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Munich longing for the football miracle


One of the biggest game days in club history begins with a special march. On this Friday afternoon, the fans of TSV 1860 Munich meet at a square in the Giesing district to walk together to the legendary stadium on Grünwalder Straße. 8.45 p.m. (ZDF and Sky) receives the traditional third division club Borussia Dortmund – it is the top game of the first round in the DFB Cup.

With 15,000 spectators, the venue, which opened in 1911 and was built for 14,000 marks, is sold out, the club could have sold more than 55,000 tickets, and the tickets were sold within minutes. In the stadium, the cult club succeeded in winning the German championship in 1966.

The scoreboard is still operated by hand, hit star Patrick Lindner lives directly opposite and could follow the game from his balcony. Even special power units are required for the game. A stadium as a myth. It’s an evening for football romantics. And 1860 believes in the sensation. “If we didn’t have a chance, I would change my job,” says coach Michael Köllner.

In the last cup season, the Munich team made it to the round of 16 of the competition, beating FC Schalke 04, among others. “In Dortmund, a player costs as much as our entire squad,” says Köllner. “A game like this is a dream for us. The cup competition means that the favorite does not always win. Things happen there that would otherwise not be possible.”

In 2017, the Bavarian club was even relegated to the regional league and has not played in the FC Bayern stadium on the outskirts of the city since then. This season is the fifth attempt to get promoted to the second Bundesliga. Last weekend, 1860 won 4-3 in the league at Dynamo Dresden, for Dortmund the cup game is the first competitive game of the season.

The people of Munich rely on the fact that they are already more experienced than the stars around Mats Hummels, Niklas Süle and Karim Adeyemi. “A win against Dortmund could also be the initial spark for the league,” says Günther Gorenzel, the club’s sporting director.

1860, the special association. For years there was chaos and power struggles surrounding the Jordanian investor Hasan Ismaik, with whom the Bureau has no direct contact, but invited him to the cup game. President Robert Reisinger follows the first half of every game from the back straight and knows every fan in the block.

Coach Köllner has a special ritual: After every game, he walks the 1.3 kilometers from the stadium to the training ground, where the VIP area is located. “1860 has developed well in the past two years,” says BVB coach Edin Terzic. “They carried over the course of the past season into the new season.”

After the tumor operation on star signing Sébastien Haller, Dortmund are worried about a bumpy start to the season. With all understanding for the great dismay, Terzic implores his pros to focus on the game: “Our thoughts are with him every day. But no one will pay any more attention to that from Friday. We have to deal with it professionally.” In addition to Haller, he has to do without Salih Özcan, Tom Rothe and Felix Passlack.

Béla Réthy annotates the game for ZDF. And puts in an extra shift in preparation: “1860 against Dortmund takes twice as long as, for example, Real against Liverpool. I have to get in touch with the third division club.” On the day of the match, he talks to Köllner.

The most famous name in the 1860 squad is defender Jesper Verlaat, son of Dutch ex-professional Frank Verlaat, who played for VfB Stuttgart and Werder Bremen, among others. According to transfermarkt.de, no player in the team has a market value higher than 400,000 euros, a key player is striker Marcel Bär, who has a fitness deficit after a corona disease.

“We will have to suffer a lot,” says Köllner. “Every time the pain comes in the calf or thigh, the audience is asked. It’s going to be a football festival, that’s what people long for here.”