Last season both Arminia Bielefeld and Osnabrück were relegated from 2.Bundesliga to 3.Liga. The cities are only 50 km apart and I knew there was to be a good attendance at this match. My journey to Osnabrück started in Braunschweig and after changing trains in Hannover I arrived shortly before noon. Osnabrück is of course where my friend Maik lives and he met me at the train station. After dropping off my bags at his place we then went on a groundspotting tour, visiting the grounds of Osnabrück II (Illoshöhe) and SF Lotte (connectM-Arena). We started the tour with a visit to Osnatel Arena though, the home ground of Vfl Osnabrück. We found an open gate and could sneak in to take some pictures. I like Osnatel Arena, or Stadion at the Bremer Brücke as it used to be called. The capacity is 16 500, no running tracks, and it felt like a close, intimate ground. The side stands are seated while both ends are terraced. An English ground in Germany!
In 1648 the peace treatment for the Thirty Year´s War was signed in the Rathaus in Osnabrück as part of the wider Peace of Westphalia. As a Swedish king (Gustav II Adolf) was killed in this war, and the treatment was signed by Sweden, this is a famous place in my country´s history. After more sightseeing in the city centre we ended up in a restaurant before heading back to Osnatel Arena. We only arrived some 15 minutes before kick-off and as always it is a special feeling being outside a ground feeling the buzz before a derby match.
The atmosphere inside the stadium was very good, the match itself was not. 2 000 Bielefeld fans gave their side non-stop vocal support through-out the 90 minutes. The home fans in the terrace was just as good. After 75 minutes I told Maik "They can play until Friday and still not score". I was wrong though, in the 80th minute Bielefeld had a player sent off and Osnabrück scored from the free-kick. 5 minutes later another Bielefeld player was sent off. 1-0 down and with 9 players on the field Bielefeld refused to surrender though. In the 89th minute they equalised, the away section exploded of joy and the match ended 1-1. It happened more in the last 10 minutes or so than in the previous 80. Still not a good match though but at least two late goals and two red cards. As we left the ground it was still 27 ºC (at 9pm) but after a lot of rain this summer no-one was complaining. Tomorrow I am off to Switzerland for 2 matches before returning to Germany on Friday.
Inside the Rathaus
Fans outside the ground
View of play