Meet the German football team who fell in love with Wales
Image gallery of Oberrad 05’s ground and teams
If you have any interest in German football then you will realise just how passionate their fans are.
Anyone who witnessed either of West Ham’s Europa League semi-final games with Eintracht Frankfurt couldn’t have failed to have been impressed with the passion and dedication of the massed army of Frankfurt supporters, who lit up both legs with a show of colour, unity and indomitable spirit.
In the same city and not very far from Eintracht Frankfurt’s home the 50,000 capacity Deutsche Bank Stadium, sits a rather more intimate stadium.
The 1,500 capacity Grie-Soß-Arena is home to Oberrad 05, a team based in Frankfurt who play in the sixth tier of German football – the Verbandsliga Hessen-Süd. Equivalent to the National League South. (So one rung below the National League)
Among a small number of fans who turn out to watch the team in a city where Eintracht Frankfurt of the Bundesliga are the undoubted draw, there is one supporter who stands out above all.
And not just because he’s quite the imposing figure.
His name is Fabian Knapp and he’s Oberrad’s self-appointed chief-Ultra. He’s also the reason why Wales flags have been adopted by the club.
Knapp, who also doubles as the club’s groundsman, fell in love with Wales during Euro 2016, when he was taken by the performances on the pitch and the exuberance of the fans off it.
In 2017 he founded a fan group alone and gave himself the name “Ultras Oberrad”. As time went by, the flags and support continued to increase.
At home games he can be seen carrying a Wales flag with him.
“The green, white, red colors suit Oberrad and Wales is just like us small and combative,” he explained in an interview with www.fussball.de.
There is also a large banner behind the gate on the Oberräder sports field which underlines Kanpp’s passion for his team. It reads: ‘A district stands behind its club. 12,000x the 12th man.’
“I made the banner at home in the garden,” he said. “:Of course, I wish that there would be a culture where a district really goes completely to its club.”
In addition to the support with banners and Welsh flags, Knapp also developed songs over time at the request of the players.
Now the word is spreading and the number of Welsh flags at the games is increasing.
“Some of our youth players helped me to support our team, and all love the Wales flags,” he said.
Oberrad 05 – a quick history (Credit: www.oberrad05.de)
The “gardeners’ village” Oberrad in the south-east of Frankfurt is not only the birthplace of the famous Frankfurt green sauce, but also of the SpVgg. 05 upper wheel.
Founded in 1905, a traditional club was created, which today, with one of the largest youth set-ups in the Rhine-Main area, is home to over 700 enthusiastic football players in all age groups.
Between 2014 and 2016, the men’s first team was even able to get a taste of the Hessenliga (the fifth tier of German football) the 05 are currently playing in the Verbandsliga-Süd.
Oberrad has also been Frankfurt’s oldest club for women’s football since 1971. The green and white Oberräder play their home games on the historic Beckerwiese, up in the Oberräder city forest at the foot of the Goethe Tower. In addition to the core soccer teams, the club has also had a successful tennis team since 1976.
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