FC Bayern and VfL Bochum: 43 Years of Friendship
In November 1973, Bayern played away to Bochum, beating the home side. The home fans, disgruntled their team had lost, caught up to some Bayern fans after the match who had gotten lost near their fan pubs. The started insulting the Bayern fans, then beating them, when one of the oldest fanclubs in Germany, the “Bochumer Jungen”, stepped in and saved the Bayern fans, inviting them out for drinks and protection for the rest of the night. When the VfL fans turned up with a banner reading “Greetings to the FC Bayern fans” their next match, one of the oldest fan friendships in Germany was born.
In February 1994, Bayern played a friendly against Bochum, and the fans showed up in droves, well exceding Bochum’s stadium capacity, which caused the game to be delayed in start. Before, during, and after the match, the fans celebrated each other and their teams so fervently, that Beckenbauer said afterwards, “I’ve traveled all around the world and seen all of football, but I’ve never experienced something like that.”
Nowadays, the friendship exists mostly on an ultra basis, and is not uncontested especially in the Bochum scene, although both clubs sell the friendship scarf. It almost died out in the early 2000s, with Bochum’s troubles in the league and harsh criticism from the Bayern leadership. However, in 2003, at the DFB-Pokal final where fans from around Germany were invited to come and set up tents showcasing their scenes, Bochum and Bayern ended up placed next to each other, and after a night of fun and good spirits around each other, the friendship was rekindled. Today, the Bayern and Bochum ultras regularly travel to each other’s matches and support each other, living up to Beckenbauer’s old adage, “Gute Freunde kann niemand trennen”.