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Ball in the Basque country

Already from in the morning hanging red - and hvidstribede Athletic-flag at the entrance to the bars in Bilbao, where we have the base for an extended weekend. The local League team must play in the day.

We are in the heart of the city centre and go down Pozas street, where we at the end see the stadium San Mamés. On sidewalks and street corners in front of bars flock of fans. Hands holding small draught beers and a huge cocktail glass. The alcohol pumps decibeltallet up. After a dark beer from the tap when we, in good time forward to the big space in front of the ultramodern stadium, which has capacity to 53,000 spectators.

Ageing couples, families of three generations and kyssende lovers go around without the bustle of the city, many with the striped sweaters and even more with the Bilbao-scarves.

An older gentleman with baskerhue caters to us and asks if we need tickets, but as it is recommended in Spain, we bought our tickets via the soccer club website.

Fodboldturister meetings we do not have many of. For danes and other fodboldinteresserede foreigners usually take to Barcelona and Madrid to see the La Liga. And it is a shame.

is more than one match, the Bilbao, the Basque country's largest city, a perfect starting point with its easily accessible international airport. The autonomous basque region, the size of the Zealand, all four teams in perhaps the world's best league.

in addition to the el Athletic there traditionsklubben Real Sociedad from San Sebastián on the coast, the upstart Deportivo Alavés from the capital Vitoria and lilleputklubben Eibar. All cities can be reached by train or bus in an hour and a half.

On a long weekend should, in addition to the two-three matches to take the time to see the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao and San Sebastián's beautiful, muslingeformede beaches.

In both cities, there are, moreover, filled with Michelin-starred restaurants with prices at a level far below the Danish. Or you go from bar to bar and eat in the basque variant of tapas, the perfectly, but cheap pintxos.

Athletic Bilbao is in the heavy end of the La Liga this season, nevertheless, it is an experience to visit Bilbao and watch football at the stadium. Photo: Ritzau Scanpix

success. The small club Eibar, if the fighting is typically attended by between 4000 and 6000 spectators, despite a minimal budget game in La Liga since 2014, and in 2016, moved also Deportivo Alavés up in the best row after ten sæsoners absence. And in the current season is the blue - and hvidstribede from Alavés suddenly become a subtophold.

spirit of Sacrifice, a tight structure and toxic kontraspil characterize Alavés’ expression. And in the whole play the basque clubs in general, a natural goal game of soccer – a combination of british kick-and-rush and refined Spanish).

As the red and white Athletic Bilbao fans screaming for basque to their home grown players inside the almost filled San Mamés:

the Jota ke irabazi arte!

Go hard for it, for we are victorious.

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Eibar - Spain's Leading

the Neighbors can look in on Eibars home matches at the small stadium Ipurua, which seats paltry 7.083 seated spectators. Photo: Rune Stefansson

Eibar is 38 kilometres from Bilbao, in an easterly direction in a green valley. With its 27.000 inhabitants is the smallest town in Spain with a team in La Liga.

Estadio Municipal de Ipurua looks like a run-down municipal stadium from the bottom of the next best herrerække at home in Denmark.

the Neighbors can from 5. floor and above looking over the stage. Ipurua is from 1947 and has space for a measly 7083 seated spectators.

an hour and a Half before kick-off put the opponent team's bus on the steep road that leads past the south side of the stadium. Not many notice it.

The first arriving local fans, wearing granatrøde scarves, standing on the nearby bar during the motorvejsbroen, while they drink their beer, coffee or brandy before the match. They have seen many famous players before from top stadionbaren. It is the fifth season in a row, SD Eibar expresses his La Liga dream.

Spain's answer to the Hobro IK – the unlikely story that everyone has sympathy for. Lillebyens keep advancing, in spite of all odds, up two seasons in a row, before the in 2014/2015 stood at LaLiga on the poorly drained local grass runway, doomed of all to express relegation.

We get the room in the southeast corner, four feet from the hjørneflaget. Regardless of where you sit, you are close to it all. The local heroes scores in the first half, and the siren sounds. In the break is hotdogpølsen flaccid, but the people are nice and talkative.

Eibar go to it after the break, 2-0, 3-0, and the siren and jublen from 4419 spectators sounds again. The team plays modern, fast and forward-looking. But at the same time it is a fodboldoplevelse as from the father's zenith.

And it is the world's best league.

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The basque derby

The basque flag (th.) is always to look for Athletic Bilbao home matches. Recently, hung it together with the Catalan (tv.), when Barcelona was on a visit. Photo: Ritzau Scanpix

The most-hyped showdown at these edges is ’the basque derby between Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad. The blue - and hvidstribede fans from San Sebastián mingling merrily with fans in red and white of Bilbao, sweaters, and hand-in-hand can be seen several lovers " with non-matching colors.

the Basques are friends, and The two rival clubs, both have won the league several times, represents the dream of an independent country – in the same way that FC Barcelona does it in a second prosperous region, Catalonia.

A large part of the audience speak the ancient basque language of the battens, but all understand Spanish and perhaps also a little English. The basque flag, the Ikurriña, is often seen in connection with the soccer ball. It looks like the Danish Flag with a diagonal green cross.

El Athletic using only players born or raised in the basque-speaking areas of northern Spain and southern France. In 1989 bled la Real up on the club's corresponding policy. It came to pass, after that the financially stronger club from Bilbao had signed a contract with a couple of Real Sociedads profiles.

and the economy is today the focal point of the rivalry between the two clubs. Where bilbainerne feel that the white-blue from San Sebastián has failed the basque nationalism, prosecutor, Real Sociedad-the supporters the lions of Athletic Bilbao in order to lure players, who have grown up in the San Sebastián club, with the wicked mammon. The top Athletics explanation of why the often download rivalens established players, is that the supply of basque players with the quality to La Liga in their nature, are limited.

Both clubs had their heyday in the first half of the’80s, where Real Sociedad players could lift ligapokalen in the summer of 1981 and 1982, and Athletic-players in 1983 and 1984. Four basque championships in four years!

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