The Travellers and Food Lovers Guide to Rugby League – Heidelberg

By Daniel Andruczyk

The last several years I have had the fortunate opportunity to live and work overseas, namely in Germany. My passion for Rugby League found me travelling all over Europe to watch the greatest game and in one case even managed to participate in a tournament. So I have decided to write blogs on my experiences, the travel, food and cities I experienced and share some photos. This month I look at a place on peak of the rugby league frontiers, Heidelberg, in Germany.

The City

Heidelberg is a beautiful city in the west of Germany in the Baden-Württemberg province. Its situated on the Neckar River and is famous for its University and student life. But the City is probably the most famous for the Heildelberg man, a skeleton of a 200,000 year old Human found near by.

S5002382 The Castle in Heidelberg.

The modern city traces it roots back to the 8th century, with Christianity arriving in the Rhein-Nekar valley also in the 9th century. People slowly converted over time. Closer to our times Heidelberg during the 1930’s was a stronghold of the Nazis and after the war was under the influence of the United States section in the partition of Germany.

Things to do in Heidelberg include numerous museums like the Carl Bosch museum and Palatinate Museum. Heidelberg Castle which dominates the landscape of the city was built in the 1400’s. It now houses a museum as well that shows the history of the area and the Kings and Dukes. The old town also is very pretty and in and around there the churches and numerous restaurants and pubs are worth visiting.

Where to Stay

There are many places to stay in Heidleberg, though when I was there I actually stayed with people in The Germany Rugby League team I knew. Though along the main drag of Heidelberg, Hauptsrasse, there were many of good decent priced hotels that were right next to all the restaurants and pubs.

The Travel

Getting To Heidelberg is pretty easy. Being a University town and a popular destination, train is your best bet. You have the local trains that services the city with the other cities around it, its called the Rhein-Nekar S-Bahn, but there are also Inter City and Inter City Express trains that run from all over the country through the city. All major cities like Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich and Hamburg all have regular services every couple of hours that run through Heidelberg. I caught one intercity from Greifswald that was direct and a Inter City Express that went from Berlin.

The Food

There is much to eat and drink in Heidelberg. The Majority of the pubs and places to visit are on Hauptstrasse which is in the centre of the old town. The popular place where many hang out is the Dubliner pub. Though not a German Pub it still has a wide range of German food and beer. But most importantly it supports the local Rugby League games and show both the Super League and NRL.

The Games

I saw two Rugby league events in Heidelberg. Actually I even participated in one of them. Heidelberg is a strong hub for Rugby League, actually you can say that in Germany the Heidelberg area is a heartland. The first event I saw there was the opening match to the 2007 European Shield between Germany and Serbia.


Player Coach for Germany, Dan Stocks taking a hit up against the Serbians.

This was a tough match played out at the Rugby Union ground. The Serbians at that level are probably the strongest nation and they certainly were showing their dominance early on with two quick tries in the first 10 minutes before Germany hit back. Soni Radovanovic who has played for Whitehaven recently, was playing in this match and was a standout.


A Serbian player signing autographs after the match.

The Serbians ended up winning the match 38 to 6 and the one sided score certainly showed in the match. The bigger and more fit Serbians were able to run over the top of the Germans.


Germany and Serbia teams together after the match.

The other event, one that I was able to participate in was the 2008 Heidelberg 9s. This is an annual tournaments played in Germany usually in late February or in June, depending on the weather. 6 Teams participated in 2008 and I was fortunate enough to play for the Beroun Black Panthers.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         Taking the ball up against the local Heidelberg team, the Rorhbach Hornets.

Beroun is a Czech team from a town South of Prague. It also saw the emergence of a new team in Germany, from Kaiserslautern. This rooky team managed to surprise everyone and go through undefeated and win the Heidelberg 9s.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         David Safranek getting the ball away.

This tournaments has become an annual event now and attracts teams from as far as the UK. This years version had a Dutch team participate even.


All in all, if you want to travel to Germany for Rugby League then Heidelberg is it. This is a heartland city and state. There are always several games through the year, whether they are domestic, international or the annual Heidelberg 9s. The city provides one of the more beautiful backdrops for the sport in Europe and everyone who visits always comes away happy with the experience.

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