You heard the one about the Scottish and German football teams who became best pals?
In the second part of our series, we look at the bond forged between supporters of Celtic and St Pauli.
A relationship born 25 years ago when a visit to Glasgow piqued the interest of fans of the German club after St Pauli supporters including Sven Brux visited Glasgow and other British clubs in 1991.
The account of their experiences struck a chord with supporters of the Germans, and the left-wing politics of St Pauli found a kindred spirit with their new friends in Glasgow.
“We wrote an article about the trip and our experiences and after it was published more and more St Pauli fans got interested in Celtic FC and its supporters. Fans’ groups started going to the Scotland and vice versa to Germany and European matches.”
The relationship continued to blossom between the two sides over the next 20 years – but added greater significance when the Hoops were drawn against Hamburg in the 2009 Europa League group stage.
Hamburg have a long-standing friendship with Rangers, which is believed to have developed when Scottish workers headed to the German city in the 1970s.
Both Celtic and St Pauli fans stress that their relationship is built on their love of supporting their teams, but as we all know the Glasgow sides always enjoy being on opposite sides. It’s not any different in Germany or anywhere else for that matter.
Hoops fans joined St Pauli supporters in painting the famous Reeperbahn area of the city green, white and brown (the rather unique club colour of St Pauli).
That match seemed to be an example of when pen pals took their relationship to the next level.
Since that shindig, the two clubs have continued to develop their links.
Celtic have travelled to the Millerntor stadium for two friendly matches, first in 2010 when Paddy McCourt scored a wundergoal in a 2-0 win, and four years later when Ronny Deila’s charges lost 1-0.
A reason why Celtic and the Bundesliga 2 club’s relationship seems so binding is because of its organic foundations.
The Hamburg based side are being regularly labelled as the bastion of left-wing ideals in the capitalist world of football.
St Pauli to many are the maverick cop of the football world, too cool for school, a team that doesn’t play by the rules.
They’re achingly hip, and while politics and football don’t always mix, their core ideals of fairness and equality should be admired.
That’s what makes the Celtic-St Pauli relationship special on both sides. These are two clubs who seem to click, and they’ve been friends way before the world’s media cast their glare on the German side’s alternative ways.
St Pauli supporters have hosted fans of the Scottish champions for more parties in Hamburg, which brings fans together to enjoy live music and plenty of good German beer.
Brux explains: “For 13 years now we have a annual Celtic-St Pauli-Party every spring time here in Hamburg with bands from Scotland or Ireland and more playing and between 300 and 400 Celtic fans from all over Europe coming to Hamburg to celebrate a great weekend.”
It’s not just Celtic supporters who enjoy a special relationship with the German club, a group of disillusioned supporters from Yorkshire created a local haven to watch St Pauli matches, as well as arrange trips to their Millerntor stadium.
There are also thriving St Pauli supporters clubs in London, Brighton, Dublin and New York. Everyone seems to want to spend time with St Pauli but it’s their old friend Celtic who they will always make time for.