Sachsen-Anhalt (Saxony-Stop Sign)

OK, it's not a "stop sign" in Saxony. This state was basically slapped together after WWII, although it has managed to retain it's identity in the new Germany. It was primarily known as the most polluted place in the old GDR, although things have gotten a bit better since the Commies demise. The capital is MAGDEBURG, about 120km from Berlin, and roughly 80km from Wolfsburg, itself no stranger to pollution. This city has had a long losing streak, from getting wiped out in the 30 Year War to being pulverized in WWII. The GDR merely reinforced the trend by "developing" it's gray, drab, shabby character. However, after die Wende, they rang up a victory: stealing the title of capital from the noses of Halle, and things are looking up. The local soccer scene used to consist of only 1.FC Magdeburg, but recently Fortuna Magdeburg has been making a move.

Some 60km north, we enter the region of Altmark, and the most important town, STENDAL. This is basically a rural area, but for a small town, Stendal is relatively cosmopolitan. There are the usual collections of medieval churches and buildings. This may cause you to lose your focus - so don't get distracted! Besides, you still have a museum to ignore (for the record, the Winkelmann.) Prior to checking out the local soccer scene, you might want to get some sustenance. The Altstadt-Bierstube on Mittelstraße sounds like it might have some potential. Then it's time to check out the local team Lok Altmark Stendal.

Heading another 50 km north, you actually cross the border into Brandenburg, and you arrive at Wittenberge. The locals renamed their town in an attempt to confuse Scandinavian and American Evangelicals who think they are visiting Wittenberg, which is actually some 200 km away. But it could come in handy if you're headed north to Rostock, as you could just take a picture of the church door and say, "Yep, this is the door that Luther pounded his 95 theses.".

West of Magdeburg you head into the Harz region, which is full of trees and stuff, but no real usable soccer. If you're making your way to the west, you might want to catch a few zzzzs here.

The rest of Sachsen-Anhalt is also hardly a soccer hotspot, so you'll best be heading somewhere else. To be sure there are VfL Halle 96 and Hallescher FC in the ex-captial city of HALLE. There have been recent attempts to merge the two clubs, but thanks to eternal vigilence by the fans, this outrage has been averted so far. The other main town, DESSAU, hosts Anhalt Dessau.

(c) Abseits Guide to Germany :