Holstein Kiel: That Liverpool feeling of being left behind

In our columnGreen space

Christof Siemes, Anna Kemper, Oliver Fritsch and Stephan Reich take turns writing about the world of football and the world of football. This article is part of

TIME on the weekendissue 20/2024.

On the city’s website everything is still the same. “Kiel. Sailing. City.” is still at the top of the page, no trace of football, all the way down to the imprint – nothing, not even a stork’s leg-red sock, sorry, a pair of socks, is visible between the current reports. These are “Secure funding for cooling devices now” or “Traffic surveillance bicycle squad now in action”.

So what kind of football location is this that is home to Schleswig-Holstein’s first first division team of all time?

I was only in Kiel once, on a school trip; it must have been in the spring of 1978. None of us wanted to go there, but our class teacher’s boyfriend lived there, which sealed our fate. The city seemed just as desolate and war-torn to me as my hometown of Mönchengladbach, but at least we were the reigning German champions and Holstein Kiel were only in the third league. I remember going down into the belly of the submarine at the Laboe naval memorial and my first binge drinking in the youth hostel, but that was it. I need more Kiel expertise – maybe the man and friend who reinvented German literature in Kiel can help.

“You’re pretty pretty, especially here, dressed in a sailor’s jacket and blessed with the real name typical of the north, you live like a wind mixture of peat and turbines, and you hold your head between your armpits as if your skull were just part of your anatomy. ” Writes Feridun Zaimoğlu in his short story Kiel feats: “A couple of naughty excursion Danes, three four country brats from Pinneberg and daddy after work and a well-known psycho who gnaws on a piece of power cable: they know each other, the horse and rider are known, and everyone looks like misery-poppers, as if in a big manly way pretty Hüttenhuber.” That was 2001. Zaimoğlu had made his debut six years earlier Kanak Sprak – 24 discordant sounds from the fringes of society invented a new German sound, distilled from the gibberish, jargon and vivid talk of “guest worker children” like himself, second-generation immigrants that he had picked up in his environment – in Kiel.

Forty years ago, the writer moved to the fjord because he got a place to study medicine there. “I was stupid enough to assume that I would lose it if I went to another city,” he tells me on the phone on the way to a reading. “I actually wanted to leave – but strangely enough, I liked it there. And now, after forty years, I can rightly say that I live in Kiel. They say: the Kiel people’s spirits only awaken when the freezing rain hits them Face claps And that’s how it was with me: the north is mine.” The fact that this attitude to life can result in a footballing advantage has been known throughout Germany since the icy January wind whipped the snowflakes across the Holstein Stadium three years ago and blew Bayern Munich out of the DFB Cup in the second round.

Newsletter

By registering, you acknowledge the data protection declaration.

Check your mailbox and confirm your newsletter subscription.

Zaimoğlu wasn’t in the stadium yet. “But I’m by no means the only honk – many were surprised when Holstein started to rise to the top. For a long time, we only knew that there was a football club, just like there is a bowling club. Handball plays the first fiddle here – you have to see how the fans make a pilgrimage to the Ostseehalle in the city center: Where do they all come from?” The football stadium is offside behind the Nordfriedhof, almost strangled by the bizarre intersection of two federal highways – you won’t be sucked there so easily, you have to want that.

“The Kieler himself is quite matter-of-fact,” says Zaimoğlu, “there is hardly anything else he can do. That’s why so many people are now downright astonished by the success, because they had to accept so much else: the shops dying, the decline of the inner-city culture, the exodus of young people. Also the ugliness of the city. People didn’t really see this success coming. It’s really unusual for me to talk about it The local politicians might disagree – it’s really hard to live here. For them, such a success has an emotional value. It’s that Liverpool feeling of being left behind, saying: Now we’ve done it.

And it was precisely this marginality that motivated Zaimoğlu to stay in Kiel. “Flensburg is actually Denmark – we Kielers are like the last Germans. You’re a bit like the newt in the periphery. You can do phenomenology in peace and quiet.” For the city and the writer, it has become a mutual deal: she and her staff, all the would-be rappers, flea market dealers and small-time crooks with the “rust of attrition” on their faces, helped him achieve his literary breakthrough. For this he has immortalized her on the map of literature. “There are a lot of immigrants here, late Germans, marginalized people. German conditions. And that’s how a German language phenomenon emerged, Children Sprakwhich I then put down on paper.”

Will the proud defiance of everything that happens further south also fuel Bundesliga novices Holstein Kiel? The poetic newt does not allow himself to judge this, even if he himself played when he was young. “It started very poorly, on a soccer field in Munich-Moosach, where I also went to school. I was a very untalented center forward who hung around the front like a violinist and just made sure that he didn’t fall into the offside trap and one Flank waited to then really hammer the thing in. So I wasn’t really interested in playing together, I wasn’t very quick either.

So the man fits the club: In the statistics with the most sprints in the second league, Holstein Kiel is way up there, in third place. But will the storks have enough air for cross-country skiing through a season in the first league? In some of the performance categories of their promotion season they are only above average, others ran more, won more duels and made more passes. In the “Fouls on the Opponent” ranking you also get on the podium. So the other 17 first division teams will have to dress warmly when they visit Kiel and the freezing rain will whistle through the Holstein Stadium again in early winter at the latest. And, as it is in the Kiel art pieces means “the tough guys stir their coffee with their index finger”.

In our columnGreen space

Christof Siemes, Anna Kemper, Oliver Fritsch and Stephan Reich take turns writing about the world of football and the world of football. This article is part of

TIME on the weekendissue 20/2024.

On the city’s website everything is still the same. “Kiel. Sailing. City.” is still at the top of the page, no trace of football, all the way down to the imprint – nothing, not even a stork’s leg-red sock, sorry, a pair of socks, is visible between the current reports. These are “Secure funding for cooling devices now” or “Traffic surveillance bicycle squad now in action”.

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *