Leer, 10 July 2006, Hoheellern Stadium: Match Of Contrasts . . .
“Number 16 of Bremen is challenged by number one of Leer during the Friendly Match between Germania Leer and Werder Bremen at the Hoheellern Stadium”
The life of a Getty Images sport photographer is often full of contrasts (like the world of sport itself) and it couldn’t have been better illustrated than my assignment last night. Having just finished with the World Cup, my task was to take pictures of a certain Mr Zidan and a few friends. Whilst you may hold your breath wondering what world exclusive has this boy stumbled upon, I sadly have to say this was no super scoop as the Mr Zidan in question was not the now famous head-butting Zinedine Zidan but that of Mohammed Zidan (who plays most of his football in the reserves of the German Bundesliga club of Werder Bremen).
I covered the match of Germania Leer, an amateur league team verses a team made up of Werder Bremen reserves, youth team players and few of the first team who felt like stretching their legs on a beautiful summers evening. The last match I covered was played in front of over 66,000 people – this match was just 1,000 spectators. Gone were the magnificent modern stadiums with all the facilities. Instead, we had a multi-purpose playing field with a tent at one end. Gone also, was the high speed internet cable to send my pictures to the editors. I edited my own pictures and spent a long time trying to work out who on earth these people were (I wasn’t surrounded by several hundred photographers either!). And, there were no national anthems before the start of the match – we were treated to Robbie Williams at half time instead…
It was more garden fete than carnival atmosphere but still the football fever remained. For the record, Mr Zidan scored two goals in the first half before being replaced at half time. As I started my two and half hour journey back home, I looked forward to one final contrast to the World Cup – a good night’s sleep in my OWN bed!
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images