Soccer team banned from League for Nazism- Upheld

Stadium woes

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frage für das forum



NAUMBURG (SAALE)- The days of the soccer team the FC Ostelbein Dornburg, located in the Jerichow District in the state of Saxony-Anhalt are numbered. The Regional Court of Apeals in Naumburg has rejected the appeal of the soccer team to reverse the decision made in September to ban the team from league plan in the Kreisliga, the district league that is part of the Soccer Federation of Saxony-Anhalt. The last straw remaining is the hearing scheduled in November in Magdeburg regarding the future of the soccer team. Teh reason behind the team’s ban from league play is the following: 15 out of 18 players are Neo-nazis with a criminal record, 59 out of 65 officials and many teams in the league have refused to play against the team due to history of violence and racist behavior. Already the team has lost its soccer field in Leitzkau, meaning they have no place to practice or even host games. If the decision in November is upheld, it is most likely that the team will be disbanded.

Yet this leads to a very important question to think and even discuss at the dinner table- let alone comment about:

Is banning a team from league play because of racial tensions an effective way to show solidarity to those wishing to live in a country, like Germany, which prides itself on multicultural issues?


What would be the basis for banning a team from a professional sports league? Are the actions of FC Ostelbein Dornburg justified for being banned from league play? Why or why not?

There are numerous arguments for and against such a measure that is being undertaken, but the question is, can your country imagine banning a team like this one because of right-wing tendencies. From an American’s point of view, sanctions and other financial penalties are imaginable, but banning a team from league play has not been attempted because of a different, but rather fixed  structure where the leagues are owned locally and there are no elevator approaches where teams can promote itself to a higher tier. However attempts have been made to ban team mascot names on the basis of racial segregation, including California, which became the first team to ban mascots bearing Native American names, such as Redskins, and the University of North Dakota, which banned the Fighting Sioux name and is looking for a new mascot.  Still, none of these measures have to do with the issue of real discrimmination, involving racial slurs and attacks on other teams, as Germany has witnessed in soccer, and in this case with the soccer team in Leitzkau. As presented in the Frage für das Forum, it is more unimaginable to take on a team with a history of racial slurs than to take on a team that carries a mascot that is considered racially motivated because of the behavior of the players towards one another.  Yet despite this attempt to forcefully disband FC Ostelbein Dornburg, the question is whether other teams with a record of such violence will be next on the list, and if the team is reorganized and presented under a different name? If so, then it would be as ineffective as banning the NPD Nationalist Party in Germany, as attempts have been made over the years to do just that, despite having other smaller right-wing parties.  In either case, we must find ways of showing these radicals that such slurs and violence are not to be tolerated in anyway, shape or form.

The question is, despite having such measures like this, what other alternatives do we have to draw the line?  Think about it……


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Soccer Team in Saxony Anhalt Banned from League Play

Stadium woes

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MAGDEBURG- It is rare in Germany that a soccer club is forced to disband by a league for violating regulations and/or unlawful conduct. The FC Ostelbein Dornburg soccer team, located in Jerichow District near Stendal in Saxony-Anhalt, became the first team in a decade to be suspended by a soccer league. According to information by German public radio station MDR, the State Soccer League of Saxony-Anhalt voted unanimously to remove the team from league play, effective immediately. The reason behind that is the team’s history of violence again other teams and the soccer officials. In addition, the majority of the team consists of right-wing extremists.  In addition to its suspension, the team has also been evicted from their soccer field in Leitzkau. The town council voted unanimously to terminate the lease effective immediately.  The last attempt to save the team will come with an appeal to the State Sports Association of Saxony-Anhalt. The committee will decide in November whether the suspension of the team is justified for the above-mentioned reasons. If the ruling is upheld, then the team will become the first to be disbanded by order of law but the second in three years to be disbanded in general. In 2012, FC Saxony Leipzig was disbanded due to liquidation for not having enough financial support to keep the team operating.  It is hoped that the possible forced disbanding of FC Ostelbein Dornburg will serve as a signal that, especially during the time of the refugee crisis in Germany, that extremism is not to be tolerated anywhere, even on the soccer field.

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Soccer Update: Leipzig Advances via Disqualification

German Football Federation rules in favor of RB Leipzig after Lighter Incident. VfL Osnabrück disqualified from German Cup- Further Sanctions Pending

FRANKFURT(MAIN)/LEIPZIG/OSNABRÜCK- Four days after the infamous lighter incident during the first round of the German Cup (DFB Pokal) and three days after both teams requested that the game be replayed, the German Football Federation made its decision on Friday. Despite the growing demand for the game to be repeated after a fan from Osnabrück threw a lighter at the referee in the 71st minute of the game, effectively taking him to the hospital and cancelling the rest of the game, played in Leipzig with Osnabrück in the lead 1-0, the Federation ruled against the notion and awarded the game to Leipzig. Reason for the decision was according to the handbook, the teams are responsible for controlling the fans and their actions, which the Federation claimed that Osnabrück did not do. The end result was Osnabrück being disqualified from the Cup with further sanctions pending. The team already has a 5000 Euro reward available for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person who instigated the crime. Leipzig, which won 2-0 via ruling, advances to the second round, where they face Regionalliga team Unterhaching in October. A list of other teams advancing to the second round and their opponents can be found here. Among the opponents include a galactic battle between FC Bayern Munich (2015 Bundesliga champion) and VFL Wolfsburg (2015 German Cup champions), but also another David-vs-Goliath match-up between Regionalliga team FC Carl Zeiss Jena and Premere League team VFB Stuttgart. Jena, which knocked Hamburg SV out of the first round 3-2, last played Stuttgart in the 2008 German Cup, which the team won 5-4 in overtime, advancing to the Final Four Round, where they lost to Borussa Dortmund 3-0. Stuttgart has struggled to avoid being demoted to the Second League, finishing between 14th and 15th place the past 4 seasons. Also included in the match-ups are (L denotes league): Bayer Leverkusen (1L) vs Viktoria Cologne (4L), SSV Reutlingen (5L) vs. Brunswick (2L), and another Premere League match-up between FC Cologne and SV Werder Bremen.

