Two Wolfsburg supporters from the USA visited the Volkswagen Arena at the weekend to watch their side take on Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich.
Spending the day in Wolfsburg, Reed Farnsley and Edward Kirwan were given a tour of the Volkswagen Arena and introduced to USA defender John Brooks, and later presented a cheque to The Krzysztof Nowak Foundation, before taking in the Wolves' 2-1 defeat to Bayern.
The once-in-a-lifetime trip came about thanks to a social media competition that took an unexpected turn.
The Wolves invited their Stateside supporters to submit a video showing how they would celebrate if they were to win the 'Dream Trip' to Germany, where they would not only meet the Wolfsburg players but also watch the team's fixture against the Bundesliga leaders live at the Volkswagen Arena on Matchday 23.
Five finalists were chosen and the winner was to be the person whose video received most likes or retweets on the club's USA Twitter and Facebook accounts. Two fans soon pulled away from the rest – thanks in part to online support from prominent users.
Chattanooga, Tennessee resident Reed, whose humorous Flashdance-inspired video ended up in first place, was so impressed with the runner-up Ed's entry that he started a GoFundMe account so that he too could make the trip to Germany.
Wolfsburg fans rallied to the cause and raised $1,415 USD in just 14 days but Kirwan, from New Jersey, magnanimously said that he would prefer the money to be donated to The Krzysztof Nowak Foundation instead.
The charity was founded in 2002 by Nowak, a former Wolfsburg player, and assists and supports people suffering with ALS, the disease that claimed Nowak's life in 2005.
Upon hearing of the pair's actions, Wolfsburg captain Paul Verhaegh sent Kirwan a video personally inviting him to Germany, where Kirwan will hand over a cheque to The Krzysztof Nowak Foundation prior to kick-off against Bayern.
"Hi Edward, we saw your awesome video for the Wolfsburg dream trip contest," says Verhaegh in his message. "Unlucky that you didn't win. We also heard what happened afterwards. It's unbelievable, and is great to have such awesome fans in the US and all over the world. We want to show how much that means to us, so we're inviting you to join Reed on the Wolfsburg dream trip and to hand over the cheque to The Krzysztof Nowak Foundation yourself. And of course, we want to see you here in Wolfsburg!"
"The involvement of Reed Farnsley and Ed Kirwan is impressive," said Wolfsburg's general manager Dr. Tim Schumacher. "For us as a club it is remarkable to have such loyal fans in the US, who not only support the team but also VfL Wolfsburg's social commitment by donating money to The Krzysztof Nowak Foundation. It is an honor for us to welcome them to Wolfsburg and the Volkswagen Arena."