TICKETS: FCB v. FC St. Pauli in Buffalo!!

The following is Part 1 of a two-part story on FC Buffalo’s treatment abroad from two remarkable groups: FC St. Pauli of the 2.Bundesliga and the Stadt Dortmund/Borussia Dortmund.

When it comes to FC St. Pauli, from the board room to the grounds’ crew to the supporters, everyone knows they represent a culture. That culture was indelibly branded on FC Buffalo last week.

If you’ve visited these Internet parts before, it will come as no surprise that 2.Bundesliga stalwarts FC St. Pauli visit Buffalo for a friendly against your FCB a week from Saturday (3 p.m. ET at All-High, get your tickets here).

FCSP’s high standards in their community, whether via sport or sponsors, have made them a beacon for clubs worldwide; “Doing it the right way” can carry a lot more weight than winning silverware, and the Boys in Brown had a fine season on the pitch as well.

When FC Buffalo was invited to Germany as part of the Dortbunt Festival and the 40th Anniversary of the Sister City relationship between Dortmund and Buffalo, it was a wonderful bit of happenstance that FCSP was one of the clubs open to welcoming FCB for a friendly with their U-23 (or II) side.

Arriving at the Trainingsanlage at Kollaustraße was a bit intimidating. We had just met our bus driver and tour guide for the week, who had unintentionally frightened us by suggesting no one takes credit cards in Germany (something must’ve been lost in translation because, spoiler alert, most do!).

Finding the gate open, we approached the first FCSP representative we found and hoped for the best. Crouched low, he turned around and immediately took us under his wing as we spied the immaculate grass playing surface and accompanying turf field (We’d play our friendly on the former and train on the latter).

Our jet-lagged FCB president with groundskeeper Kai from FCSP

Like everyone we met associated with the club, Kai (RIGHT) went out of their way for us. The woman, B, who sold the coffee and opened the training rooms was an everpresent factor and even left us with a big hug. The communications team, the grounds’ crew, everyone. For example, Thorge, one of FCSP’s kit man, went out of his way to find us a sporting goods connection with our exact kit’s shorts (one of ours had been damaged).

Around here, of course, we take ourselves seriously enough, but over there were simply guests from a minor league in the United States. You would’ve thought we were a Champions League side.

FCSP and our partners Match IQ then took our team and staff out for pizza and beverages at Uberquell. Some of FCSP’s Fanladen were there, and one member, Justus, invited our owner to use his extra ticket to a concert. They had a good time.

The Get Up Kids open their European tour with a show in Hamburg.

Coincidentally (?) that band had toured FCSP’s Millerntor Stadium earlier that day, something that club guru Christian Pruess personally led for us the next day.

To see the Millerntor up close is to experience a stadium genuinely like no other. The club invites local artists to paint a corridor in the name of a cause each year, then paints it white the next offseason and starts again. Concerned with the worldwide bee population, the club now has a beekeeper in the back corner of the stadium to play its part.

TICKETS: FCB v. FC St. Pauli in Buffalo!!

The St. Pauli neighborhood, all the salacious parts of its reputation noted, is in the same vein. This moment in the back of the stadium stands out, too, as we saw a formidable object alien to our shores.

A gigantic bunker from World War II stands behind the Millerntor as a reminder of what can happen when humanity is at its worst; It’s roof will soon be a big garden.

Rather than send us off on our own for lunch, the stadium chef and his staff whipped up lunch for the boys. We ate in the team clubhouse, and had a freedom which would stun anyone who’s been around almost any American professional team.

It shouldn’t be surprising that, given our professional treatment, our players buzzed out of the gates and even bagged an equalizer after FCSP II took an early lead. The hosts’ chemistry, experience, fitness, and class won out, as expected, but honestly the first half-hour might’ve been the best I’ve seen our men play in a long, long time.

Aside from the 4-1 loss and a bit of rain, everything was incredible in Hamburg.

Positivity breeds responsibility, and we have to acknowledge FCB striker Theo Pencic. The Buffalo State rising sophomore quietly asked for a broom after the match and proceeded to “sweep the sheds” along with FCB assistant coach John Grabowski. It was a moment we won’t soon forget from new and old faces of our blue and gold crew.

Now it’s our turn to show out for our guests and our city.

We consider it our duty as hosts turned guests to make sure this exceptional club is treated even better in Buffalo. Whether you’re headed to the match at All-High (3 p.m. Saturday), hanging out at the after party, or just happen to see some Boys in Brown on the streets, be sure to show them good old Buffalo hospitality.

TICKETS: FCB v. FC St. Pauli in Buffalo!!

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