Mönchengladbach - It’s not just inside Borussia Park where Borussia Mönchengladbach aficionados gather in the name of their beloved Foals.
Just 220 metres away stands FanHaus, literally 'fan house', a German take on a very British institution and a haven for all things Borussia.
Taking its inspiration from 'the Albert', every Liverpool FC fanatic's favourite watering hole, and fittingly built on the former stomping ground of the old British army barracks, FanHaus is a Gladbach connoisseur's paradise, decorated with all the fanfare and paraphernalia you could possibly imagine.
The two clubs have long held a unique bond dating back to when Liverpool played Mönchengladbach in the 1972/73 UEFA Cup final, while in 1991 a delegation of Borussia supporters flew over to Merseyside to deliver a cheque for 21,000 Deutsche Marks (almost €11,000) to the victims of the Hillsborough disaster.
Hive of activity
Although an external project, FanHaus has always been able to count on its own very support network, thanks in no small part to the work of the late Helmut Grasshoffs, the club's former director. Safe to say the 1,500 fans that readily pack out the familial premises are well looked after, with six employees and a further 50 volunteers at their every beck and call.
Yet, it is not just during Gladbach games that FanHaus is worth a visit. Player Q&As, information events for fans, daily youth activities, readings and public discussions are as much a part of this inimitable hub of football culture as anything else - and have been ever since it first opened its doors back in April 2006.
'You'll never walk alone'
FanHaus is also the regular meeting point for Borussia's supporters club. Widely viewed as one of the finest of its type in Germany, it is the channel through which its 6,500 members can communicate not just with the powers that be at Borussia Park, but with the German Football Association (DFB), the police, security services and the media.
Indeed, behind the unmistakable four walls of FanHaus, Borussia Mönchengladbach fans, members and friends have a true voice. Win, lose or draw, they are there for each other, united as one for the greater good of the wider Gladbach cause. As they aptly say in these parts, "you'll never walk alone".
Markus Hoffmann/ Christopher Mayer-Lodge
If Gladbach fans ever need a ride, they could always check out defender Martin Stranzl’s side project. Find out what it’s all about on the official Bundesliga YouTube channel: