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BBC Radio Manchester Features
Ian prepares to ride the rollercoaster
City's European tour: Hamburg with Cheesy
Manchester City have made it to the UEFA Cup quarter-finals and Ian Cheeseman is off on the road again. It's a return to Germany, where he visited back in November for the game against Schalke - this time, he's off to the northern city of Hamburg.
Day 3: Riding the City rollercoaster
Watching City has been described, on many occasions, as being like being on a rollercoaster ride, and after the dip of a 3-1 defeat at Hamburg, there will need to be a very big climb on the other side to get them through to the semi-finals.
City fans enjoying the sun on the Reeperbahn
It seemed very appropriate, therefore, that I completed my preparations for the game by visiting Germany's biggest travelling funfair. It's located in the heart of Hamburg, where the fan park was for the World Cup of 2006.
There weren't many City fans there; most had chosen to spend their afternoon, in Germany's second biggest City on the Reeperbahn, a street that represents the less salubrious side of life.
Everywhere you look there are strip clubs, pubs and sex shops, and then, very much out of place, a tribute to the Beatles who first burst onto the pop scene in Hamburg back in the 1960's.
The fifth Beatle? Cheesy meets the Fab Four
There were plenty of City fans, apparently oblivious to the other entertainment close by, enjoying the warm sunshine and they seemed good natured and in fine voice when I walked along this famous thoroughfare.
I'd started my day by visiting Europe's biggest model railway, which was breathtaking, and very detailed. You don't have to be a model railway enthusiast to appreciate the scenery, which takes in everything from the ski season in the Alps to the Las Vegas strip. There's a scene depicting an outdoor rock concert and a perfect replica of the centre of Hamburg complete with the Nordbank Arena – I was tempted to add a miniature copy of myself, but decided to leave it.
On the right track: Europe's biggest model railway
Later I met up with Fred, who'd preferred the dockside sunshine, and we took the harbour cruise, which was very impressive. Two of my Schalke friends, Bernie and Cluadia, had made the trip up from Gelsenkirchen to follow their second team, City, so we discussed the game and all hoped for an away win, or at least a draw.
The day was passing by very quickly and match time was soon upon us - and for the first time in the competition, the nerves were jangling, because both Fred and I were aware that this was going to be City's toughest test yet.
As we enjoyed several pre-match frankfurters - surely hamburgers would have been more appropriate - we watched the fans arriving and there was an atmosphere building that reminded us of being at the old Wembley. The Nordbank Arena is certainly impressive and by kick-off time, that atmosphere had built to a crescendo.
In position: Ian preparing to commentate
We couldn't have asked for a better start, Stephen Ireland starting and finishing a lovely move that saw City ahead within seconds, but from that point onwards, the blue rollercoaster was heading down, with the 3-1 final score meaning that it will now take something really special to turn it around.
After the game, Ireland accused some of his team mates of lacking his passion and committment. One thing's for sure, you can never question his attitude. I still believe City can do it - I've learnt to expect the unexpected during the 40 years I've been watching them - but I can't help fearing that City's UEFA Cup ship has now sailed. I so hope I'm wrong.
Manchester City play Hamburger SV in the return leg of the UEFA Cup quarter final at Eastlands on Thursday 16 April
last updated: 10/04/2009 at 11:31