900 supporters on the move for Champions League return
NEWS 16 Sep 2019 - Supporters' Clubs World Confederation
Culés are on their way to Germany for the game versus Borussia Dortmund
The Champions League is back and midweek football is back. Meetings between old friends and the chance to admire our style together. The nerves back too and so are the massive movements of Barça fans from all around the continent to support our teams and feel the blaugrana colours. For tomorrow’s game against Borussia Dortmund, Supportes' Clubs World Confederation is taking 910 supporters from all around Europe.
At 9pm CEST, the referee’s whistle will blow to start another European campaign. Signal Iduna Park is handy enough for the 50 Germany-based ‘penyistes’ who will be attending the match, representing PB “Berlín Culé”, PB Frankfurt and PB Bayerischer.
Poland has traditionally been one of the top countries for sending away supporters, and with Germany touching its borders, we have 350 ‘penyistes’ coming from that country, half of them from Fan Club Barça Polska and the other half from PB Poznan. Geographical proximity is also the reason why Belgium is next on the list with 170 fans from Penya Fanatiek FC Barcelona, PB Casal Català de Brussel·les, PB Liege, PB Knokke-Heist and PB Gante, in that order of numbers. And Holland is supplying another 80 supporters from the supporters’ club Penya La Maquina Blaugrana.
From further afield, we have 26 supporters flying in from PB Tel Aviv, two from Russian PB Sant Petersburg and even support from Penya Ànima Blaugrana de Shanghai in China.
Barça fans in Germany
FC Barcelona’s first German supporters’ club was founded in Berlin in 1998, the Penya Barcelonista “Berlín Culé” formed by six Berliners who had all spent time living in Barcelona, and their love of the club “has remained intact until today”. It all started just as a gang of friends who’d meet to watch Barça games on TV, but over the years the PBBC has become a meeting point for other supporters living in the German capital, either living there or just visiting. Huge gatherings have been organised for top matches, and its members claim: “There is no better place in the city to see Barça in a fantastic atmosphere of brotherhood”.
There is also the Penya Azulgrana Frankfurt, founded in 2009 and which turned official a year later and which currently boasts 140 ‘penyistes’. As well as being a focus for supporting the team, the club also organises social, sporting and cultural events and has frequently appeared in football competitions against other German and Polish penyes. It also held a travelling photo exhibition about the club’s history consisting of more than 100 pictures that were even displayed in the city hall.
Founded in 2013, the newest German addition to the supporters’ clubs movement is Bayerischer Penya Blaugrana, formed by a hundred fans, many from Catalonia who moved to Germany in search of better job opportunities, and which celebrates its anniversary each year on Sant Jordi. It organises joint meetings with other German ‘penyes’, including for Oktoberfest and plays on football tournaments. They get together to watch Barça matches “but we miss the atmosphere, especially for big matches, which is why we decided to become Barça ambassadors”, says Jordi Sabater, vice-president of the club. “Barça unites”, he says, and “keeps us connected with Catalonia.”
First international meeting of the season
In the build-up to the game, the World Federation is holding an event at the restaurant Mit Schmackes, founded by the footballer Kevin Großkreutz. Midway between the city centre and the stadium, the venue has been block booked for Barça fans only from noon onwards tomorrow, and can be used as a meeting point all day. And to find out more about the city dubbed the “capital of football”, and to learn more about the sport in the country, visitors are advised to pop along to the German Football Museum: this interactive space in the centre of Dortmund is packed with curious exhibits and is well worth a visit.
Finally, all ‘penyistes’ who have yet to collect their tickets are remind that the collection point in Dortmund is open tomorrow from 11am to 7pm at Steigenberger Hotel Dortmund.