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Cologne – FC Köln and Bayer Leverkusen

Posted by on October 13, 2018

Cologne (or the German spelling being: Köln) is a great industrial city in Germany that has a lot of history in it with its origins dating back to the Roman Empire days. Again, due to Germany’s involvement in World War II, Cologne got bombed heavily because it used to be one of the main German Military’s headquarters so much of the city got blown up. It has since then made a huge recovery as one of the big Rhine River area cities in Germany.

In addition to the famous Cologne Cathedral, there are bits and pieces of Roman architecture around the city, but I think the true highlights have to be the two football teams in the area: FC Köln and Bayer Leverkusen.

dom koln cologne german famous behrug tall old architecture religious religion protestant

Cologne Cathedral, right next to Cologne’s main train station. So if you happen to take the train to here, you’ll easily spot the huge cathedral sticking out at you.

FC Köln play in RheinEnergieStadion which is in the western part of the city and the people really support the team even with the presence of two other professional teams in the city: FC Viktoria Köln 1904 and SC Fortuna Köln.

RheinEnergieStadion Koln Cologne football fussball team equipo futbol religion

If you have a paper ticket, you can take the trolley to get to the game since it’s quite far west from the city center. On a nice, sunny day, people were lounging around like it was a day at the beach.

inside drinnen stadium stadion estadio cologne club

What the inside of the stadium looks like. I was told that this was one of the must-see-stadiums-in-Europe. It definitely was neat to go to.

fc koln paderborn game play spiel fussball

With everyone in their seats, people were fired up and ready to see the game get started.

Bayer Leverkusen actually do not play in Cologne but it’s nearby and accessible via train 15 minutes since the city is relatively in the same area as Cologne. As their name states, the team plays in Leverkusen, but in a stadium that looks brand new called BayArena.

BayArena Leverkusen football fussball stadion stadium rhine river sport soccer germany west

BayArena on a nice sunny day to go out to watch the team play.

inside stadium arena german club football sports

They got even a nice inside part of the stadium to let the sun and wind in. I can’t imagine that cold feeling during the winter months though… brrrr!

on the pitch sunny day great weather cologne rhine river

I went to a Leverkusen vs Frankfurt game where I saw my first hat trick – Kevin Volland put in 3 to do in, Eintracht Frankfurt.

Unfortunately, despite Bayer Leverkusen having above average results year in, year out, the team has never really been able to win a lot of trophies, having only won two major trophies as of the end of 2018. English media dubbed them as Bayer Neverkusen because their inability to have NEVER win anything big other than being “almost champions” aka 2nd place aka first place losers. For example, people thought that they would have a good year in the 2011-12 season but only to face FC Barcelona and watch Messi score 5 goals in one game. Barca almost had two hat-trick scorers (Messi had 5 and Cristian Tello had 2 with almost a third late) in that game by the way.

I would have to say the Billygoats (FC Köln’s mascot) has been the more successful club when it comes to trophies despite them being relegated more times with the last one seeing them relegated at the end of the 2017-18 season. Overall, in the Rhine-Ruhr area, there are several big-time teams that consider themselves big local rivals so it’s not just FC Köln and Bayer Leverkusen but also Fortuna Düsseldorf and Borussia Mönchengladbach, which all play in Bundesliga since Fortuna got promoted to top flight at the end of 2017-18 season. Some might even include top flight teams, Schalke and Dortmund, even though they’re more in the Ruhr area, not the Rhine River area. All the more reason to go visit the stadiums, watch a game, and enjoy what the locals do.