It’s here again already!
Newcastle United’s series of pre season fixtures starts this evening in Chemnitz, as the Magpies kick off their European tour, playing six games (if you count one against the Dutch Den Haag which is yet to be officially confirmed). Two of the games will be played in Germany, one in Hungary and two in Portugal, though not necessarily against local sides.
The teams will be Chemitzer at their place in Saxony, AS Monaco in Bavaria, Fenerbahçe in Hungary, Olympiacos and SC Braga at Braga’s unusual Estádio Municipal de Braga, which has a huge rockface at one side of the stadium instead of the usual terracing. Finally the as yet unconfirmed one against ADO Den Haag will be played at Den Haag’s Kyocera Stadium in the the Hague. Although not officially confirmed by NUFC, the game has been definitely been confirmed by Den Haag.
Finally (for the moment), back in the UK, there will be another “Battle of the Birds” as the Magpies take on the Bluebirds of Cardiff City at their place, and the reserves / bairns will also take on Gatesheed at the Intenational Stadium.
So, starting at the beginning, lets look at the details for each fixture individually, starting with this evening’s game in Chemnitz.
Chemnitzer v Newcastle United.
Date: Friday, 13th July (Today)
Venue: Stadion an der Gellertstraße, Chemnitz, Saxony, Germany
Kick off: 6.30pm local time / 5.30pm UK Time
UK TV: None, but I’ll check if there’s a stream gannin’ and post it if I find anything.
Possible live stream: Saxon TV.
If any of you read my piece from yesterday, you will know that personally I despise the idea of this particular fixture in East Germany’s neo nazi heartland, against a Saxon lower league side where the far right ethos is well entrenched. The idea of sending a load of African and Muslim bairns such as Mehdi Abeid and Gael Bigirimana to play in front of a crowd which includes a rabble of seig heiling neo nazis at a tiny lower league side with little security is not good, but it’s happening.
Getting back to the football however, Chemnitzer play in Germany’s 3rd Liga, the third level of German football and hence, the equivalent of our League One, so it should be a nice, easy start for the lads. Last season, Chemnitzer finished 9th in their division.
Although a lowly third rate team, it has a significant history, and was one of the founders of the DFB (Deutscher Fußball-Bund or German Football Association) in 1900. Perhaps the most notable and familiar player to come out of Chemnitzer was legendary midfielder and Germany captain, Michael Ballack, who started training with the club in 1983 as a seven year old during the Communist period in East Germany, when the club, and the town of Chemnitz, was known as “Karl Marx Stadt”. He subsequently left many years later in 1997, going on to play with FC Kaiserslautern, Bayer Leverkusen, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, then back to Bayer Leverkusen. He also picked up 98 caps with the German national side.
AS Monaco v Newcastle United.Date: Monday, 16th July
Venue: Hacker-Pschoor Arena, Landsberg am Lech, Bavaria, Germany
Kick off: 7pm local time / 6pm UK time
Tickets: Available on the day from the stadium at 5.30pm. (Adults €10, Youths (13-17) €6, Child (0-12) FREE.
UK TV: Live on ESPN UK.
A bit of a step up from the previous opponents, as the Toon take on the French ex giants who are currently languishing in Ligue 2, having only managed a ninth placed finish there last season.
This one will take place in the Hacker-Pschoor Arena in Bavaria, “Hacker-Pschorr” being a local Bavarian beer. The “Arena” bit refers to ice rink which houses Ice hockey team, EC Bad Tolz. The football part is basically just a pitch with a very small stand somewhere in the middle on one side. The beer should be nice there though.
As suggested above, the club have a fine history of course, with a whole host of club legends, trophies and famous ex-managers, including Arsenal’s “Le Professeur,” Arsene Wenger. Their trophy haul in the past includes seven French League titles and five French cups, one French League cup and two runners up medals in the Champions League. Their new manager will no doubt be familiar to most of you out there as it’s ex Chelsea manager, Claudio “Tinkerman” Ranieri, who will, no doubt, be hoping to take them back up to the highest tier at the first attempt. As to whether Graham “Fatty Man” Carr will be there with his notepad on another French poaching mission hasn’t been mentioned.
The second and concluding part will appear later this afternoon.