Comprehensive guide to Berlin Germany with information on Professional Sports.

Professional Sports
Professional Sports

Having been shunned by the Culture Vultures in the past, spectator sports have begun to be accepted, respected and even enjoyed by the Berlin population. Recent performances by Hertha BSC, Alba and the two ice hockey teams have turned a few heads while more and more cafés and bars screen live sporting events. A few televisions were even seen on Oranienburger Strasse during the European Football Championships in 2000. Apart from football, however, Germany lacks a high level sport which is intrinsically German with the majority of its sports having their Meccas in the United States.

Berlin also plays host to two major annual sporting events: The German Open Tennis Tournament at the Rot-Weiss Club and the Golden Four athletics meeting in the Olympic Stadium .

Hertha BSC
Olympischer Platz 3, 14053 Berlin - Charlottenburg | Tel: 300 92 80, Fax: 300928-99 | U2 Olympia-Stadion | Tickets: 13 - 75
After a chequered history (which includes bribery and match fixing) Berlin's largest football club, Hertha BSC, appears to be on the road to better days. Riddled with debt and on the verge of financial ruin in 1994, media heavyweight UFA (part of the vast Bertelsmann empire) stepped in and rescued the sleeping giant from bankruptcy in an attempt to reproduce what Canal Plus did for Paris St. Germain in the eighties and, also, to try and make more of a spectacle of the one horse Bundesliga. The investment in the club aroused new interest, and the team now gets gates of around 50,000, more if the visiting team is of any notoriety. A high placed finish in the Bundesliga in 1999 was then followed up by a strong run in the Champions League. Hertha are now trying to consolidate their position at the top end of the German League playing in their Olympic Stadium which is undergoing renovation but which will be finished by 2004 in time for the World Cup in 2006.

Tennis Borussia
Mommsen Stadion, Waldshulallee 34-42, 14055 Berlin - Charlottenburg | Tel: 306 96 10 , Fax: no fax | S75 Grunewald, S5 Eichkamp | 10 - 40
Languishing in the Regional League North, TeBe (west Berlin's second biggest football club) do alright for sponsorship money, but they lack a decent fan base. Attendances at their rundown Mommsen Stadium barely creep over 2000, which is just reward for their performances on the pitch. A number of the faithful are reported to support TeBe only because they refuse to follow Hertha with its faction of right-wing fans.

1. FC Union Berlin
Stadion An der Alten Foersterei , 12459 BerlinKoepenick | Tel: 657 25 85, Fax: no fax | S3 Koepenick | Tickets: 8 - 20
Promoted to the 2. Bundesliga after winning the Regional League North in 2001, Union (founded in 1906) are known for their passionate support. Surprise DFB Cup finalists in the same season, their efforts were rewarded with a place in the 2001/02 UEFA Cup. A traditional, working-class East German football side, "Iron Union" commands respect from some for not succumbing to political pressures in their past. Their compact 24,000-capacity open-air stadium is set in the beautiful green grounds of the Alten Försterei. The deep concrete, mainly terraced bowl is very atmospheric, even when half-full, and lines of gigantic Union flags make a colourful display. If you want to meet some of Union's hardcore support, have a drink in the pub named Abseitsfalle (Offside Trap) on Haemmerlingstraße before or after a match.

Berlin Capitals
Eissporthalle, Jaffestr. , 14055 Berlin - Charlottenburg | Tel: 885 60 00, Fax: no fax | S3, S9 West Kreuz + S5, S75 Eichkamp | 18 - 70
Formerly known as the Prussian Devils, the western Capitals are one half of Berlin's ice hockey rivalry. Having been weaker in the last few years than their city rivals, the ex-GDR Eisbären, the Caps have enjoyed a marked improvment in form. This is just as well, as since the breakaway DEL was formed in 1994, ice hockey has become a big money game in Germany.

EHC Eisbären Berlin
Sportforum, Steffenstraße , 13053 BerlinHohenschönhausen | Tel: 971 8400, Fax: 97184050 | S8, S10 Frankfurter Allee then Tram 23
S10 Landsberger Allee then Tram 5, 15 | Tickets: 25-65
Founded in 1954 as SC Dynamo Berlin and fifteen times GDR ice hockey champions (admittedly in the smallest league in the world), the Eisbären acquired their cutesy capitalist name in 1992. After being used to having the upper hand on the Capitals since the forming of the DEL in 1994, their status as Berlin's best hockey team is now not so sure after an improvement in their rivals' fortunes.

Alba Berlin e.V. Basketball Team
Max-Schmelling-Halle, am Falkplatz , 10437 Berlin - Prenzlauer Berg | Tel: 53 43 80 00 , Fax: no fax | U2 Eberswalder Str. | Tickets: German league matches 10 - 35, European matches 15 - 100
Alba Berlin were only founded in 1991 but soon established themselves as a major force in the game by winning both the league championship and German Cup in 1996-97. They are now considered a European powerhouse and draw large crowds to the Max-Schmelling-Halle, their spanking-new 10,000-seat home base. The arena is situated at one end of the Mauerpark, built on a former patch of no-man's-land between Prenzlauer Berg and Wedding. They play all their home matches here in a season which runs from September to May.

Berlin Thunder
Friedrich-Jahn-Sportpark, Cantianstraße 24, 10437 Berlin - Prenzlauer Berg | Tel: (tickets) 3110 2222, Fax: no fax | U2 Eberswalder Str. | Tickets: 5-60
Formed in 1999, Berlin Thunder are the German American Football representatives in the NFL Europe League. As German as the Hamburger, the team battle it out through the summer in an attempt to win the World Bowl. This impressive sounding championship is, in all fairness, quite hollow as most players compete at this level with the aim of being harvested for the NFL in America.

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