Glamorous German Cup Highlights?

Stadium woes


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The 2015/16 soccer season in Germany is not more than a couple weeks in its infancy, yet there has been a lot of action going on off the field, which has kept the German Soccer Federation really busy, and the fans slapping their hands across their foreheads in disbelief. Despite some tougher sanctions put in place to control the rowdiness after four soccer matches in the German Bundesliga resulted in the use of brute force by the police, even tougher measures are being considered after some cheap shots from fans that are making soccer a not so fun game to watch. It also leads to some questions of what measures that exist, had such unsportsmanship by fans existed in other sports, such as American football, basketball, baseball, etc. Naturally, it is clear that thou shall not forget the infamous NBA basketball brawl from 2004 and the consequences that happened to both players and fans in the form of fines, lifetime bans and other sanctions.

So I came up with some highlights from three soccer events with some questions for you to discuss, in hopes that some solutions are found in these cases. As for one of the cases, the idea of earning an important necessity through a victory went to extremes but as one person pointed in a discussion recently, the women’s professional soccer team could do better than the men’s team. So here are the highlights:

RB Leipzig vs. VFL Osnabrück: Game called because of official getting hit by a lighter.

The first controversial event in this Newsflyer article comes from Leipzig during the first round of the German Cup (D: DFB Pokal). Second League team and host RB Leipzig was trailing third League visiting team VfL Osnabrück (in Lower Saxony) 1-0 in the second half of the game. In the 71st minute, the game had to be called off because of this incident (note the main official or referee of the game is dressed in red):


After getting hit with a lighter from one of the fans, the game had to be called off, and the official had to leave to be treated for head injuries. While sanctions and fines in the tens of thousands of Euros are pending, both teams are filing a petition to the German Soccer Federation, calling for the score to be nullified and the game to be repeated, this despite a possible consideration of having the game be forfeited in favor of Leipzig. They both have apologized for this unfortunate incident that was beyond their control.

Here’s the question for discussion:  Should the game be repeated and if not, what other alternatives would you consider to show that this incident is not to be tolerated?  If caught, should the fan be banned from attending soccer games for life?


Latest reports revealed that a fan from Osnabrück, living in Bielefeld is being investigated for the incident. But as of now, unless there is a full confession, it is unknown who stopped the game, let alone ruined it for the other fans and players…..




Local Soccer Team to be Expelled from League for being a Nazi-group?

Here’s a question for you soccer fans: Imagine you coach a local soccer team and you face a team like the one in the film clip below, that is notorious for cheap brutal hits on the soccer field, Hitler greetings (which are banned by German law), racial slurs and having right-wing extremists as soccer players. Would you take the field against this team, or would you forfeit the game out of protest, risking a fine for the incident?

In the Jerichow Land district, located in northern Saxony-Anhalt near Stendal, the FC Ostelbien Dornburg is the target of a possible expulsion from the state soccer league for the above-mentioned reasons. A notion has been filed to the league office in Magdeburg with the decision to be made before the start of the season on 31 August. Already the opponent teams are protesting against taking the field against this team, and 59 out of 65 referees are refusing the officiate any games that deal with this troubled club. Furthermore, civil action and other legal measures for violating civil rights laws are pending. If in favor, the team will be shut down and not be allowed to participate in the league during the season. The team plans to appeal if it comes to that.


Lights for Stadium are earned, not given?  How FC Carl Zeiss Jena earned its lights after a lights-out party against Hamburg SV

What does it take to have a new stadium with a new set of lighting? How about a David versus Goliath victory, as seen in this game between the Regionalliga (fourth league) host FC Carl Zeiss Jena and Premere League visitor Hamburg SV, when the host lit up the Ernst Abbe Football Stadium and Sports Complex by upending the dinosaur, 3-2 in overtime.  Hamburg, which saved itself from being demoted to the Second League for three seasons in the row, appeared to be no match against a young, feisty team that is hungry to return to the national level after a three season absence, as seen on the highlights below:

Jena, which has been fighting for a new stadium for eight years, lost its beloved stadium lights to flooding in 2013 and almost had to build a new stadium in the souther suburb of Lobeda near the motorway. Yet support for a centrally-located stadium is extremely high, which has kept the city busy. More so, the city has been hemming and hawing about the stadium lights as they should be integrated into the new stadium itself. But with a low number of fans in the last three seasons, there was no rush, with even some people commenting about its team becoming a memory, like FC Saxony Leipzig (which folded in 2012). This victory, the first in the history of the German Cup, not only takes Jena to the second round, where they will play at the end of October, but it has prompted the city to scramble for new lighting and a new stadium.  This has led to the question of the difference between a necessity and a luxury and some exercises for the readers below:

1. What constitutes a necessity for a football stadium and which ones are a luxury? Choose the words below and put them into the two categories:

bleachers      scoreboard     hotel       conference center       stadium lighting      heating for soccer field   food court     beer stand     ticket building      VIP box     press box


2. Should the city of Jena have pursued the stadium lighting right away or was it justified to wait until either the money was available or  the Regionalliga threatened to demote the team to the Oberliga (fifth league) and why?


3. Jena advanced to the Final Four of the German Cup during the 2007/08 season, when it was in the Second League. Do you think they will advance that far again?


4. Is the embarassing knock-out of Hamburg SV from the German Cup the beginning of the end of its tenure in the Premere League in this season, or will it rebound once the regular season begins?


Think about these questions and place your comments for one, two or all of the themes in the Comment section below. You can also post your comments on the Files’ facebook page and/or group page. The Files will keep you posted on the latest regarding these stories and perhaps some more interesting items coming out of this seasons soccer season in the Bundesliga.


Genre of the Week: Planet Germany: Eine Expedition in die Heimat des Hawaii-Toasts

Author’s Note: This Genre of the Week has been pushed up a couple days due to important commitments. This is the first review that has been done by a guest columnist. And for a good reason….. :-)

When we look at Germans, we look at high quality and how they strive to achieve perfection, priding on the likes of BMW, Nutella, soccer, universities and a good beer. However, when asking a German whether they are proud of their culture or how they perceive us Americans and our way of looking at things, we see and hear another story.  In this book review, Planet Germany: An Expedition into the country that is home to Hawaiian toasts (this is the English equivalent to the original title), Eric T. Hansen takes a look at the old question of German identity and how the Germans look at their own culture, from a humorous point of view. This review was done by Ann Marie Ackermann, an American expatriate living in Germany and working as a lawyer, translator and a writer. Here’s a look at the reason why a person should think about reading this book:

A case of a lost cultural identity

Can it be that the Germans really don’t know themselves? And that they need an American to hold up a mirror and show them why the rest of the world holds its arms open to the German culture?

One American who’s been living in Germany since 1983 seems to think so. Eric T. Hansen’s book, Planet Germany, dissects the German psyche. His scalpel is his rare sense of humor, and he cuts through layers of poor national self-esteem to find the ingenuity that created Hawaii toast. I say “rare” because Hansen manages to elicit laughs from both Americans and Germans. Any American expat in Germany will appreciate the book, not only for the insights into the collective mind of the German folk, but for Hansen’s satire.

The world admires the Germans, but the Germans don’t know it

It was in a shopping mall in Magdeburg, Germany that Hansen discovered Germans don’t know who they are. The author, a journalist, was writing an article about exports, and asked shoppers what German products and personalities they thought would be popular in America.

“Nothing,” said the shoppers. One German man said he couldn’t imagine Americans would be interested in anything from Germany.

Frustrated, Hansen spouted a number of possibilities. “What about Mercedes? Volkswagen? BMW? Are there any German cars that aren’t famous in America?” His list went on:  Braun, Bosch, and Siemens? Gummi bears and “Nutella”? Lowenbräu? Blaupunkt and Grundig? Claudia Schiffer and Heidi Klum? Das Boot, Lola rennt, and the Brother Grimm fairy tales? Wolfgang Petersen and Roland Emmerich? Kraftwerk, Nena, Rammstein, and the Scorpions?

But it’s not easy to impress a German. “That might be,” said the man. “But nothing else.”

Americanization of Germany or Germanization of America?

We – the American expat community in Germany – have all heard it before. At some point a German has sat down with us in a café and started complaining about how the Americans are taking over the German culture.

The first time I heard it, I was incensed. Every individual German votes with his or her wallet by selecting products. Collectively, the country has chosen the culture it has now. Why blame the Americans? But on a deeper level, does a country really lose its culture by purchasing foreign merchandise like Coca-cola, jeans, and pop music? In the United States, we eat tacos and sushi, sing French and German Christmas carols, and listen to Jamaican rhythms. But we call that enriching our culture.

Oh no, says Hansen. That’s not what the Germans really mean. “Americanization” for them really means “modernization.” Alas, the Germans are just mourning the loss of the culture they knew as children.

Hansen puts the complaint under a microscope and finds a better case for the Germanization of America. At the time he wrote his book (2007), the value of German exports to the United States was almost one third more than the other way around. That’s not bad for a country half the size of Texas.

But the Germans better watch out. There is another country that’s done a lot more to infiltrate their country: Sweden. Germans read Astrid Lindgren as children and buy clothing at H&M. They listen to Abba and buy their first furniture from Ikea. They read mysteries by Henning Mankell and watch movies with Ingrid Bergman. And if that’s enough, says Hansen, the Swedes have to go out and flood Germany with Knäckebrot.  But nobody in Germany talks about “Swedenization.”

Germans as World Champion Complainers

Hansen’s satire shines most brightly in his chapter on why Germans believe complaining is a sign of higher intelligence. It’s sort of an unofficial German IQ test. Whoever does the best job of spontaneous criticism is the smartest. A comparison of the headlines in Spiegel and Time Magazine proves this, says Hansen: The American magazine offers information, and the German one critique. Even my German grandfather noticed this tendency. “When a German and an American both buy a new house,” he used to say, “the American guests come over and talk about everything they like about the house, and the Germans come over and find everything wrong with it.”

