In recent years, Augsburg has emerged as one of the prominent teams in Germany’s top-tier football league, the Bundesliga. Making its debut in the elite circle during the 2011/2012 season, the Bavarian team has since firmly established its position among the 18 top-level football clubs in the country.
Situated about an hour away by train from Munich, Augsburg is renowned for its cathedral and as the birthplace of Leopold, the father of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Besides football, two of the city’s notable events are the spring carnival and its puppet theater.
It’s this puppet theater that has served as a wellspring of inspiration for the local football team, particularly when it comes to hosting games at the “WWK Arena.”
Before each match at the stadium, the team captains exchange their respective flags. However, the captain of the visiting team is presented with something unique—a special doll resembling one of the iconic characters from the Augsburg puppet theater, known as “Augsburger Puppenkiste.”
Characters such as Jim Button, the train driver Lukas, Urmel from the Ice, the robber Hotzenplotz, Kater Mikesch, and Princess Lissi are just a few examples of the figures from the German children’s plays performed at “Augsburger Puppenkiste” whose dolls are gifted to the visiting team captains during their visits to Augsburg.
The tradition of presenting these dolls to the visiting team’s captain by Augsburg only started recently, at the beginning of the 2020/2021 season. This particular season marked the club’s tenth anniversary in Germany’s elite league, prompting them to initiate a tradition that would demonstrate their respect for their opponents.
The practice of gifting these dolls began back in the 2009/2010 season when the team was still in the Second Bundesliga. The purpose behind this gesture was not just to promote the city’s puppet theater but also to ensure that the visiting team receives a token of appreciation, even if they happen to lose their match at the WWK Arena.
The bond between the football club and the Augsburg puppet theater doesn’t end there. After every goal at the Augsburg stadium, the sound system resonates with the tune of “Augsburger Puppenkiste’s” song, “Island with Two Mountains.”
In this way, the club demonstrates its commitment and reverence for the local puppet theater, which has been providing entertainment for both young and old in the city for the past 75 years—a sentiment echoed by the football club’s endeavors.