Hennes IX, mascot of 1. FC Köln, © Kölner Zoo

Fun facts about the foot­ball state of NRW

Unique fea­tures and un­broken re­cords

Where are goals scored for your own team a reason to bleat? Which saint is counted among the fans of FC Schalke 04, and which clubs have secured a permanent place for NRW among the top ten? Our collection of crazy football facts from North Rhine-Westphalia will answer all of these questions, and more. These seven fun facts contain slightly unusual yet amusing knowledge that will make you chuckle and may be new even to certified experts.

St. Aloisius church window, © Ralph Sondermann, Tourismus NRW e.V.

Sev­en facts to chuckle and mar­vel at

1. Goals scored are greeted by bleating in Cologne
Scoring a goal surely should be reason to cheer, though? At FC Köln’s home matches, these two things are not mutually exclusive. Any goal scored by Cologne will be greeted by the resounding bleating of Hennes the billy goat, Cologne’s mascot, in the stadium.

2. Saint with football socks and ball
Anyone who wants to understand what status football enjoys in Gelsenkirchen merely needs to go and visit St Joseph’s Church, where one of the windows depicts St Aloisius in football shoes, socks, and with a ball.

3. Free kick in the cathedral
Each football season starts out with people singing, praying, and even kicking the ball in Cologne Cathedral: An ecumenical service is celebrated in which fans of 1. FC Köln ask for God’s blessing for a good season and fair play. This is the only occasion on which it is permitted to kick a ball down the nave.

4. Record victory with NRW clubs
The highest victory in the history of the German Bundesliga to date was made in NRW exclusively: Borussia Mönchengladbach won a match with a score of 12:0 against Borussia Dortmund in the 1977/78 season.

5. Does it cure or cause football fever?
The name is not necessarily the game here: Bayer Leverkusen is called “Las Aspirinas” in Spain, referencing the successful product of its sponsor Bayer. However, while the painkilling namesake is supposed to bring down a fever, the Bundesliga team is currently rather causing football fever to rise.

6. NRW at the very top forever
Five clubs from NRW – Borussia Dortmund, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Schalke 04, 1. FC Köln, and Bayer Leverkusen – are among the top ten of the perpetual table. A total of 18 clubs from North Rhine-Westphalia feature in the ranking that is considered a measure of the success and consistency of Bundesliga clubs over the years.

7. Football on the mountain pasture
Grass is growing in the Bielefeld stadium and the hills of the Teutoburg Forest make for some heights with picturesque views – and yet no one is quite certain of why Arminia Bielefeld’s stadium is referred to as an “Alm” (mountain meadow). One thing is certain, though: The property may have been purchased from a farmer back in the 1920s but it still is located right in the middle of town, rather than out in the countryside. That makes it special, too.

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