In Germany, all sports pale into insignificance compared to football. Victory in the 2014 World Cup illustrated how fanatical the nation is. Week after week, thousands of fans visit stadiums all over the country with millions of others glued to their televisions. From north to south, east to west, football is a phenomenon in Germany that connects people from all walks of life. A folk opera, a religion.
In terms of active participation, the German Football Association (DFB) connects more than 26,000 registered clubs in 2,381 leagues, starting with the Bundesliga. That adds up to more than three million players of different ages celebrating their love of the sport every week.
In the shadow of our big arenas, where the superstars shine and earn their millions, are smaller clubs where the stakes are just as high for those engrossed within them. From winning the German championship to defeating a neighbouring village, it’s all the same.
Even in the smallest villages, bereft of local amenities, exists a football club, feeding the local appetite for 90 minutes each week. Crowds of eight or 80,000 are transfixed on the ball. In that moment everything else seems light years away.