Fellow Yellows – Aachener Turn-und Sportverein Alemannia 1900 e.V.

Regionalliga West
Alemannia Aachen v Borussia Mönchengladbach II  
Saturday, 8th March 2014, 2pm
Neuer Tivoli
Entrance €11, Programme free (donation possible)
Distance 352 miles, Attendance 6800
The notion of taking in two matches, in two different countries, in just one day… well it’s really more than enough incentive to lure me across any continent, let alone nearby Western Europe.
Copy of 140308 Alemannia Aachen (54)wThere are a band of locals for whom doing just this – supporting both Aachen and Kerkrade – is a very natural accord. For me, with only one such possible day all season, it had to be planned carefully. Arriving on the earliest flight to Düsseldorf, I hurriedly checked into my hotel then, collected both hire car and friend Christian before, heading South West towards the Dutch border.
With evidence of Neolithic settlements, Aachen became an important outpost of the Roman Empire, the coronation site for 500 years’ worth of German Kings and, is now home to one of the country’s top Universities.
Introduced to football by English merchants in the late nineteenth century, FC Alemannia was formed somewhat fittingly by high school students in 1900. With its proximity to the border, their first match was a 6-0 victory against Belgian side, FC Dolhain.
Copy of 140308 Alemannia Aachen (37)w
Predominantly a second division side, Aachen have spent brief spells in the Bundesliga, finishing runners-up once in the league and, three times in the DFB Pokal.  Following qualification for the 2004 UEFA Cup, due to ground issues, they were forced to play “home” ties in Cologne but, made changes soon after. Whilst gaining a truly fantastic stadium, ongoing financial implications have relegated them to regional level 4.
Copy of 140308 Alemannia Aachen (110)Standing amongst the schwarz gelb on the Bitburger Wall, with the sun on our backs, it was easy to feel at home. As Quo died down, optimistic fans sung to the beat of their drums, whilst intermittent glimpses between the waving flags revealed my first female referee leading out the teams; one of which was not quite dressed as I’d expected.
Moments later, complaints about the teams changing ends, had drowned out my own doubts of black shirts and yellow shorts. Aachen kicked off and immediately applied pressure down the right through Marvin Ajani, Nikko Opper, and Dennis Dowidat. Corners were soon cleared at both ends as we settled down, to what seemed a very entertaining encounter.
Copy of 140308 Alemannia Aachen (147)wNinety minutes later, as twenty-or-so Borussen celebrated, the home support was left scratching heads. Though their heroes applauded them afterwards, it had only taken two goals to totally crush the atmosphere. A Rodriguez opener – against the run of play – had knocked the fire out of the team; the second, brilliant and well rehearsed effort, deflated the supporters.
Copy of 140308 Alemannia Aachen (35)wDer Kartoffelkäfer had had chances but, an early incorrect booking for Ajani plus, conceding far too many free kicks to embarrassing play acting, had spoilt both their match and mine. About us supporters chanted about the ref, when the nearest linesman would have been a more appropriate target of their ire and, no matter what Ajani, Dowidat, Domagoj Duspara, and Sascha Marquet attempted, rarely was Blaswich forced to break into a sweat.
Having run the first half, Aachen just looked off the pace thereafter. Whilst Dowidat had a header cleared off the line, the impressive Peter Hackenberg marshalled their defence but, they could do little to prevent the killer goal; a deep corner, volleyed goal-wards and, headed into the net by the onrushing Barg.
The relatively few chances (for either side) had done little to appease the resigned frustration about us. It just hadn’t been Aachen’s day and with the final whistle, the schwarz gelb faithful mourned together before drifting away.
Earlier Christian’s friend, Sascha, had given us a brief tour of the altstadt; home of the finest weihnachtsmarkt. We’d visited the unassuming Cathedral with stunning mosque-like interior, tried Aachener Printen and, I failed to quite grasp the Öcher Platt.
Copy of 140308 Alemannia Aachen (121)The match aside, our brief stay had given a peek of what other Watford fans had assured me would be a great place to visit. It had been effortless to enjoy the architecturally impressive stadium, with its wonderful colours and customary soundtrack. The beer and bockwurst had mad a perfect lunch and, as half’n’half scarves go; the Aachen-Kerkrade is probably the only one I have any kind of empathy for.
With so much to appreciate in this city, there is now even more reason to return.
shorts league
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Initially appearing in the 2013-14 Watford FC matchday programmes, consequently these reports will have a delayed publication on here.

140308 Alemannia Aachen programme

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