When a football year began with the magic of booths at indoor tournaments

The big hall time
When Fortuna started a football year with booth magic

After the cancellation of the training camp in Marbella, Fortuna is now for the second time in a row without winter preparation in the south. Before the turn of the millennium, this was common anyway: trophies were played in the hall. A look back that not only brings romance.

Football in the hall – the modern fan of today immediately thinks of futsal. That variant of the game dominated by fine technology, whose origins lie in South America and in which there is even a Bundesliga today in which Fortuna is represented. But there was a time when a football year began with real booth magic: indoor tournaments in which people were often less technically brilliant than hard-hacked. And almost the entire German elite took part in full ranks.

The first days of the new year in particular were very popular for this. While the clubs are busy preparing – or even canceling – training camps in the south today on New Year’s Day and the days after, trophies were played in the hall in the 1980s and 1990s.

Fortuna wasn’t even clumsy. The Düsseldorfers won the traditional tournament in the Krefeld Glockenspitzhalle three times (1983, 1984 and 1989). The moody diva from the Rhine landed her greatest indoor coups in 1988, 1997 and 1998 with three third places in the official German indoor championship – something like that actually existed more than a quarter of a century ago.

The biggest surprise was that the Düsseldorf team even reached the final of the tournament series in 1998 as a second division team. The prerequisite for this was second place at the qualifying tournament in Leipzig. For the local defeat in the final against Werder Bremen, the team of coach Uli Maslo took revenge in Munich by defeating the Hanseatic League 5-4 in the game for third place.

Incidentally, the tournament victory went to the then Bundesliga club Hansa Rostock, who had eliminated the favored hosts FC Bayern in the group stage. Episode on the edge of the indoor championship: Fortunas Robert Niestroj put a ball so vehemently into the audience while playing warm that he shot a spectator unconscious. Fortunately, she soon got better, and “Pico” had a nice consolation ready: The midfielder gave her a shirt.

But there were also completely different problems in the halls that had far less to do with bad luck. So 1983 in Krefeld: The organizers had put together the field of participants on Derby character. In addition to hosts Bayer Uerdingen, Fortuna, MSV Duisburg and Alemannia Aachen made up the field of participants, and this attracted an impressive 3,000 spectators – sold out.

Unfortunately, the organizers seemed to have missed the rivalry between Duisburg and Düsseldorf fans – the residual alcohol on New Year’s Eve also played its part. The event had to be interrupted countless times by riots. The negative climax came in the final, which ended prematurely after 18 minutes and a 2-0 lead for Fortuna against MSV and Fortuna was declared the winner. Booth magic – it wasn’t pure romance either.


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