And here Germans are the Weltmeister. Just as Arabic has more words for “camel” than any other language in the world, Hansen points out, German has more words for criticism. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, because public, grassroots criticism plays an important role in democracy. Heck, Germans even have a holiday for political criticism. Have you ever watched German television during Fasching?

To anchor the importance of complaining in the German culture, Hansen applied for a job as professor at twenty German universities. He asked the universities to establish a chair for the esthetics of complaining (Nörgeleiästhetik) and offered a curriculum. Hansen includes his application in the book, and you can find the answers of three of the universities in the appendix. And don’t tell me the Germans have no sense of humor. When I read the appendix, I always have to pull out my Taschentücher because I start crying so hard.

About the book:

Eric T. Hansen, Planet Germany (Frankfurt a.M.: Fischer Verlag, 2007); 289 pages, in German. Eric T. Hansen is a journalist living in Berlin.

Author’s Fazit:

The book did provide the author with an idea for an activity that students in both Germany and elsewhere can try at home. Click onto this interview about Germany and what to expect. Make a list and ask yourselves whether there is more to Germany than what is mentioned here, and share it with your classmates and teacher. You’ll be amazed at the various answers brought up, especially if you as the teacher is a non-native German. Good luck with that! :-)

Note: The video was produced by Jason Smith, Marc Schueler and Dan Wogawa in 2013 and powered by GoAnimate.

About the writer and critic:

Ann Marie Ackermann (small)

Ann Marie Ackermann was a prosecutor in the United States before relocating to Germany, where she worked for 15 years as a legal and medical translator. Ann Marie now researches and writes historical true crime. Her first book, Death of an Assassin, will appear with Kent State University Press in 2017. It tells the true story of a German assassin who fled to the United States and became the first soldier to die under the American Civil War hero Robert E. Lee. You can visit Ann Marie’s website at

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Germany Quiz Nr. 4: The Answers to the Questions about Lower Saxony

Can you guess what this building is? It's located in Brunswick in Lower Saxony. Photo taken in February 2015

There was a request by one of the readers asking for just some interesting facts about Germany and some of the states instead of the Q & A that has been posted to date. My response is by taking the Q & A away, it will take the art out of finding out the most interesting facts about states, like this one: Lower Saxony.   😉   Admittedly there is so much to write about that even some questions had to be left out of this Quiz on Germany. But admittedly, the questions are a challenge and for those wanting the answers to the facts about this rather populous northern German state and their people, here they are below. Please note, the highlighted names contains links with additional information for you to click on and look at:


Variety Pack Questions:

  1. Eight German States and the Baltic Sea border Lower Saxony, making it the most bordered state in Germany. True of False?

False. Counting the enclavement of Bremen, Lower Saxony is bordered by NINE states (Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Pommerania, Brandenburg, Hamburg, Thuringia, Saxony-Anhalt, Hesse, Bremen, and North-Rhine Westphalia), plus the NORTH Sea. It also shares a border with The Netherlands to the west. Now that’s a LOT of states. 

2a. Lower Saxony was officially established after World War II in 1946 and consisted of the mergers of four former kingdoms. Name two of the four kingdoms.  Hanover, Schaumburg-Lippe, Brunswick and Oldenburg

2b. Of the four kingdoms, which one was the largest? Hanover  

Note: It was suggested that a state of Hanover was created through the British Zone, but inspite of debates and protests, all four of the former kingdoms merged to become the state and was subsequentially renamed Lower Saxony. Today the names exists but as part of the 38 districts that exist in the state.

  1. Put the following cities in order based on population from largest to smallest:

Oldenburg    Brunswick (Braunschweig)   Stade    Wolfsburg    Hannover   Lüneburg   Uelzen   Emden  Osnabrück

ANS:  1. Hanover (518,386); 2. Brunswick (247,227); 3. Oldenburg (159,610); 4. Osnabrück (156,315); 5. Wolfsburg (122,457); 6. Lüneburg (73,581) 7. Emden (49,790); 8. Stade (45,317); 9. Uelzen (33,269)

  1. Lower Saxony is ranked SECOND in size behind Bavaria and FOURTH in population behind Bavaria, North Rhine Westphalia and Hesse, but is the state that is the most dense population of Germany.  True or False (just the points in cursive and bold print)

Lower Saxony is ranked fourth in population behind Bavaria, NRW and BADEN-WURTTEMBERG (ans. for 1st part is false)

But the state is the most densely populated in all of Germany. (True)

  1. Which rivers flow through and/or in Lower Saxony? Name three of them.

ANS: Elbe, Oker, Ems, Weser, Aller, Seeve, Aue, and others

  1. Braunkohl is a German vegetable that is well known in Lower Saxony and can be served with a local sausage. True or false?

TRUE: Never mistake this term with Braunkohle (brown coal) that you can find in the Ruhr River region and near Zittau in the Black Triangle Region. Both this rare cabbage type and the local (curry) sausage are a tasty combination.

  1. At Steinhuder Lake,located west of Osnabrück, you will find eels. True or false?

FALSE: True there is a Steinhuder Lake and the eels are easy to find (and delicious when eating them), BUT the lake is northwest of Hanover. 

