hence the fine. As a result, there were several banners held up with jokes related to this, including one with “Deniz Nazi – Einer von uns” (One of us), which caused much schoolboy sniggering in our group. Naturally everyone then also shouted “Naki” as the names of the Paderborn team were read out.
At the other end of the ground, the Paderborn fans produced a choreo. Half the stand with red flags, the other with yellow (I assume the town colours) and then some banners with various famous buildings from the town illustrated on them. Most of my friends were quite dismissive of it as the flags looked like they’d been bought rather than made, but I thought it was quite nicely done. My only complaint would be that all this celebration of buildings etc sometimes comes across as a bit parochial, particularly when soundtracked by a song where the singer seems to be expressing a desire to sleep with the town because they find it so lovely. Still it was all better than the flags hanging up, such as Padersturm, Paderfront and one that simply said “Go for the goal”, which may have been inspired by this. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IXsFip7sT8A)
Anyway the game started and both teams settled down to a very “agricultural” game of football. Poor passing, solid defending from Paderborn and the only excitement coming from our occasionally hapless defence. My favourite player Kalla, despite my best efforts to defend him, was having yet another stinker of a game and it looked like we would be leaving without a point as per usual. We created one beautiful move in the whole of the first half which was saved well but apart from that, there was nothing to go on. Then in the last seconds of the first half, Paderborn looped the ball over our defence and the on rushing striker pinged the ball into the back of the net. Wonderfully executed goal but I wasn’t exactly willing to accept that at the time.
The second half followed in a similar vein. Paderborn once again incredibly well organised and with more fight, thus counteracting our arguably more skillful team. With about twenty minutes to go, we started to win the 50:50 balls a little more often and despite one chance for Paderborn, where the ball rolled right across our open goal, it was only our awful attempts at crosses that stopped us getting an equaliser. Deep into injury time, we then got a freekick almost on the deadball line. Tschauner, the keeper, came up. The ball was crossed in and in the melee Boll nodded the ball home. 1-1! Wild celebrations in our end, everyone hugging anyone in sight. The coach, Andre Schubert, sprinting halfway across the pitch, punching the air. A point had been saved!
After the match, we had a few beers in the carpark with friends from the Rheinland and then headed on up to Osnabrück. Beforehand we would need some petrol though and so we stopped at a Shell garage. Whilst filling up and organising some more beer, the owners saw our scarves and proudly informed us that our current coach (previously at Paderborn) used to use their petrol station as his local one. Well there we have it! We’d seen the most important site in Paderborn. And it hadn’t even featured on their choreo!