Bring on the German experience
Three days in and the snow has already started.
Berlin in the winter seems a formidable place, but the excitement and vitality coursing through the city is unlikely to diminish, whatever the elements.
ThatÃ¢ÂÂs what I kept telling myself anyway, before my first trip to a Bundesliga game.
IÃ¢ÂÂm in Berlin for two months, a Brit out of water, doing work experience at German football magazine 11 Freunde (11 Friends) Ã¢ÂÂ a very fun magazine, somewhere between When Saturday Comes and our own dear FourFourTwo.
Its office above a theatre in the former East Berlin is a great vantage point, not only from which to watch the snow tipping down, but also from which to contemplate the idiosyncrasies of German football and the fans who follow it.
I think it would be fair to say that German football is something of an enigma to us Brits.
We suspect that the quality might not actually be that great (Exhibit A: Andriy VoroninÃ¢ÂÂs 11-goal success last season), but weÃ¢ÂÂre jealous of the cheap safe standing, the beers and the bratwurst Ã¢ÂÂ three reasons to make you forget any technical deficiencies.
The Germans, in turn, cast an admiring gaze our way: English football seems popular here.
I had a meeting recently with a Lieutenant-Colonel from the Bundeswehr (German army), and the first thing he did was slap me on the back and say, Ã¢ÂÂHallo Herr Chalk, IÃ¢ÂÂm huge Blades fan!Ã¢ÂÂ
He was, in fact, the first Sheffield United fan IÃ¢ÂÂd met.
My colleagues in the office here are also impressed by the creativeness of English chants Ã¢ÂÂ especially the one Spurs fans had, willingly offering up their wives to Paul Stalteri.
Whether Borussia MÃÂ¶nchengladbach supporters are as generous to their current right-back, I can only wonder, but shall endeavour to find out.
Meanwhile, if there is anything about German football culture that has you scratching your head, be sure to ask.
IÃ¢ÂÂm certainly no expert yet, but finding out the answers is bound to be an adventure.
As they say here, Los jetzt! Ã¢ÂÂ Bring it on!
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