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When religion pauses (neue-deutschland.de)

Lutz and Uschi Siebeneichler, when they were still allowed to make a pilgrimage to the home games of Dynamo Dresden in the Rudolf Harbig Stadium

Lutz and Uschi Siebeneichler, when they were still allowed to make a pilgrimage to the home games of Dynamo Dresden in the Rudolf Harbig Stadium

Photo: Lutz Siebeneichler

“Dynamo is my religion,” says Lutz Siebeneichler and does not even have to think about the question of his faith for long. The 57-year-old roofer lives in Thallwitz, which is closer to Leipzig, but has nothing to do with RB, locomotive or chemicals. The parents come from Dresden and “I’ve been a fan for as long as I can remember,” Siebeneichler told the “nd”. In 1977 he was in the football stadium for the first time. The quarter-final second leg of Dynamo Dresden against FC Zurich was scheduled for the European Champion Clubs’ Cup. “My dad had taken me with me,” Siebeneichler still knows, as it was today, because it was a very special game.

World Cup 2014: Brazil's soccer player Luiz Gustavo prayed 1-7 against Germany. Fans can now watch the game online again.

World Cup 2014: Brazil’s soccer player Luiz Gustavo prayed 1-7 against Germany. Fans can now watch the game online again.

Photo: imago images / Sven Simon

At 3: 1, the Dresdeners had one leg in the semi-finals, but then another goal was scored for the Swiss, who had won the first leg. Dynamo retired. »The fans in front of us had brought wooden stairs and stood on them. So I had little chance of seeing the field, but I still noticed a lot. It ended tragically and the experience was memorable. «

Siebeneichler is a fan through and through today. He, his wife Uschi and even the six-year-old granddaughter have season tickets for the Dynamos home games. Lutz even drives to almost all away games through the republic. But now religion is pausing – because of Corona. »I have more free time now at the weekend. Of course, dynamo is also free time, but as a real fan you invest a lot of time and money. Now you can do other things. «But what do sports fans like him do when they can’t make a pilgrimage to the halls and stadiums?

The leagues and associations try to offer them replacements in different ways – and not just in football. Major League Baseball, for example, offers many games from the past free of charge and in full length on the Internet. “The season opening day is something of a holiday in the United States,” one MLB employee replied to an nd request. »When it became clear that we couldn’t play on March 26th because of Covid-19, we wanted to give our fans the opportunity to celebrate Opening Day anyway. That’s when we launched OpeningDayAtHome. «

First there were classics on the league’s website, but also on YouTube. Games could now be seen by fans who were otherwise not “free for legal reasons”. “We had 26 million viewers,” counted the MLB. So it was added: All of the games from 2018 and 2019 have recently been made available on MLB.TV. In total there are more than 4800.

The FIFA World Football Association tries something similar. He lets fans vote which classics in World Cup history they want to see again. The legendary 7: 1 of the German team in 2014 in the semi-final against hosts Brazil can now be found on FIFA’s YouTube page. “Almost eight million people have already watched the games,” said a FIFA spokesman. The official film for the 2018 World Cup would also have watched two million fans.

Lutz Siebeneichler is not one of them. “I can’t really identify with the national team,” he says. »I already followed them in GDR times. And after the reunification, in 1990 we had the best German national team ever, I think. But I don’t have much left for her today. «

At the club level, however, he is currently hardly offered anything. The German Football League (DFL) shows no old classics, neither from the 1st nor from the 2nd Bundesliga, in which Dynamo Dresden has ranked since 2016. There are currently no concrete plans, “but regular discussions with our media partners,” says a spokesman for the DFL.

The league has taken a different approach over the past weekends: with the “Bundesliga Home Challenge”, an eFootball tournament in which a total of 29 clubs take part. More than two million viewers were counted, which is significantly above the previous reach of the VBL Club Championship, the regular eSport offer of the DFL. According to comments on social media, people who are not enthusiastic about eSports would also have watched the games, since all teams, each consisting of two members, must always have a real football professional on the console. Achraf Hakimi played for Borussia Dortmund, Davie Selke for Werder Bremen and midfielder Justin Löwe for Dresden, who defeated Bayer Leverkusens Wendell 4-0 and Dynamo secured the victory.

But that too missed Lutz Siebeneichler. “I’m probably the wrong generation for that. I’m not looking at that, ”he says. Of course, he misses football, but mostly “the side effects” as he describes it. “We are now holding conferences with the buddies via WhatsApp to maintain friendships that have grown over the years.” Otherwise, he is currently setting up a dynamo club room in his former garage. He had started this before Corona, but now he finally has enough time for it.

Lutz Siebeneichler is wrong if you think this interruption is nothing more than the regular summer break. »We are always looking forward to that because we have been going to the training camps since 2012. The winter training camps are also firmly anchored in the calendar of our ›travel group Antalya‹, «he reports. It is now completely unclear when she will meet again.

For the Dynamo fan it is clear: The current season should be canceled. The Dresdeners would of course like that. As the bottom of the table, they would currently descend. Siebeneichler refuses to end the season with ghost games. »Football without fans is not football, and ghost games would distort competition: we are in the middle of a relegation battle. The team needs the fans much more as support than, for example, the big FC Bayern Munich. They always play down their boots. «

The TV revenue should still flow, and depending on the financial need distributed to the clubs, Siebeneichler finds. »I am a Sky customer myself and will not get my money back. I wouldn’t want it either. But the DFL is all about coal. «

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