Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Dino Is Alive

Red Baron is sure that my American friends know soccer although they possibly prefer football. The resident director of the American students who were here in Freiburg spending their Academic Year (AYF) in 2014/2015 was a fan of the SC Freiburg, the leading local soccer team. Until two weeks ago the SC Freiburg played in the Bundesliga (Federal Soccer League) but having lost too often and being in the next-to-last position of the standings at the end of the season the team was relegated to second league together with the FC Paderborn who ended last. As usual the Bayern of Munich were at the top of the Bundesliga and subsequently German soccer champion. No wonder, they are the richest soccer club in Germany and can afford to buy the best players.

A Bundesliga of 18 soccer teams was founded in 1962, gathering the best teams in Germany at that time. Naturally the HSV, the team from Hamburg, having dominated soccer in the northern part of Germany was selected. In fact, the HSV as a founding member of the Bundesliga is the only team that has played in the first league from its beginning without ever being relegated into the second league. The HSV displays a clock in its stadium. For nearly 52 years the Dino, as the club is also called, has stayed in the Bundesliga.

©Axel Heimken/dpa
As I mentioned before, at the end of the soccer season the bottom two teams of the Bundesliga are relegated to the second league with the two first teams of the latter being promoted into first league. In addition the third but last team of the Bundesliga plays the third team of the second league for relegation from or promotion into the first league. It happened already last year and again this year that the Dino had to play the relegation. To make a long story short: Yesterday night the HSV just barely avoided its relegation into the second league this year too in beating the soccer team from Karlsruhe two to one. So the famous stadium clock in Hamburg will continue to run in its 53st year.

Having attended secondary school in Hamburg and having seen legendary Uwe Seeler (about my age) playing for the HSV, I am biased. Red Baron's only regret is that with the Dino surviving in the first league for another year those famous local soccer matches* between the HSV and the Hamburg cult team St. Pauli now playing in the second league will not be scheduled, at least not during the coming season.
*Compare this to games between the NY Yankees and the Mets


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