Ground: HDI-Arena (Niedersachsenstadion)
Date: 4th October 2013
Match: Hannover 96 - Hertha Berlin 1-1 (Bundesliga)
Attendance: 46 500
In September last year I made a Friday to Sunday trip to Germany. Visiting three matches over a weekend without having time off work was of course almost too good to be true. This autumn I made plans for a similar trip. Three matches would be difficult but at least two matches was my goal. At first I was planning a trip to southern Germany for a Augsburg/Fürth combination but flight prices (once fixtures were confirmed) made me look at other options. In the end I had to wait for DFB to confirm fixtures for September/October. The first weekend of October was to be the weekend I travelled to Germany. Hannover vs Hertha Berlin on Friday evening, Karlsruhe vs Köln on Saturday afternoon and then a Regionalliga Nord match on Sunday afternoon before flying home on Sunday evening. There was a flight from Copenhagen to Hannover at 17.05 on Friday afternoon. Travelling with hand luggage only I should have no problems getting to the ground in Hannover in time for kick-off (20.30). The flight landed at 17.56 and with seconds to spare I made the 18.06 S-bahn taking me to Hannover Hbf. I had booked two nights at Grand Hotel Mussmann, opposite the exit to the train station, and this turned out to be a really nice hotel. After checking in I then made the 20 minute walk to HDI-Arena (formerly Niedersachsenstadion), the home of Hannover 96.
Living outside Germany I had to pick up my ticket at the ground which turned out to be more difficult than usual. In the dark I couldn´t find the ticket office where my ticket was and when I asked I was given the answer I had to pass the body-search perimeter first. Still no ticket office in sight. At the ticket turnstile I asked again and after a while someone could help me out. I had to leave the body-search area (which made sense) and at the ticket booth they asked me for my ID. I could see the envelope with my ticket but they refused to give it to me. "There is no address on your ID-card (my drivers license which in Sweden is the most used ID-card)". I then gave them my passport but with no address in that either, still no ticket for me. I tried my best to tell the people in the ticket office ID-cards in Sweden don´t have the owners address. Some supervisor was called in and he insisted on an ID with address. I told him "You have my passport and my ID-card. Do you actually think two people from Sweden with the same name and the correct e-mail confirmation would be in Hannover for this match?" but he was not convinced. After I had to step aside to let others through a third person then showed and up after looking at my passport I was eventually given my ticket. Around 19.20 I found my entrance and was of course body-searched again. My seat was in the upper tier of the East Stand and an hour before kick-off I was in my seat and could look at an impressive stadium. The HDI-Arena, formerly known as Niedersachsenstadion (until 2002) and AWD-Arena (2002-2013), has a capacity of 49 000 for domestic matches and 43 000 for UEFA-matches. The stadium was rebuilt for the 2006 World Cup when the running tracks were removed. The "old" ground hosted matches in the 1974 World Cup as well as the the 1988 European Championships.
For this match 46 500 was inside HDI-Arena. I was expecting a full house but it was mainly the most expensive seats that were empty. The atmosphere was good but the stadium was not rocking. The match itself was ok. Hannover made it 1-0 in the 23rd minute and had a few other chances as well. In the second half it was the visitors from Berlin who had most of the possession. Hertha hit the post before equalising from a stunning free-kick. The match ended 1-1, a fair result if you ask me. At 22.50 I was then back at my hotel after a long day.
Welcome to Hannover 96 (as long as you are not from Sweden).
Statue of Ernst August
Rear of the Nordtribüne
Entrance to the Südtribüne
Tifo, Hertha fans
View of play
Fireworks (from a display outside the ground)