Fortuna Dusseldorf is playing in the first league again for the first time, so a little support from above doesn't hurt: On Tuesday, city deacon Ulrich Hennes celebrated a season-opening service with fans. A Dusseldorf premiere.
Perhaps the service should have been celebrated before Fortuna's first game, so that the 1:2 defeat against Augsburg could have been avoided. But the Dusseldorf city dean Monsignor Ulrich Hennes wanted to wait until the end of the vacations. Besides, he ares us, the Fortuna candle was burning throughout the game. So it could not have been due to a lack of divine assistance.
But just to be on the safe side, the Fortuna fans, together with the city dean, celebrated another season-opening service this Tuesday at the Basilica of St. Lambertus at Stiftsplatz in Dusseldorf's Old Town. Around 100 supporters turned out, many dressed in the club colors of red and white, including Dusseldorf Mayor Thomas Geisel and Fortuna team captain Oliver Fink.
It's all about fair play
At the same time, it is not a matter of praying "against" another club, as Monsignor Ulrich Hennes made clear right at the beginning of the service. "It's not about praying for the defeat of others."It can only be about fair play, about the community, about health for the players and also about accepting the game result then. "Imagine if every team had its city dean, who prays for goals. But then the good Lord would have a big problem," he added later with a wink.
The season-opening service in Dusseldorf was a premiere, the idea goes back to an action two years ago when Fortuna Dusseldorf was threatened with relegation to the third league: "Now only praying will help" became a concrete idea, at that time the city dean celebrated a service together with the Fortuna fans with the request for help from above and donated a candle especially for the club. Relegation was averted and the Fortuna candle has had its permanent place in St. Lambertus.
Praying for class preservation
In the season-opening service on Tuesday, a new season candle was now blessed, donated by the sexton of St. Lambertus, Joel Benedikt Puschinski, also a die-hard Fortuna fan. The candle is emblazoned with the F-95 logo as well as the date of the promotion on 13 in gold lettering. May 2018. In a procession it was brought to the side altar "Maria in der Not" and lit, there it will burn in the future on every match day of the Dusseldorfer. To this end, the Toten Hosen hit "Tage wie diese" (Days like this), which has long since become an unofficial Fortuna anthem, was played on organ and saxophone.
And what do Dusseldorf fans pray for?? "So I would already be very happy if the Fortuna could hold on," says Hennes. "The first division is a great challenge in terms of personnel and finances for a club that comes from the second division. I wish the club and the fans with all my heart that they do not immediately relegated again!"
Cologne as a role model
In Cologne, such season-opening services are already a tradition: they regularly attract hundreds of fans to the cathedral at the start of the season, where the collective singing of the FC anthem is one of the big highlights.
It was not quite so opulent in Dusseldorf then. Hennes, who himself was a youth chaplain in Cologne for many years, takes it with humor: "Cologne is in the second league, so they have to pray more."