Posted: 6/18/2006


  The Yanks are fighting back. Great performance in Kaiserslautern, and fantastic atmosphere. I have NEVER seen so many USA fans in a WC city before. Captain fantastic Claudia Reya may have huffed and puffed but he led with distinction. You may criticise the Uruguayan referee in this bizarre match with 3 red cards, 2 disallowed goals, and lots of fouls, but USA did compete. Wait until you see the other Mexican referee Archudia screw up a match as he did with USA vs a Central American country a few years ago.
Kaiserslautern's Fritz Walter Stadium is a 'gem' situated on a hill like a castle only 400 meters from the Kaiserslautern Hbf. US and Italian fans were chanting all night and made good friends with each other, but so many of the Italians smoke all the time you think they may not live long enough to survive the next Italain Presidency!!
One US fan had a T shirt that said Yankees suck(he was from Boston) but the locals thought he meant Yanks suck and thought it strange.
Meanwhile the Dutch fans in Stuttgart wearing Bavaria beer ( A Dutch company) shorts had to take them off and watch in their underwear, not to annoy Budweiser, the official sponsor. Its sad to see so many tickets given to sponsors, many of whose invitees couldnt care less. I talked to one American who had never seen a soccer game before, and another had brought 2  local ' working ladies' with him to the game on sponsors tickets.
  Kaiserslautern is like Lens and St Etienne at France 98, a 100,000 city with a passionate fan base. At the 'Miracle of Bern' the 1954 WC Final there were 5 Kaiserslautern players, Including Fritz and his brother, on the winning West Germany team that beat Hungary -2 after losing 8-3 to them in the opening round. I remember watching on black and white TV, the first WC to be televised.
Taking the ICE express I partied with some people who had a picnic including hard boiled eggs in the black, red and gold of the German flag.
   In the city there is a mile of stalls, music, beer tents, bands etc leading up the hill to the stadium. There must have been 100,000 outside the stadium and after the match the tiny train station almost exploded with friendly fans. A fantastic match and atmosphere.
I had picked up Ryan Swiontek from his LAX-FRA  Air India flight in time to catch the train.
If you think the Da Vinci Code is fiction, what about the DB deutsches Bahn train schedule. Lots of delays and never enough seats on the special after match trains. They need to learn from FRANCE RAIL.
We finally arrived back in Rosenheim at 8.00am with Neil and Dustin Cohen in tow, to a big Gasthof Hohensteiger breakfast
  The Gasthof had been humming with 50 Dusseldorf Hockey supporters who come twice a year and drink all day and night. Rosenheim used to be German hockey champs but they and the game itself has fallen on hard times. The fans drink on the 9 hour bus drive each way and go to a local lake to drink on  a boat and drink til .00am at the gasthof but NEVER cause any trouble.
New Covenant School arrived last evening after touring Heidelberg, Stuttgart, the Black Forest, Ulm etc . They lost 2 matches but this Sunday morning beat the locals SV Westerndorf 9-2 at Tissilo Stadium and are off the Chiemsee for the afternoon and then back for Bavarian Barbecue and WC TV in the beer garden on a giant screen.
  The Duke team has left, much to the disappointment of the local girls.
There are some regular night spots and some classier joints in Rosenheim. Those players from wealthy families(I think 21 of the 22 players, maybe) went to Oscars, Mojito Bar etc. These classy joints require women to shave their arm pits, limit face metal decorations and they are supposed to wear underwear!!
Look at
for more info.