How a bar in Halle fights for World Cup spirit during Germany games


Politicians have no place here.


Dirks Vilekas | Inhaber “Lessing”

Still As you know, there’s not much that’s out of the ordinary at this tournament in Qatar, and that probably has not the least to do with the start time. Discussions of local human rights abuses, discrimination, corruption and, more recently, the banning of ties have long dominated the news. This bothers Dirk Willeke, owner of Lessing and two other bars in Halle. “Politicians have no place here,” Willeke says.

The circle of friends decides before the World Cup

There is too little talk about the sport in this World Cup, the owner believes that the reports in advance have been too negative. The result: Germany’s first match at Lessing saw just a handful of visitors. Willeke is football and Lessing is also a sports bar. Give up the World Cup? It doesn’t matter to the restaurant or to himself. Therefore, the owner supports the German team on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Johan Georgis taps beer for the guests – he also knows about the special nature of the World Cup. “Last time I was able to convince a lot of friends to come,” says the 27-year-old. But this time, many of his acquaintances deliberately decided against the World Cup. However, Georgijus hopes to attract even more people to Lessing in the future – the best way for the Germans to win against Japan.

There is no World Cup atmosphere in the city center of Halle

Still Public You will look in vain for spectators and crowd supporters for Germany’s World Cup match this Wednesday in Halle city centre. Half an hour before kick-off, there is also a yawning void on Sternstrasse, where hundreds of people have thronged and vociferously pumped up the atmosphere during previous tournaments. There is also no trace of the former World Cup atmosphere on Kleine Ulrichstraße in the early afternoon.

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For bars, this is definitely not the World Cup like in previous years. Some bars even broadcast deliberately no games from Qatar. “Sorry about the innkeepers,” says a 53-year-old man at Lessing, one of the six guests. Corona lockdown, inflation, energy crisis – and above all, such a controversial big event that can hardly bring the expected turnover to restaurants.

– Everyone wanted that!

The 53-year-old himself does not want to do without the sporting side of the World Cup – especially since the big outrage has already come too late, he believes. “Everyone wanted it,” the man says of Qatar’s long-delayed award. Even then, most countries should have declared a boycott, he says. It’s not much to protest now – and watching the game is fine. However, this time it is not as important for him as the previous tournaments. “I wouldn’t take extra time for this world championship,” says the resident of the hall.

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