The Battle of Europe - Germany against England was coming to Singapore in November 2016.
Thanks to Brotzeit, three committee members of our Fanclub had the chance to participate in an exclusive Meet & Greet with the players at the Marriott Hotel on November 9th, 2016. It was supposed to start around 7.30pm, so we got there a little early. Walking up the stairs to get to the venue, we already saw a crowd of people surrounding someone, assuming it was one of the players. When we got a glance, we realized it was Kalle Riedle. We quickly caught up and Francesco explained that we are from 1. VfB Stuttgart Fanclub Asia - and since Kalle knows Hartmut, the president of our Fanclub, the picture was ours!
Picture (from left): Sandra - Vice President (acting), Gerhard - Treasurer (acting), "Kalle", Francesco (Treasurer)
Immediately after, we recognized Alex Zickler at the bar, former striker from Munich and Salzburg, born in Bad Salzungen - just like our new Vice President. After a nice chat and some drinks we found out that he is currently working on his coaching certificate - well Stuttgart might be an option then one day. 😊 Through him, we also found out that most of the players have just arrived about an hour ago and would stay for about 5 days.
Soon, more and more players started to show up and next one we ended up talking to was Jens Nowotny, former defender of Bayer Leverkusen. Currently just enjoying time with his family, he ended up to be a very honest and interesting person to talk to. Especially topics like fan culture and tradition were discussed, highlighting that RB Leipzig is not such a new phenomenon to the Bundesliga. The "Werksclubs" have been here before and are meanwhile well established. But, are they really needed?
Picture (from left): Sandra, Jens, Gerhard, Francesco
Next one showing up was Patrick Owomeyla. Picture (from left): Francesco, Patrick, Gerhard, Sandra
And then the first of the VfB Stuttgart players we have been waiting for showed up: Guido "Diego" Buchwald! Guido was surprised of the number of Fanclub members of 1. VfB Stuttgart Fanclub Asia since the average OFC (Official Fan Club) in Germany has only 32 members. Holding back a bit initially, but a very nice personality, he took a lot of time to answer our questions and to engage in an interesting conversation. Picture (from left): Francesco, "Diego", Sandra, Gerhard
Then we had to go inside, all the players were going up on the stage and were about to be introduced. Honestly, most of the English players we did not recognize, sorry.
And another VfB Stuttgart player! Although, Timo Hildebrand was arriving late. After the introduction we tried to get a picture with him, he was a bit hesitant and seemed like he didn't really want to be there, which was a pity. Later we found out that there has been some family issues, which also caused him to leave earlier and, unfortunately, also to miss the game. We wish him and his family all the best! Picture (front from left): Sandra, Timo, Francesco, Gerhard
Suresh, Chief Representative Asia of Borussia Dortmund in Singapore, was also present, together with the BVB marketing boss Carsten Kramer. Carsten was very surprised about the amount of members. "107? Really? Are you paying them?" Oh well...Dortmund humor. 😊 Well, we believe "BVB Fans of Singapore" has been working hard to catch up! 😊😊😊
Later, from Jörg Heinrich we find out that Darius Wosz is not joining the game as he became a dad the day before. Congratulations!
Of course, we want our picture with Lothar, but unfortunately he does not show up all night.
Guido later drinks some wine with us and is obviously enjoying the Swabian company with Francesco and Gerhard. They drink white wine and red wine, we take pictures and get some more information about the trip.
Picture left: VfB Stuttgart's scout and representative for internationalisation in Asia discussing finances of 1. VfB Stuttgart Fanclub Asia with its Treasurer (acting) / Picture right: Expanding the discussion on general strategy in Asia with the Fanclub's Vice President (acting)
Later, after almost everyone left, a few of the German players come to have some more food and drinks. We get our picture with Mario Basler, talk a few more words with Guido and leave. Our advantage: we had loads of questions and a mission. Most of the other invitees just wanted pictures and autographs. That's it. Therefore, as some of the few Germans at the event, we had really nice and interesting talks, yummie food and good wine.
BTW: The game ended up 4:2 for England. Both goals for Germany scored by Fredi Bobic. Lothar played for about 15 minutes and then just disappeared. In the end (again) it was some of the other players, especially Guido Buchwald, Patrick Owomoyela and Mario Basler, who took some time to stay and give autographs and take pictures with the fans for almost an hour.