  1. Das Alte Land, located in the vicinity of the Elbe River north and west of Hamburg is Germany’s fruit garden. Name three fruits that grow there annually.  Apples, Pears, Cherries, Berries, and other fruits. 

Multiple Choice:  Choose the correct city to answer the questions.

  1. Which city is home of one of the three automobile manufacturers in Germany. Choose the city and fill in the blank regarding the car brand. (Hint: Fahrvergnügend is still the most popular car brand in the world.)

a. Wilhelmshaven          b. Wolfsburg         c. Celle       d. Lüneburg      e. Hannover

The car brand?  If you don’t know the car brand VOLKSWAGEN, Das Auto, then there’s something seriously wrong with you. 😉 

  1. Which city in Lower Saxony does not have a college or university?  How many colleges and universities does the state have?  ANS HERE: 26; six of them are in Hanover.

a. Hildesheim     b. Göttingen     c. Hannover    d. Cuxhaven     e. Emden

f. Vechta      g. Bremervörde

  1. In this town (A), you can try a drink with a spoon (B), but don’t forget to say your blessings first. 😉


a. Bad Zwischenahn          b. Bad Brahmburg      c. Leer        d. Norden

e. Bad Oldesloe     f. Brunswick


a. Braunschweiger Mumme      b. Löffeltee      c. Ammerländer Löffeltrunk

d. Angler Muck     e. Toter Bruder


  1. Which city in Lower Saxony is not located in the Harz Mountains? (!: There are two different answers)

a. Goslar           b. Clausthal        c. Wenigerode        d. Osterode      e. Salzgitter       f. Braunlage

  1. Which city does not have a premier league sports team?

a. Buxtehude     b. Hannover      c. Brunswick      d. Emden       e. Oldenburg

  1. The New York Lions in the German American Football League is actually located in which city?

a. Hannover     b. Bremen        c. Brunswick       d. Göttingen     e. Celle

  1. Germany has the only true transporter bridge in left the country. It is located in Lower Saxony in which community?

a. Ostende      b. Hannover     c. Wilhelmshaven     d. Stade     e. Brunswick


  1. The only combination cantilever-suspension-swing bridge left in Germany (and perhaps on European soil) is located in Lower Saxony. Where exactly is this bridge?

a. Göttingen    b. Wilhelmshaven    c. Lauenburg    d. Stadland   e. Hannover         f. Wattenscheid


  1. Which town in Lower Saxony will you most likely find in the US?

a. Emden    b. Bergen     c. Hanover     d. Oldenburg    e. Berne    f. Uelzen

FACT: There are 19 towns in the US that carry the name Hanover, as well as 23 townships. The largest of them is Hanover, New Hampshire, where the state university is located. That one has 11,800 inhabitants.

Celebrities and Birth Places: Determine whether these statements are true or false. If false, correct the statements

  1. Maria Furtwängler, an actress who plays Charlotte Lindholm in the Tatort-Hannover series originates from Hanover.

ANS: False. She was born in Munich and belongs to one of the most powerful dynasties that still exist in Germany today. 

  1. Heiner Brand, head coach of the German National Handball Team, was born and raised in Brunswick.

ANS: False. Brand was born in Gummersbach in North Rhine Westphalia. He is the only German handball player and coach to have won the World Championship both as a player (1978) and a coach (2007). He was coach of the German National Handball Team from 1997 until his resignation in 2011, taking the team all the way to the World Cup Championship in 2007.

  1. In the film the Inglorious Bastards by Quentin Tarrantino, there were no German actors/actresses.

ANS: It would not be typical of the well-cultured producer and director to not have native-born German actors/actresses in a film, whose setting was in Nazi Germany. At least 25 people, including Daniel Brühl and Til Schweiger were casted alongside Brad Pitt in this film. This included Diane Kruger, who was born in Hildesheim (near Hanover) and played Bridget von Hammersmark in the film. A well-thought film produced by a well-known name, but the answer to this question is clearly FALSE!

  1. Gerhard Schröder, the successor of Chancellor Angela Merkel, was born in Mecklenburg-Pommerania but grew up in Lower Saxony.

ANS: False. He was born and raised in Lower Saxony and even started his career in politics during his university days in Göttingen, thus paving a path to chancellorship, which he ruled Germany from 1998 until his landslide defeat in early elections in 2005, into the hands of the country’s current chancellor, Angela Merkel.

  1. Herbert Grönemeyer calls Göttingen home. No wonder because he was born there.

ANS: True. Yet he was born there because his mother brought him into the world through a specialist in a very unusual way (read more here). He however was raised in Bochum in North Rhine Westphalia.

  1. The band The Scorpions was established in Hanover with the lead singer originating from there.

ANS: True. Klause Meine originated from Hanover. Together with Rudolf Schenker (who was born in Hildesheim), the band was founded in Hanover. It is the longest running band in Germany and second longest in the world behind the Rolling Stones, having been in business for over 50 years.

  1. The Creator of English for Runaways originally came from Emden.

ANS: False. Heinz Heygen was born in Frankfurt/Main.

  1.  Chris Barrie, a Hannoverer  who starred in the Tomb Raider movie, grew up in Northern Ireland.

ANS: True

  1. Prince Ernst Augustus of Hanover was born in Hanover.

ANS: It is logical that the Prince, who is married to Princess Caroline of Monaco, and has his residence in Hanover, must be naturally-born Hannoverer. Hence, True. :-)

BONUS QUESTION: Can you guess what that building in Brunswick is?

The building is the site of the Tauch Center, located across the Oker River from the campus of the Technical University. When it was built and other details is unknown, but you are free to add some information in the comment section if you wish to do that.

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Jürgen Klopp Calls It Quits

Head Coach of German Soccer Team Borussia Dortmund to step down after the end of the season

FlFiNewsflyer logoDORTMUND- The 2014/15 soccer team in the German Bundesliga has, so far, been a season full of surprises- both in terms of Cinderella teams as well as major disappointments. Of these extremes, there is one major surprise that will be talked about in the coming months. Jürgen Klopp, the man with the hairdo and the colorful personality as head coach of the Bundesliga team Borussia Dortmund will step down from his post effective on 30th June, the official end of the 2014/15 season. Klopp came to Dortmund in 2008 after coaching for seven years in Mainz, the same team where he spent his career playing soccer. After taking the team to the top level of soccer, Klopp took over the black and gold team, leading them to the Seasonal Championships in 2011 and 2012, the German Cup in 2012 and the Super Cup in 2008, 2013 and 2014. He was named Coach of the Year in 2011 and 2012. However, despite his successes, his popularity waned and conflicts between him and the management escalated after finishing second in the Champions League last year, for Dortmund has spent all of this season in the bottom half of the standings, at times being in last place. While the team is no longer in danger of being relegated to the second tier of the Bundesliga, Klopp felt in the press conference today that it was time to call it quits and step aside.  While there is speculation that he will join an English Premier League Team in the future, his plan after the season is taking a hiatus to spend time with his family before making the next move in his career.

Klopp will be remembered for bringing Dortmund to greatest, especially after winning the championships in 2011 and 12 on the German level, as well as taking the team to the Champions League Finals against Bayern Munich, which won the trophy 2-0. But even more so, he will be remembered for his fiery personality on the field, bringing the fans to their feet and putting the referees on their toes if they make a controversial call. The most famous blow-up came in the Champions League game against Napoli (as seen in the video) which became famous among social networks. What will make Klopp bolt for England is his usage of English during his press conferences, with many expressions producing some humor among the audience, even if his comment of “the result was so s**t,” after the loss in the Champions League Finals was deemed inappropriate among American media standards.  While many coaches in American sports are known for their emotional behavior both on the field as well as off (please see the example in a previous post), on the international level, Klopp will most likely end up in the Top 10 of the most emotional but dedicated coach both in soccer as well as in sports in general. And there is enough evidence to prove it, as you will see in the example videos below.

And while Klopp prepares his exit from the stadium stage right, and ride off in the sunset, he will leave a legacy behind in Dortmund, something that the next coach will have to match. To close the article, here’s a question for the forum: What will you miss from Klopp as head coach of Dortmund?

Leave your comments below as well as in the Files’ facebook page.

Here are the videos of Jürgen Klopp’s Greatest Hits during his days in Dortmund for you to enjoy:


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END OF THE LINE: Uli Hoeness, (soon to be former) President of FC Bayern Munich and The Soccer Team

Newsflyer and Food for Thought on the Prison Sentence of Uli Hoeness

A question for the forum: If you were the judge, and you would find out that a well-known person evaded taxes in the tens of millions of dollars, how many years would you sentence him, and how should he serve his time?
When looking at the decision of Uli Hoeness, the (still) President of the German soccer club FC Bayern Munich- serving only 3.5 years in prison for keeping 28.4 million Euros worth of taxes away from the German treasury- one can dub this as an insult to the German judicial system, to democracy, and to the people living in Germany.  Evading such high amounts of taxes, the money that could easily have helped 10,000 unemployed people, or used to improve the infrastructure and education system in Germany, warrants tougher penalties. This especially as Europe has heard about scams in the US, done by the filthiest, like Bernie Madoff, who in 2009 was sentenced to 150 years for a ponzi scam that consumed billions of dollars in assets from hundreds of people affected.  Hoeness is no better than those bunches who are serving at least 50 years for their crimes. As a judge, 27 years, one year for every million squeezed out of the workers in Germany earning that well-deserved money,  is considered modest to today’s standards. But given the fact that Germany’s maximum sentence is 10 years for major tax fraud, one has to push for the maximum to show the public that even the rich and famous should set an example for others to follow and serve the same time as the common person. That unfortunately failed in this case, and many people are still asking “Why?”

On the flip side, Hoeness will cast a dark shadow on the soccer team, for despite the team winning the triple crown last year (the Bundesliga Championship, the German Cup and the Champions League Title), and there are no barriers in the way for them to repeat in 2014, that will be it for the team. While the team is still the most successful and most popular team in Germany, the tax scandal will surely lead to Hoeness to step down and another person to take over, creating the end of continuity for the team.  High-paying players will distance themselves from the team after this season, fewer people will attend home games at Allianz Arena, and many contenders, like Dortmund, Leverkusen, Berlin and Schalke (Gelsenkirchen) will line up to take some well-deserved and long awaited shots at the team on the field- not to mention the Bundesliga title for next year.  From the author’s point of view, once deemed an example and icon for future generations to follow, many will now associate FC Bayern Munich with Uli Hoeness and his secret Swiss account, where he stashed his money from others who are in need, and is now paying the price for it.  As morally conscious and liberal as Germany is as a whole, even in Bavaria, people will turn their backs on their team, showing the younger people that screwing people out of their assets is legally and morally wrong and should be punished accordingly.

