Going to watch 1860 München play Bochum I had no idea what to expect. I had been told by my German host family about the passion of the fans.
“This is the REAL München team, and although they are not a good team, their fans are real fans from München.”
When telling locals that I had organised tickets to both 1860 and Bayern München games they were horrified.
Insisting that I had to choose one, I promised to make my choice after seeing both sides in action.
“Sehr gut, alles klar” was their reaction.
Getting to the game was hassle free, and buying tickets was extremely easy.
I bought my sitting ticket, not knowing that standing was not only €10 cheaper but a much better experience.
Once in the ground I found my seat, strolling past the Bochum fans that were situated behind one of the goals.
I took my place in the upper stand on the opposite side just above the ‘ultra’ 1860 supporters and immediately knew where my München alliance would lie.
All around me were Bavarian people clearly in love with their team.
There was a disappointing lack of Under-18 year olds, however why support a 2. Bundesliga side when all your mates at school will give you stick?
The ‘ultras’ were in fine voice and the leader of the motley crew was perched on top of the sideline fence, directing the chorus of song after song.
They didn’t stop. Not once. Not even at 3-1 down.
They did stop at the end of both halves but only to enthusiastically and venomously boo off the referee.
To the match itself and it was a poor showing from the 1860 side, though in truth their chances were seriously harmed by the officials’ decisions.
The first half was fairly evenly poised, with neither side having the invention to threaten the opposition’s goals.
The 1860 players did at least attempt to get past the opposing defence though, with Stefan Aigner and old warrior Bierofka charging down the flanks.
They fell apart all too often in the final third though, with star striker Benny Lauth hardly setting his sights on goal.
The same could be said for Bochum too, who were extremely conservative with the ball and seemingly reluctant to get out of their own half.
Bochum did boast the better chances of the first half though, with former Crystal Palace keeper Gabor Kiraly making a decent save early on.
The game changed course completely on the stroke of halftime, as home defender Kai Bulow was adjudged to have brought down Ostrzolek in the box.
A red card was shown and Dedic stepped up to deceive Kiraly from 12 yards out.
The crowd were furious and there was a general feeling that the penalty and red card were harsh.
Die Sechz’gers were all venting their anger in unison and most of the crowd stood up and screamed expletives towards the referee when the half-time whistle was blown.
The 1860 manager, Reiner Maurer, was also furious, and he was sent to the stands in the second half for his active protestations towards the referee and his officials.
While in line for a Helles Bier and Wiener Schnitzel burger, the replays confirmed the crowds’ feelings, showing that minimum contact had been made with the off-balanced Ostrzolek.
I knew Die Löwen were my München team indefinitely when I found myself cursing the referee with a surprising amount of anger.
Completely bias and loving it.
The second period started with Bochum dominating much of the possession, Ghvinianidze replacing Ignjovski to take his place in the back four for 1860.
Though in truth the away side lacked inspiration or guile and they failed to create clear-cut chances, Kiraly forced into only one save early in the half.
The introduction of Rakic changed the match in 1860’s favour.
The Serbian impressed with his work rate and ability to hold the ball up, as well as his willingness to drop deep and receive a pass.
He should have equalised for Die Löwen in the 70th-odd minute, defensive midfielder Lovin putting through a nice ball to set the big Serb free for a one-on-one.
However his powerful shot grazed the top of the crossbar and the opportunity went begging.
The crowd didn’t have to wait long for the equaliser however, Stephen Bell (a future prospect for the German national side) coming out of defence and unleashing a lovely flighted ball for local hero Benny Lauth.
1860’s main man ran on to the pass and finished emphatically past the Bochum keeper in the 72nd minute.
The goal sparked a wonderful display from the 1860 crowd as Benny Lauth’s very own personalised pop song descended on the stands from the loudspeakers.
The crowd responding by dancing around in unison and singing along, “Wir schreien Lauth, Lauth!”.
The announcer following by conducting a brilliant dialogue with the fans;
“Benny!” he shouted,
“Lauth!” came the reply from the crowd
With the scores tied and with the crowd pumped up and on their feet it looked like 1860 could get a point out of the match and perhaps even a win.
Bierofka cut inside from the left soon after and drew a fine stop from the Bochum keeper.
Though disaster struck once again 5 minutes later, this time self-inflicted as Gabor Kiraly failed to stop an Aydin shot which he should have kept out in the 78th minute.
“Das ist nicht egal!”, screamed one irate supporter in response to Kiraly’s seemingly laid-back reaction to his blunder.
Behind again and the home side were facing an up-hill battle to grab a second equaliser.
Die Löwen tried to push forward in hope of a miracle, but they looked flat and with their defence stretched and tiring, Bochum added the killer third.
Dabrowski was allowed to ghost through a static defence and score an easy tap-in. Game over.
However there was no mass walk out, which is an all too familiar sight in modern day football.
They stood their ground and saw out the match, though perhaps this was just an excuse to give the referee and his linesmen a proper send-off, 1860 style.
The ‘ultras’ were still singing as well.
Perhaps a hundred less were jumping up and down, but they continued until the players came over and applauded their efforts.
The fans returned the gesture, recognising the effort and spirit the team displayed to come back from a goal and a man down.
The result was a disappointment, however there is no doubt which colour I will be wearing around the streets of München should I ever reside in the city long term.
Even without visiting Bayern München’s match against Kaiserslautern, I am now a Sechz’ger through and through and nothing will change that.
I have been converted.