Roker Report Road Trip: Next Stop... Arminia Bielefeld

BIELEFELD GERMANY - JANUARY 30: Supporters of Bielefeld cheer their team during the Second Bundesliga match between Arminia Bielefeld and Hertha BSC Berlin at the Schueco Arena on January 30 2011 in Bielefeld Germany. (Photo by Thomas Starke/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Following on from Wednesday’s successful trip to

Bootham Crescent
, Michael Graham has handed over the keys to the Roker Report Robin Reliant to our good friends over at Seventy3 Magazine who are lucky enough to be following Sunderland over the course of their short trip to Germany. Although if we’re being honest they’ll probably ditch it outside Ponteland International before ordering a Mojito in the first class departure lounge. The lads have been kind enough to give us a little round up of the games

Tomorrow sees Steve Bruce’s Sunderland take on Arminia Bielefeld at the Schuco Arena, or the Bielefelder Alm Stadium as it was known before the rights were sold for sponsorship euro’s.

Want to know where to go, what to do and most importantly where to sample an ale or ten? Of course you do, that’s why you’re here! Read on intrepid travellers!

CLUB

Arminia Bielefeld, whilst most commonly known for their exploits on the football field also operate as a sports club, competing in the likes of field hockey, figure skating and even cue sports. Lets hope the lads have arranged to play the correct sport here, although watching Titus Bramble figure skate could be worth the admission fee itself.

Founded in 1905 the German outfit find themselves in the third tier of the national league following relegation last term. Relegation is nothing new to the side as, a bit like ourselves, in recent history they have become some what of a "yo-yo club" and hold the record for the number of promotions to the Bundesliga: Seven.

If relegation wasn't enough to concern the Bielefeld fans the financial cloud which hangs over the Stadium certainly will. Reportedly over 27m euros in the red has forced the club to re-apply for a league licence to allow them to compete in the third division next term.

STADIUM

The Schuco Arena was opened in 1926 and has undergone a number of renovations over the years, most recently in 2007 with the completion of the new main stand, which increased the capacity to 28,000.

The new main stand itself is home to a number of architectural innovations the club are proud of, including an energy saving solar roof which generates electricity for the Stadium and also a number of offices for lease.

Watch out when parking around the stadium, as the Polizei are likely to give you a ticket just because they feel like it, as detailed here.

Us for us away fans, you'll be in their version of the South Stand, on a rather steep stand in what I'd say is a 'proper' stadium. they do do them well over in Germany I must say. Have a look at the view you'll have in the Schuco Arena here.

CITY

Bielefeld, with a population of around 330,000 people, is regarded as one of the top twenty major cities in Germany. Travelling fans should have no problems commuting around the city as it is well served with their version of the Metro, the Bielefeld Stadtbahn. Although I’d assume given German efficiency and all that the Bielefeld counterpart will be on time and wont smell of stale piss.

The most famous tourist point of interest Bielefeld has to offer is the SparrenburgCastle which sits high above the city on, you guessed it Sparrenburg Hill.

PUBS

The ground itself is a short distance away from the City Centre, so the best bet would seem to be not to venture to far from the bright lights if you are after an ale or too before, or after kick off.

Bielefeld has a lot to offer by the ways of watering holes, as you’d expect, ranging from live music at the Extra Blues Bar, the American themed New Orleans Bar and Edelweiss Lounge and Bar, which screen the live football, so it can be assumed they are away fan friendly. 

PLAYED FOR BOTH

Believe it or not I was unable to unearth any gems that may have graced both sides... but former Boro midfielder Christian Ziege was in charge of our German opponents until he was given the push last November in favour of Ewald Lienen.

So stay tuned over the course of the German tour for more previews should you be making the trip and for the low down on what went on at the games from our amigos' Seventy3.

Much thanks to Andy Hudson of Gannin' Away too for going to Bielefeld once and telling us all about it. Read his rather marvellous blog here.

The newest Roker Report Podcast is out, so grab it from here – http://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-roker-report-podcast-www/id437085978

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