Ground: Stadion an der Kreuzeiche
Date: 8th August 2015
Match: SSV Reutlingen - Karlsruhe 3-1 (DFB-Pokal)
Attendance: 8 166
The match at GAZi-Stadion auf der Waldau ended at 17.20. 40 minutes later Andreas and I arrived in Reutlingen. SSV Reutlingen played in 2. Bundesliga between 2000 and 2003 but are nowadays in Oberliga Baden-Württenberg (level 5). Due to the (Reutlingen) fans´ ties with VFB Stuttgart the cup game against Karlsruher SC, Stuttgart´s biggest rivals, was considered a high-risk game. According to the local paper more than 1 000 police were deployed for this game. As we approached Stadion an der Kreuzeiche, the home of SSV Reutlingen, it was apparent this was not a normal game, police everywhere. I had bought a ticket for section BB in the main (West) Stand and after standing in the sun for several hours in Stuttgart it was slightly more comfortable to sit in the shadow. Andreas bought a ticket next to me and when the turnstiles opened we entered the ground. I was quite hungry but the Schnitzelbrötchen sold in the kiosks inside Stadion an der Kreuzeiche solved that problem. It was still warm, around 28 °C and it was important to drink a lot of water during this game as well. Stadion an der Kreuzeiche was built in 1953. When the club played in 2. Bundesliga the old main stand was demolished and a new 5 200 all-seated stand was built instead. Nowadays the capacity is around 12 000. The building of the new main stand back in 2003 was one of the reasons the club ended up in financial problems and had to be relegated to Oberliga.
Knowing this was high-risk game it was surprising to notice the rightmost blocks (A & AA) in the main stand were given to Karlsruhe fans. I was in BB myself and there was no segregation between the two sets of fans. Karlsruhe also had two blocks of terracing but the terrace block nearest to the main stand was closed. Since there were Karlsruhe fans in the part of the main stand nearest to that terrace block it seemed strange that block was closed for security reasons. Anyway, this was to be a very exciting game and as far as I know there weren´t any troubles at the game. The home fans were really up for this cup tie and when Reutlingen made it 1-0 from the penalty spot Stadion an der Kreuzeiche was buzzing. A Karlsruhe player was sent off in the same incident and when Reutlingen was given another penalty and made it 2-0 the cup shock was in the cards. In the 51st minute Karlsruhe had another player sent off the fans in blocks A & AA were fuming. For most of the second half you couldn´t notice it was 11 vs 9. Karlsruhe attacked over and over again but the Reutlingen goalkeeper had a brilliant evening. In the 63rd minute Karlsruhe eventually scored, 2-1, and I was certain they were going to score again. There was to be one more goal in this game but that was not scored by Karlsruhe. In stoppage time Karlsruhe had their third player sent off, penalty to Reutlingen and 3-1. Giuseppe Ricciardi scored a hat-trick from the penalty spot and this is an evening he will never forget. In fact, everyone inside Stadion an der Kreuzeiche will remember this cup tie for a long time. For Reutlingen this must have been the biggest evening since the days of 2. Bundesliga. Thanks to Andreas and his car I made the 22.50 train taking me back to Stuttgart and shortly before midnight I was back at my hotel. A long, warm but very exciting day came to an end.
Stadion an der Kreuzeiche
Fans outside the ground
Queuing for tickets
Fans outside the ground
Rear of the Westtribüne
View of play
Stadion an der Kreuzeiche under floodlights