Westfalen - Westphalia

Nestled between the Ruhrgebiet and Niedersachsen, Westfalen has a decent soccer tradition of small/medium towns. Indeed, there are certain cities, like Dortmund, that would probably like to escape their association with the Ruhr and be included in the Westphalia chapter of most tour guides. No such luck here! Most of the clubs are along the fringe of the Teutoberger Wald, a collection of trees that was probably impressive in ancient times when Arminius kicked the Roman's ass in a preview of the 97 Dortmund-Juventus game. No matter.

BIELEFELD is the economic center of east Westfalen. Aside from the usual historical buildings, there isn't much to recommend here. The local soccer tradition is fairly decent, led by Arminia Bielefeld . This is a fairly notorious club that almost brought down german soccer in the early 1970s by their cheating ways. Luckily they didn't, and they paid some dues on the way back to respectability.

Some 35 km south of Bielefeld is the city of PADERBORN, which would undoubtedly like to replace Bielefeld as top dog, but the local team, despite multiple "fusions", the local squad SC Paderborn can't cut the mustard. The city's best claim to fame is that the Pader is the shortest river in Germany. I think it was formed when somebody's faucet overflowed.

More of a threat to Arminia's dominance is surprising FC Gütersloh, of the nondescript town of GÜTERSLOH, only about 7 km southeast of Bielefeld on the BAB 2. (Well at least they were a threat until they went bankrupt in 2000.) Just to the east of Gütersloh is the village of VERL, which nevertheless manages to support a scrappy regionalliga club, SC Verl .Continuing in the direction of Dortmund, we come upon the small town of AHLEN. There is no reason to visit except possibily to check out the local club, LR Ahlen.

Now to the capital of western Westfalen: The town of MÜNSTER is quite picturesque. This is the ancestral home of the Munsters before they became TV stars. You might want to try Alster-Wasser, which is some sort of concoction of beer and limonade. Gives you a nice headache, at least when you're in 7th grade, but that's another story... The city itself has been rebuilt after being flattened in WWII, and is host to one of Germany's largest universities. A pleasant enough stop, especially if the local brewery, Pinkus Müller is still operating. Many consider their beers to be among the finest in Germany. The local club is Preußen Münster, which is pretty ho-hum.

Getting to the town of BOCHOLT takes some doing, since it's not really part of Westfalen anyway. The best way is to head northwest from Oberhausen on the E35 for about 30 km. There's basically nothing to see here, except the Dutch border, a couple of miles away. The main local club is 1.FC Bocholt, a pretty non-descript club. There may also be a cross-town rival named Olympia Bocholt as well, if they're still around.

Back to Top

(c) Abseits Guide to Germany