While Hoeness will spend that jail time in comfort (a minimum security prison), the damage has been done already, and Bayern Munich’s downfall is set to come. Enjoy the 2014 season while you still can. The next season will be even more interesting to watch as things unravel for Hoeness and his (soon to be former) team.

Ghost goal in German Soccer!

Frage for the Forum:

Each sport has its own controversial play that causes fans to scream “FOUL!” and players to scratch their heads. Last year we had the controversial touchdown in American football, which never existed. (See links to the play and the fan reaction)  This outcry over the lack of competence among substitute referees led to the original refs and the National Football League to agree to a salary increase.

This contagion has made its way to Germany, which prides itself on a different form of football.

Already fans of one team getting the short end of the stick is demanding a recall of a goal that happened in the German Premier League game on Saturday, where 1899 Hoffenheim and Bayer Leverkusen played ball that ended in the latter winning 2:1. Yet with this goal, which occurred in the first half of the game, may end up becoming a center of controversy that will go beyond the German Soccer League DFL and the International Soccer League FIFA!

While Hoffenheim has demanded a replay of the game, the decision to even overturn the goal seems unlikely, because of FIFA. According to the rules and regulations as stated by German channel ARD, replaying the game on the part of DFB  is only possible if the game is manipulated, doping is imminent, dangerous objects are thrown on the field which can delay the game indefinitely, if an ineligible player plays, or if the referee violates the rules in a soccer game. Unfortunately, the hole in the net on the side of the goal, where the ball from Leverkusen’s Stefan Kiessling foot ended up going through enroute to a goal and a 1:0 lead, does not seem to be the basis for replaying the game, according to FIFA. While DFB will investigate the goal and the miscue on the part of the referee to determine whether a replay or other measures will be needed, the decision to legitimize the measure lies solely on FIFA, and this is where the problems will occur. Already FIFA had threatened to ban the German soccer team from participating in the World Cup in 1998 for a similar case involving Nuremberg and Bayern Munich, yet having a hole in the net that is big enough for a soccer ball to fit in, plus the infamous phantom goal is considered fair in soccer?

While such an international umbrella, like FIFA, is worried about the efficiency of soccer play on the international front, such controversial calls, like this one, should not be ignored. In fact tougher measures should be carried out, like thorough inspection of the nets, ensuring that the refs officiate correctly, and lastly ensuring that miscues like this one should be avoided, or if they occur, then the ruling should be for the benefit of the teams affected. It is most likely that after this goal that the DFB will look at and modify the rules to ensure that these measures are included in the rule book.  Efficiency in the game is one aspect. Transparency and fairness are even better for the sport.

It will be interesting to see whether Hoffenheim will get their wish and replay the game against Leverkusen. If not, the team is not alone. The Green Bay Packers suffered a similar fate in American football last year when the touchdown that never was a touchdown went into the hands of the Seattle Seahawks anyway, yet changes in the rules of the game followed afterwards. It will most likely that if the ruling is against Hoffenheim happens, it will not mean that the rules in the soccer game will stay the same. They too will change, after the DFB looks at the results of the 2013-14 season to determine which ones are needed. And the infamous ghost or phantom goal will be one of the first on their agenda.

Frage for the Forum:

After reading the article and looking at the video, what would you, as a member of a professional soccer league, do in a situation similar to the one that happened in the game between Hoffenheim and Leverkusen?  Do you nullify the goal and end the game in a 1:1 tie or do you allow for the game to be replayed entirely? What are your reasons for it?

Place your comments in the Comment section or in the facebook section of the Files and see what others think about the situation.


Fast Fact:

1. While Leverkusen has been in the Premier League for many years, Hoffenheim is the latest team to have entered and played in the top flight league. Founded in 1899, Hoffenheim has remained the only village soccer team to play in the German Premier League, since its entrance in the 2008/09 season. It has been one of the surprising storied teams having played in the local Verbandsliga for many years before marching through the Regional and Second Leagues between the years 2005 and 2008, and performing well in the German Cup, especially in the 2005-6 season. More information on the team can be found here.

2. Ghost goals are not new to German soccer. A phantom goal between Nuremberg and Munich in the 1994 season, as well as a phantom goal between VFB Leipzig and FC Chemnitz in the following season, triggered replays on both parts by the DFB, yet FIFA threatened to ban the German soccer team from participating in the 1998 World Cup for both cases.

Link to the article can be found here.

S for Stadium Lights

Photo taken on 20 July 2013

Produced for Preservation in Pink

From the Sports Arena:

Many of us have our preferences when artefacts come to mind. Some like old buildings, like cathedrals, skyscrapers and even old apartment complexes. Some are partial to bridges built of stone and/or metal and prior to 1900. And some even love the nostalgia of historic highways, long since bypassed by expressways but still exist as a reminder of how highways were built in the bygone era.  But what about stadiums and in particular, stadium lights?

Many people, like Kaitlin O’shea (of Preservation in Pink) are probably scratching their heads wondering why this author is mentioning this topic. After all, when looking at the artefacts mentioned in the online column, such as historic houses, historic bridges, and historic buildings, stadium lights would be the last artefact to ever be mentioned. But here in Germany, it is the hottest topic at the moment, as a set of stadium lights that had been providing the stage for soccer games in a small eastern German town in the state of Thuringia is about to become history.

