Professional soccer as a drug without alternatives: the ghosts’ regulars’ table

Is the Bundesliga dull? What’s the reason? And why do we keep watching it anyway? A little matchday talk.

Scorer even without an audience: Mats Hummels scored against Arminia Bielefeld before he got injured Photo: Friso Gentsch/dpa

Alina: I had thought that the break with men’s soccer would be more exciting. You throw the remote control against the wall, relationship-wise, and that’s it. But this long-awaited estrangement is totally unspectacular. It creeps up on you like this. Oh, they’re playing again today? Who is this new coach at Mainz, or has he been there for two years? You’re not even happy that nobody cares about the Bundesliga, because you just don’t care.

Rene: What surprises me, though, is that the motivation of the players themselves doesn’t necessarily drop at all. I mean, instead of playing in front of 70,000, they’re now playing in front of a few cameras and attendants and 0 paying spectators! And they’re still going at it. Are they animals? Are they controlled? On drugs? Psychologically, it’s interesting. There is no obvious drop in performance despite Corona and ghost atmos. Except maybe at Schalke.

Alina: Well, it’s a bit more grumpy. Cologne against Bayern would have looked different in a full Mungersdorfer stadium and would also have gone out rather times 2:2. But that’s also the fault of this crazy workload. Soccer has meanwhile taken on something of a track bike, it races and races in circles. As a player, you can’t even think or look to the side, otherwise you’re out. This contradiction between pedaling soccer and a lockdown society at a standstill is actually pretty, and someone could investigate it. And at the same time, it just won’t budge. The top of the table is now already 1:1 the same as at the end of the season. A high-speed marmot day.

Rene: Whereby it is amazing that no one makes a sound. That there is still no Corona Deisler or someone who points to these grievances even from the inside. Everyone is neoliberalized. But yes, you said earlier: creep out. The flip side should be that as a consumer you gradually say goodbye to the drug. Weed it out. But I don’t know whether that really happens. Or whether you’ll keep watching to see whether Bayern will stumble and Dortmund will make it, or who will have to face the relegation drama. Which brings me back to Schalke. You said track cycling. A track cycling, where you always have to watch. Like a mobile over the cradle.

Alina: Yes, that’s what I was wondering. I was happy for three seconds that Leipzig fluffed and Bayern is back on top. I watch less often and less emotionally, but certainly not. We both live, at least in part, by watching, so we literally can’t afford to look away completely. Like soccer players, actually. Mobile above the cradle is a beautiful image, we were born with this soccer. And when sneaking out, yes, the question would be where. Everything exists in the structures of the same system, in DFB, Fifa, IOC, capitalism, except perhaps shell game. We live as addicts in the meth kitchen. Even shell game is also very greedy. Where are we sneaking off to? And isn’t that actually just an illusion of a way out?

Rene: Hihi, now it’s getting really philosophical. We should write something like "Trainspotting" with soccer in mind… There are those who advocate going back to nature. They think it’s better to watch district league, that would still be real soccer.

Alina: Oh God, I’m totally against that. This romanticization of fat men beating up referees, bribing each other with beer crates, and not wanting to give the women’s team court time, that’s totally regressive. But "trainspotting" is great. Bike Spotting.

The talk was held by Alina Schwermer and Rene Hamann