Noticed there was a game before we left home and it proved too tempting for me. Lokomotive Leipzig were regular competitors in European games pre 1989 and the name was familiar to me, so currently in the Sachsenliga and making their way back to the big time?
Enjoyed the game against Dynamo Dresden II (another name from the past?) with a 2-1 home win in the impressive Zentralstadion, built for the 2006 world cup.
Leipzig was a host city during World Cup 2006 and has one of the most beautiful stadium of Germany. Leipzig's Zentralstadion is rather small compared to the others, but the architecture and the location is great. The stadium is now used by FC Sachsen Leipzig, playing in the Oberliga.
Despite not having a football team worthy of a few thousand supporters, Leipzig has a fantastic modern stadium with a capacity of 44,000 seats. The stadium is a graceful construction, built inside the famous old Lokomotiv Leipzig ground.
Literally. The old stadium, which had a massive 100,000 capacity, was basically a hole dug in the ground. The new stadium sits within this cauldron, with bridges carrying you across the old and decaying seats to the shiny new stadium within it.
The reason for such an impressive new stadium, when the only team to play in it languishes in the depths of Germany's regional divisions, is that Leipzig was chosen, possibly diplomatically, to be one of the cities to host World Cup games.
I say diplomatically, because since re-unification it has been an uncomfortable sign of the East German states' inability to compete with the west that their football teams have largely disappeared into the abyss of regional football, including the likes of European CWC winners FC Magdeburg, and runners-up Carl-Zeis-Jena.
The only other East German city picked for the World Cup was Berlin, and their main team Hertha Berlin is the only team from the eastern states to compete in the Bundesliga. Of course, Hertha Berlin are not a former East German team. They are from West Berlin.
I was there to watch the Angola vs Iran game in the World Cup, a minor game but a major effort to get tickets for. The stadium provided a fantastic atmosphere. Because it is small, and has been designed to focus the noise of the crowd back into the stadium, the atmosphere was electric even when the crowd were relatively quiet.
The stadium was one of the biggest in the world (100,000 seats) when it was opened in the 1950s. In order to make it suitable for the World Soccer Championship in 2006 the stadium was undergoing a renovation. On March 7, 2004 was the great re-opening and I attened it. I am not a big fan of soccer and I usually do neither go to games nor watch them on TV. But on this special day I made an exception. It was the first game in the new stadium. "Chemie Leipzig" vs. "Borussia Dormund - Amateure". In the end Dortmund won the game 1:0.
The organizer didn't expect so many spectators (28,595) and so they were not very well prepared. It took over one hour to get a ticket - some fans were very angry and threw bottles and protested. The tracks to the stadium were extremely muddy. Even the grass in the stadium was muddy so that every now and then a player slipped. But okay, it was a premiere.
All in all it was a great afternoon. And the event also set a new record - never before so many fans attended a game of the third league. If you plan to visit the World Soccer Championship in 2006 you might watch one game in this stadium.
1 front side of the stadium
2 scene of the game
3 fan block
4 show of the "Leipzig Cheers"
Meanwhile all the problems with the tickets and the muddy ways were solved and the stadium is prepared for the World Soccer Championship 2006.
Leipzig won the nomination for the games 2012 of all German cities. My favorite was Frankfurt. But now I also hope that Leipzig will make it as Olympia city for 2012. I believe it won't be easy. So gross the fingers and lets wait and see ...