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OFFBEAT

Bundesliga victory has sting in the tail for Klopp

Borussia Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp admitted he got more than he bargained for when he gave some last-minute instructions to midfielder Sven Bender -- and was promptly stung by a wasp.

Bundesliga victory has sting in the tail for Klopp
Photo: DPA

Although the insect’s colours of yellow and black are those of Borussia Dortmund’s, it clearly was not a fan as it left Klopp in some discomfort just before the final whistle in Friday’s 1-0 Bundesliga home win over Werder Bremen.

While Dortmund team doctor Markus Braun is more used to knee and ankle injuries he was called upon to disinfect Klopp’s arm when it began to swell.

“I got stung by a wasp, I don’t know if I have an allergy, it didn’t hurt, it just swelled up fast,” joked Klopp.

“I was talking to our substitute Sven Bender when the wasp rammed its sting in my arm, the doctor disinfected it quickly.”

Ironically Dortmund’s mascot is Emma the Bee, who was also on the sidelines.

The German media joked about his mishap with daily Bild suggesting the wasp may have been blue and white striped — the colours of Dortmund’s arch-rivals Schalke 04, who play 35 kilometres away in Gelsenkirchen.

AFP

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OFFBEAT

Germany’s Scheffelbrücke: Everything you need to know about the ‘world’s most expensive bridge’

Germany's Scheffelbrücke might not seem like much to look at, but by some accounts it is the most expensive bridge in the world. Here’s what you need to know.

Germany's Scheffelbrücke: Everything you need to know about the ‘world’s most expensive bridge’
The Scheffelbrücke in Baden-Württemburg isn't known for its astounding beauty or engineering prowess - but it is known for its price tag. Photo: Heinz Seehagel, Creative Commons.

If you’re travelling near the Swiss border, you might come across the Scheffelbrücke – a quiet, two-lane bridge over the Radolfzeller Aach in Baden-Württemburg. 

By bridge standards, the 20-metre concrete construction seems relatively unremarkable – until you take a look at the engraved sign on the side which quotes the price tag. 

A sign on the bridge references the incredible price of the bridge: 1,520,940,901,926,024 Deutschmarks. 

That’s 1,500 trillion marks. 

Why is the Scheffelbrücke Germany’s most expensive bridge – and why is it so drab?

While Germany has the money and the landscape to have some expensive bridges, that over the Aach hardly rivals the Golden Gate, London Bridge or Sydney Harbour for elegance or ingenuity. 

The bridge, completed in 1923, takes the name of Joseph Victor von Scheffel, a German writer who will forever be associated with the glorified concrete slab. 

While one might suspect pork barrelling or crafty accounting as a reason for the astonishing cost – or perhaps a trick to reel in the tourists to the otherwise unassuming village of Singen – the cost is in fact real.

The high price is a consequence of the out of control post-World War One inflation which hit Germany, where money almost completely lost its value. 

A sign for the bridge reveals its extortionate building costs. Photo: Heinz Seehagel, Creative Commons.

Local authorities, wanting to boost the economy, signed off on the bridge as an infrastructure project. 

As a consequence, some local workers presumably became millionaires as a consequence – although there was perhaps little meaning to the idea of being a millionaire when a billion would only buy you a concrete bridge. 

Fortunately, Germany was able to bring inflation under control and wheelbarrows full of money were no longer required to purchase basic things.

And almost a century later, when not taking wacky inflation into account, Germany’s ‘most expensive bridge in the world’ no longer has that title. 

That goes to the Oakland Bay Bridge in San Francisco (no, not the Golden Gate but the other one), which cost 6.3 billion US dollars – or roughly 5.2 billion euro  – to build. 

The Oakland Bay Bridge however goes for eight kilometres and possesses some of the aesthetic qualities which one would expect from the most expensive bridge in the world. 

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