Frankfurt as a city of football and unity

Every year there is a lot on offer at the Frankfurt Christmas market: mulled wine, almonds, dolls and self-praise. The stall operators around the Römerberg are responsible for the culinary delicacies and knick-knacks; the self-praise comes from those who sit inside the Römerberg, i.e. the city leaders.

Years ago they came up with the idea of ​​decorating the mulled wine cups at the Christmas market not only with stars, little Santa Clauses and Frankfurt’s striking buildings, but also with a symbol of the city on the Main. It started in 2015 with the cup motto “City of Museums”, and a year later Frankfurt was praised as the “City of Sports”. What followed: music, kings and emperors, theater, festivals and democracy.

Eintracht, DFB and the EM 2024

This time the Christmas market is again about sport, the matt black cup with the golden decorations and the kicking Christ child on it is in the spirit of the “City of Football”. Let’s assume that the municipal Tourismus+Congress GmbH, which is responsible for the Christmas market, has all the cups in its cupboard.

Now you could say: Who cares about the cup as long as the mulled wine is hot and tastes good? But if you follow the long-deceased French thinker Roland Barthes, a Christmas market cup can be counted among the “myths of everyday life” because it acts like a “communication system” and conveys a message. So let’s test the thesis of the 2023 cup. It’s about football. If that is a good idea?

Admittedly, the name reads better as “city of transport policy”, “city of the train station district” or “city of the fired mayor”, all of which evoke rather unpleasant associations. Football is always king, and the Rhine-Main area has around a million federal and Eintracht coaches who should feel welcome as guests, the city marketers may have thought when they balanced out the self-praise.

As long as the mulled wine is hot and tastes good: In Frankfurt, cups with a different motto are used every year. : Image: picture alliance/dpa

But apart from the fact that the home of every district club can jazz itself up to be the city of football; and apart from the question of whether such a special title might not be more appropriate to another city like Braunschweig, where “footlooseness” was investigated for the first time on German soil, or like Leipzig, where the first German football champion comes from, or Munich, which holds the record title or Dortmund, where the German Football Museum is located. So apart from everything, football also plays a certain role in Frankfurt, for better or for worse.

On the one hand, there is the unity that makes Frankfurt happy. DFB Cup winners, Europa League winners, Champions League participants, thanks to Eintracht, the city has recently experienced great sporting years, even if the exit in the DFB Cup against third division club Saarbrücken now has to be digested. Honor where honor is due, which is why a lot of the Christmas market revolves around unity. On the one hand, there is Sonny, the Christmas spruce, which was not only sponsored by the club, but is named in memory of the long-time Eintracht fan Helmut Sonneberg, who survived the Holocaust and died last February at the age of 91.

On the Christmas market cup, the connection between the city of football and its unity is celebrated less opulently, on the inside and more symbolically: with a playing field, a heart, a football and the motto “In the heart of Europe”. If the cup is full to the brim, little of the unity commitment can be seen. You also can’t tell when someone starts sniffing at exactly that spot. Well, the latter could also be interpreted like this: unity is on everyone’s lips.

Jan Ehrhardt Published/Updated: , Recommendations: 14 A comment from Christopher Meltzer, Munich Published/Updated: , Recommendations: 8 A comment from Anno Hecker Published/Updated: Recommendations: 49

Without wanting to ruin the celebration for all fans of Eintracht and Christmas: if “problem city of football” was written on the cups, it would be an own goal in terms of marketing, but it wouldn’t be wrong. The Eintracht Ultras may be well-liked by the club and its leadership because of their atmosphere in the stadium; Impartial observers and security forces of all kinds are horrified by the brutal energy of many ultras and hooligans.

The problems that the German Football Association (DFB) is creating at its headquarters in Niederrad and that are causing it problems seem comparatively harmless. Chic campus, nothing behind it, comes to mind when you look back at the national team’s predominantly joyless performances in recent years under three different coaches. At the moment it is difficult to make a big deal out of the DFB campus as an important part of the city of football; Except for the U-17 world champions, at least for the time being.

The actual message of the cup

We can only hope that the nail team will now get the hang of things so that Frankfurt doesn’t become the Waterloo of German football on June 23, 2024. Because on this day, Kevin Trapp and the other DFB players are welcoming Switzerland out in the city forest for the last game of European Championship Group A. It’s going to go wrong.

In general, the European Championship is the actual message of the cup: the striking buildings, in front of which a football lies as if draped (or floats on the Main?), are intended to emphasize Frankfurt’s important role in the tournament. Or, to put it in Roman English: “As the host city of EURO 2024, Frankfurt am Main will celebrate football.” Followed by a mulled wine, according to the motto of the legendary soccer striker Adi Preißler: “All theory in life is gray – but What matters is inside the cup.”


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