A man from the Faroe Islands is the new hero of East Westphalia. Joan Simun Edmundsson, 29, has been since Saturday, to be more precise: since his substitution in the 67th minute, the first Faroese in the Bundesliga and since the 78th minute of this game between Arminia Bielefeld and 1. FC Köln also the first Faroese goalscorer in Germany’s highest league. With his goal for a 1-0 (0-0) victory, he gave Bielefeld their first win of the season in their first Bundesliga home game in eleven years. After the 1: 1 at the start of the previous week at Eintracht Frankfurt, the Armines now have four points in their account. The Cologne, however, also lost the second game of the season and are without a point. “It sucks,” said defender Rafael Czichos.
On the Faroe Islands between Scotland and Iceland, the almost 50,000 residents are already familiar with this tabular constellation, because Edmundsson revealed after the game that “everyone is looking at the Faroe League” – because of him, of course. He started his professional career at Newcastle United ten years ago and in the past two seasons was the first Faroese to play in the second German division. This summer, the Faroe Islands have now risen to the Bundesliga with him, so to speak – with him and the city of Bielefeld, where around seven times as many people live as on the many small islands up there in the icy European North Sea.
Bielefeld waited 4145 days, nine years and four months for this Bundesliga home game. Since relegation in 2009, Arminia even played in the third division for three years and faced economic failure several times. With this in mind, Saturday should have been an official holiday in Bielefeld, the shops closed, the streets decorated, the team bus ride to the stadium should have been lined with tens of thousands of people throwing their hats in the air. So much for the imagination.
The reality in Corona times was of course different. There was hardly anything going on on the nearby Siegfriedplatz, a traditional gathering point for many fans, and residents were no longer selling sandwiches or chilled drinks from the front gardens around the arena in the middle of a residential area. 5460 spectators were allowed to watch the historic game in the stadium.
“Eddy has a special sense of humor that you have to understand,” says coach Neuhaus
These 5,460 exclusively Bielefeld sympathizers created an estimated mood for 10,920, because everyone probably had the feeling that they had to replace a missing fan. And they might even have set the mood for 16,380 before the 78th minute, if their well-positioned, amazingly self-confident and proactively trying to get possession of the ball, Arminia had managed to radiate a bit of scoring danger even before the Faroese fanal. But this was not so. Cologne had the only mini chance shortly before the break when Czichos missed a fluttering free kick from Ondrej Duda right in front of the goal. Up to the 78th minute, the game lacked any spectacle.
So it had to be 5:03 pm before the Bielefeld fans sang: “The DSC is back.” Because at that moment Edmundsson had scored the first Bundesliga home goal for DSC Arminia since May 2009. It was actually not a real chance, because the 29-year-old had run into a long ball from his own goalkeeper Ortega, but was drifted so far to the right in the penalty area and so close to the goal line that nobody sensed any real goal danger – including Cologne Goalkeeper Timo Horn apparently not, who was probably surprised by Edmundsson’s direct shot on goal from a tight angle. Horn touched the ball minimally, but it slipped from his leg directly into the goal.
“Sure it was on purpose,” grinned left-footed Edmundsson over his right-hand goal in brittle German. His trainer Uwe Neuhaus later had to laugh at this statement. “Eddy has a special sense of humor that you have to understand.”
“Happy”, Neuhaus called the victory of his Armines and, as a down-to-earth Ruhrgebiet Westphalian, did not want to boast of the four points. “We know how to classify that.” The mood in the Faroe Islands is likely to have been more exuberant on Saturday evening.