Here Comes the World Cup

I am sure you already know this, but as of the time of my writing, the World Cup begins in 22 days. In just over 3 weeks, soccer fever will consume Germany and much of the rest of the world. Are you ready?

If you are new to Germany and have arrived from North America, you might not be. The World Cup is big. Bigger than the Superbowl. And longer, more exciting, and more fun. “How can that be?”, you may ask. “Nothing is bigger than the Superbowl!”, you may say. This is something you must experience to believe.

Beginning June 12th at 5pm Sao Paolo time (10pm German time), you can spend your waking (and sleeping) hours consumed with the game of soccer. Lest you fear you will have to sit at home in front of your TV all day, rest assured: many workplaces will broadcast it in-house. All pubs will show the matches. And there is “public viewing” – the German notion of gathering in public squares to watch matches on giant screens, together. With beer. This is more fun than it sounds! (“public viewing” for Germans involves watching sports together in public, and is an awkward example of Germans adopting English words and giving them new meanings).

For the 2006 World Cup, held in Germany, the country began putting up screens in city squares (or fields in the countryside!) for people to watch the games together. It turns out that Germans really enjoy this activity (unsurprisingly!). Soccer on the big screen, food and beverages for sale, friends and acquaintances all gathered in one boisterous area. If you are looking for a place to go and meet people and have fun relaxing with Germans, then a public viewing option might be your best bet!

I have done  a little World Cup preparation research for you. Here is the schedule of games on network television in Germany. Here are locations in some major cities that will have public soccer viewing available:

  • Berlin (so many possibilities!!)
  • Hamburg
  • Munich (at the stadium)
  • Düsseldorf (looking out over the water!)
  • Frankfurt (world’s largest screen!)
  • Cologne (pubs included in this list)
  • Stuttgart (No link? Yep. Look for a pub or Biergarten.)
  • Essen (Also nothing so far. They might change their minds!)
  • Dortmund (at Friedensplatz)
  • Bremen (in the stadium)

Amazingly, but not surprisingly, the German government has already relaxed the laws for noise pollution after-hours during the World Cup games. Because of the often late kickoff times, fans may be celebrating late into the night, and for the season of soccer, this is officially allowed. Bless their understanding of human nature – and their desire to make it official. This is why many of the public screens are now located in stadiums – it will help with the noise late at night.

Enjoy this year’s tournament and may the best team win (or the USA. Not that I’m partial or anything. US v Germany on June 26th at 13:00 local time / 18:00 German time!)

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