Niners Chemnitz Fans: The Heart and Soul of the Team

April 4, 2024, 3:24 p.m

The Niners Chemnitz basketball players are currently celebrating one success after another. Not only are they currently in second place in the 1st Basketball Bundesliga, but on Wednesday they were also happy about reaching the final of the Europe Cup in front of a sold-out hall. Always at your side: loud fans. What fascinates you about this ball game and this team? MDR SACHSEN went looking for clues during the semi-final game.

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The first Niners Chemnitz fans stream into the exhibition hall 90 minutes before the game starts. The dream of reaching the final of the Europe Cup should come true. Erik Haase-Burkhardt from Chemnitz always comes with his family. He has attended every home game of his club since 2015. He has been attending basketball games irregularly since 2007. “Everyone in my family shares a passion for basketball and the Niners,” he says. “The atmosphere in the hall simply sweeps you away.”

Cheering and hustle and bustle – preferably while standing

By atmosphere, the 43-year-old means the loud crowd of fans. This begins when the team arrives shortly before the start of the game: all the spectators stand, clap, the hall announcer announces the players by their first names and the hall reflexively shouts the last name with great fervor. All of this so loud that you can no longer understand your own words.

Most fans stay standing throughout the game. They are there with emotions. There is clapping to the rhythm of the fan club drums, “Defense!” shouted in defense and cheered loudly when the team’s shot hit the basket. If a ball goes wrong, the audience collectively groans. But immediately afterwards the team gets fired up.

“It’s also the team spirit of the team that inspires me,” says Haase-Burkhardt. “This year the chemistry between the players is just right.”

Erik Haase-Burkhardt has been coming to the Niners Chemnitz home games with the whole family for many years. Image rights: MDR/Anett Linke

Niners games as mother-daughter time

Sara Weiß has been supporting “her” Niners for years. “I always go with my mother,” says the 14-year-old. “It’s our mother-daughter thing.” For them too, the atmosphere in the hall is the highlight of every game. “The fans are just wonderful.” She herself cheers on the team loudly at every game.

I always go with my mother. This is our mother-daughter thing.

Sara White | Niners fan

For 14-year-old Sara Weiß, the atmosphere in the hall is always the highlight of every game. Image rights: MDR/Anett Linke

Basketball hall as a second home

Ingo Löffler from Chemnitz can no longer remember exactly how long he has been a fan of the Niners. “I would say 15 years plus.” He loves the way Chemnitz plays. “There aren’t one or two superstars, but real team basketball is played,” he tries to explain the fascination.

In addition to the sport itself, it’s all about the everything surrounding it, why he comes back to every game. “When I come into the hall, it’s like coming home,” says the 44-year-old. On the way to his regular spot, he often stops to high-five other fans, hug them or have a quick chat. “Deep friendships have been formed here.”

When I come into the hall it’s like coming home. Deep friendships have been formed here.

Ingo Löffler | Niners Fan

Löffler has been in the Niners fan club, the “Chemnitz Crew,” for around ten years. “I drum, at first only at away games, but for a while now at home games too,” he says. He also helps with flag waving, organizes rooms for fan campaigns and paints banners with sayings like “Once Chemnitz, always Chemnitz”.

“No matter what’s needed, I’m there,” says Löffler with a laugh. He lives his life as a fan regardless of the current team composition (in basketball there is a high turnover of players), but “for the club and the structure”.

Ingo Löffler drums in the fan club at home and away games. Image rights: MDR/Anett Linke

Haven’t missed more than 20 home games in over 20 years

This is also the case for Maxi Ottlinger, who has been a loyal fan of the basketball players for more than 20 years. “I’ve been a fan for more than half of my life and have missed less than 20 home games during that time,” says the 36-year-old. She experienced all the ups and downs with the team. “The depths bring us fans together even more.”

When you shed tears together because promotion wasn’t achieved twice and then even the players try to console the fans, those are special moments.

Maxi Ottlinger | Niners-Fan

When you shed tears together because promotion wasn’t achieved twice and then even the players try to console the fans, those are special moments. The Niners stadium is a kind of home for them too. “You come here and you basically sit in your chair,” she says. “It’s like family. The Niners bring people together and I’ve made friends for life.”

Maxi Ottlinger has not missed more than 20 of her team’s home games in more than 20 years. Image rights: MDR/Anett Linke

Positive external impact for the city of Chemnitz

All four fans agree that the Niners’ success has a positive effect on Chemnitz. “Chemnitz is perceived from the outside in a more differentiated and different way,” says Löffler. “It is seen that we are open and diverse.” Ottlinger is also happy about a more positive image of her city. “This success for the Niners is a different figurehead than that of recent years.”

On Wednesday evening, the big scoreboards in the exhibition hall ultimately showed defeat. The red numbers show 73:82. Nevertheless, cheers gradually begin. “It was enough. The Niners are in the final of the Europe Cup,” shouts the hall announcer. Haase-Burkhardt, Weiß, Löffler and Ottlinger can’t really grasp it yet. But joy shines from her eyes. And they sing together with the whole hall: “Finale, ooh oh. Finale ooh oh”.

more on the subject

This topic in the program:MDR SAXONY | MDR SACHSENSPIEGEL | April 3, 2024 | 7:00 p.m

2024-04-04 13:24:58
#Niners #Chemnitz #inspire #fans


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