Whether it is a rendition of a club anthem, a surprise treat for the supporters or confirmation of the starting line-ups, no other league does pre-match pomp quite like the Bundesliga.
bundesliga.com examines five spine-tingling traditions from Germany’s fan-centric top flight.
Köln the brave
As the epicentre of Karneval, it is no surprise to hear fans of 1. FC Köln belt out one of the Bundesliga’s most rousing pre-match singsongs. Slow and from the heart, Mer stonn zo dir FC Kölle - local dialect for 'We stand with you FC Köln' – takes its lead from the Scottish folksong Loch Lomond, widely believed to be connected to the Jacobite Uprising of 1745. It has been rehashed by many a musical ensemble down the years, including AC/DC, Claymore and Steve Martin, but no one recites it with quite so much gusto as devotees of FC Köln.
Port city king
Up in Hamburg, HSV fans have their very own song that has long been a pre-match staple at the Volksparkstadion. Hamburg, meine Perle – 'Hamburg, my pearl' – was penned by Gerrit Heesemann, alias Lotto King Karl, who takes to the pop-up stage alongside guitarist Carsten Pape before every game to lead the partisan home crowd in song. "My relationship with my club has nothing to do with results," stadium announcer King Karl told bundesliga.com in 2014. "I visited the stadium for the first time with my Dad 41 years ago and HSV have been part of me ever since."
Black and yellow soul
In terms of global appeal, few terrace anthems have gained as much currency as Gerry and the Pacemakers' 'You’ll Never Walk Alone'. It is a favourite in the Bundesliga, especially with die-hard fans of a Borussia Dortmund persuasion, whose stirring rendition of the 1960s Mersey Beat hit reverberates far beyond the famous Yellow Wall of the inimitable SIGNAL IDUNA PARK. The unmistakable track is also a popular choice further afield in Liverpool and at Scottish outfit Glasgow Celtic.
Masters of puppets
Those of you who have ever seen FC Augsburg in action might be wondering why the club captain hands his visiting counterpart a wooden puppet before each home game. It is not some sort of voodoo doll, but rather a shout-out to the city's famous puppet theatre, Die Augsburger Puppenkiste. Lukas the train driver is the marionette in question, while the rather jovial theatre ditty Eine Insel mit zwei Bergen – 'An Island with two Mountains' – pipes from the tannoy after every Augsburg goal.
Equality in Mainz
Although 1. FSV Mainz 05 supporters are partial to their own rendition of 'You’ll Never Walk Alone', it is their long-serving stadium announcer who is the club’s real secret weapon. With his dry sense of humour, wit and penchant for one-liners, the work of Klaus Hafner is the stuff of legend at the Coface Arena. Not only that, but his unique fair-play stance - he goes out of his way to ensure away fans have the opportunity to make as much noise as possible when their players' names are read out - has even been honoured by the German Football Association.
Sebastian Friedrichs/ Christopher Mayer-Lodge