Rosenheim, Bavaria and snow is falling, a big contrast to my previous week in sunny Portugal, but futebol or fussball carries on, and Samstag is the big day from the Bundesliga down through the regional and state leagues nationwide.
I am at the stadion on Jahnstrasse, home of TSV 1860 Rosenheim in the LandesLiga Bayern-Sud, about 6th Division. Not many fans, no more than 100, as the local team takes on visitors FC Kempten and try and maintain or increase their league at the top. Currect FC Bayern player Bastian Schweinsteiger is a former player, and the 60,000 city and important transportation hub, half way, about 60km, between Munchen and Salzburg, is the birthplace to such varied personalites as Hermann Goering and Paul Breitner. Finances are tight with the biggest sponsor being Katrein, the local electricity provider. The club has 11 different sports, from basketball to triathlan, and being so near to the mountains, winter sports.
Well, I am standing with Rodney Brown, a young 21 year old New Zealander from Wellington, with flaming red hair, who is an experienced traveller. He has played for the Kiwi's All Whites youth team and at 17 years old spent a year playing and studying in Santiago, Chile for Universidad de Chile, and is getting over an injury before he makes the line-up. Also on my other side is the club's U19 coach Heiko Drube who a few years ago coached in Peoria, Illinois.
The match finished 2-0 and TSV are on 44 points with a 35-12 goal difference, and 5 points ahead of SV Pullach, and look destined for the championship, while FC Kempten verge on relegation. Upstairs we climb to the club restaurant for the post match presentations by President Hans Klinger and co trainer Manfred Burghartwieser . I enjoy a local Flötzinger Brau dunkle bier and watch highlights on the big screen TV of Bundesliga action in a cosy and warm atmosphere with players, fans and coaches, and we switch from match to match. I chat with trainer Christoph Schiller and his 8 year old son Jacob, who supports 1860 Munchen and Manchester City, both of whom play in sky blue-Bavarian blue.
Grinzi Klinsi, Juergen Klinsmann, despite a post Christmas slump coaching FC Bayern seems destined to keep his job with a 5-1 drubbing of Hannover at Allianz Arena, after a stunning midweek 2-4 loss in the German Cup quarter final. I saw them demolish Sporting Lisbon a week or so ago in Portugal and will be at the return Champions League contest on Tuesday.
The most impressive individual performance of the day is from Ukrainian striker Andriy Voronin, ex Liverpool FC, who scores a hat-trick for BSC Hertha Berlin at Energie Cottbus in a 3-1 come from behind victory, to put the Berliners 4 points on top of the Bundesliga, and former FC Bayern player and now BSC General Manager Dieter Höeness is on TV to show his pleasure. Wolfsburg win 5 in a row, beating Karlsruhe 1-0. Hamburg lost and early season front runners Hoffenheim can only tie 0-0. The fight for the title and Champions League spots is hot.