Located along the Saale River in eastern Thuringia, Jena has a population of 120,000, two universities and two central locations for science and technology. It prides itself on the biotechnological, optical and electronic industries, and of course, the seven wonders of the city, which includes the St. Michael’s Cathedral, the Camsdorf Arch Bridge, Fox Tower and Lobdeburg Castle. The Ernst-Abbe-Soccer Stadium and its four nostalgic flood lights are considered for many the eighth wonder of the city. While the stadium, which houses a professional men’s soccer team (FC Carl Zeiss Jena), a professional women’s soccer team (USV Jena) and a regional men’s soccer team (SV Schott Jena), dates back to 1924, the “giraffe lights”, as many locals tout them to be, were built in 1974 to provide night-time games for tens of thousands of fans. They can be seen from several kilometers away from all directions, even clearly at night when the soccer games are taking place.

Photo of the Giraffe Lights at Ernst-Abbe-Stadium in Jena. Taken from the author’s home in the southern suburb of Winzerla in January 2012

Yet the days of the 70 meter tall light posts, which had been characteristic for the stadium and a favorite for many people attending soccer games in Jena are numbered. Flooding this past June, the worst since 1994, put the entire stadium and sports  complex, along with 60% of the city of Jena, underwater. Floodwaters ate away at the foundation, and up to 40% the four-legged tower supports corroded away to a point where the towers were in danger of collapse. In other words, the stadium lights needed to be removed before anyone can step back onto the soccer field, for safety reasons.

Since these towers were condemned to scrap metal two weeks ago, an outcry from tens of thousands of Jena soccer fans poured into the halls of the City Hall, where many people wanted at least one of the Giraffes to be replaced. Apart from that, the decision to take them down could not have come at an even more perfect time, as the stadium itself was scheduled to be reconstructed into a multi-sport complex. With flood damages being in the millions of Euros, with the stadium and adjacent sports complex needing over a million for repairs, questions are being posed as to how to proceed further with the reconstruction efforts, and who should pay for at least part of the financing. Already FC Carl Zeiss Jena is threatening with bankruptcy protection if they need to assist more in the project because of the team being cash-strapped, despite its strive to enter the third flight of the German Premier League. It currently is in the Regional League Northeast. And it is understandable, for stadium lights are required in order to play ball in the Regional and Premier League. While makeshift lighting will definitely be needed before the season begins in August, calls for Carl Zeiss to provide more money for the project, even if it means cooperating or consolidating with another Jena soccer team like SV Schott, will eventually reach city hall and beyond. But that’s a different story.

Eventually the city council’s decision to keep and restore one of the Giraffe Lights last week was a blessing in disguise, for many people seem to like its nostalgia and its historic value. While the majority of the buildings built during the Communist era were plain bland multiple-story building complexes, the Giraffe Lights at the Stadium belong to the few bright spots that one can take with, when remembering the days of soccer during the Cold War. It’s rather unusual and sleek design makes the stadium lights built today look like the aforementioned East German buildings. And it is understandable that a football tradition like the one seen in Jena would not like to part ways with a relict that has become typical of soccer for the region. Even reading lights resembling the Giraffes are selling like hot cakes.  But one would not think about being emotional about stadium lights like the ones in Jena, right?

Looking at the American stadiums built in the past and present, as well as the baseball and softball complexes, one would not even think about the stadium lights much as they’re either hung on rafters, or supported by a series of steel poles. In many cases, if you look at the old small township softball fields, the lights are supported by wooden telephone poles connected with wires. But if one is attached to a certain relict of history and connects it with memories that they have with certain events, like soccer or any other sport, it is especially difficult to part ways with them if the time to dismantle and scrap them is needed. For the people in Jena, a piece of history is about to become scrap for all but one of the Giraffe Lights and while new lighting will be installed once the stadium is renovated, they will still remember the days when the Giraffe Lights lit up the city at night, helping the soccer teams win at home.

This leads to the Flensburg Files’ Frage für den Forum:

1. When looking at architecture and archaeology, which relict do you like the most and would do anything to save them? Example: People love historic bridges and would fight to save them.


2. How important are stadium lights in terms of their historic value? Do you know of stadiums and sporting complexes that have as fancy and historic lighting as the one in Jena?


3. A debate on how to reconstruct the Ernst Abbe Stadium has flared up where people are debating on whether to convert the soccer field into a sporting complex (like Heinz Field in Pittsburgh) or simply remodel the sporting complex, especially in light of the flooding (please see link).  If you were a Jena resident, would you favor renovation or reconstruction and why?


4. (In connection with number 3), when the new lights are installed in the project, should they resemble the Giraffe Lights, conforming to the one that is being saved and will be integrated into the project?


5. How much money should the sporting teams in Jena contribute and should FC Carl Zeiss Jena consider consolidating with other Jena soccer teams to contribute to the cost of rebuilding the stadium and adding the lighting?


Photos of the dismantling of the Giraffe Lights can be seen here:

The Giraffe Lights and the western side of the Ernst Abbe Stadium during the Great Flood of 2013


The dismantling of the first of four Giraffe Lights commencing.

Close-up of the missing top half of the Giraffe Lights coming apart.

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