The behaviour of Cologne fans in London ahead of their Europa League game against Arsenal in September 2017 got everyone talking, but whatever your opinions on that, you really ought to pay the Rhein-energie Stadion a visit.
Some 20,000 Cologne supporters made the trip to London for the club’s first European fixture for 25 years – and the scenes which followed as they marched en masse through the capital towards Emirates Stadium made for mightily impressive viewing.
The fans were boozy and rambunctious but not troublesome. Even when news broke that pockets of Cologne fans had bought tickets in the home end, it was hardly worthy of condemnation.
After all, despite crowds of 50,000, an affluent city base and the services of Lukas Podolski, Cologne have had more nose-dives than a Jurgen Klinsmann highlights reel. Their fans deserved to enjoy the occasion.
The actions of the fans that did cause trouble on the night cannot be condoned, of course, but by and large, the Cologne fans came, had a great time, and left without so much as thinking of causing any trouble.
Certainly, from my experience of visiting Cologne and it’s Rhein-energie Stadion, anyone visiting North Rhine-Westphalia can expect a wonderful trip.
Grab yourself a Kölsch and a Bratwurst, and soak it up.