IMAGO/Noah Wedel

Noah Wedel: Documenting EURO 2024 Beyond the Stadiums

Unlike the conventional focus on stadiums and fan zones, IMAGO photographer Noah Wedel aims to uncover the hidden stories of EURO 2024 beyond the stadiums. Read his journey.

Noah Wedel
A photo of Noah Wedel. Image courtesy of Noah Wedel.

So far, we have seen many photos from the EURO 2024 games: stadiums, players, fans cheering, and multiple angles of famous fan zones. But what about the scenes behind these typical pictures? How are people heading on their journey toward the tournament? What about the lesser-known places beyond the famous landmarks of big cities? Side streets, remote train stations, and areas not traditionally known for their football teams hold stories too. How are people in these places connected to EURO 2024 and the football culture?

This is what IMAGO photographer Noah Wedel aims to uncover during this tournament. With a camera in hand, he is journeying across Germany to highlight what others often overlook. “Stories can emerge anywhere, not just at landmarks, fan zones, or stadiums,” Noah says.

“I want to be guided by the emotions and atmosphere of different nationalities.” While moving around the country, Noah sat down with us to explain how he is covering one of the most important tournaments in the football world from behind the scenes. He shared his plans, how he brings different perspectives to life, and the stories that must be told—stories that might have otherwise gone unnoticed.

“Even side streets can offer stories worth telling. I aim to move away from the mainstream, wandering aimlessly through cities, which might not always be eventful. The key is to stay relaxed and keep an open mind, looking around.” – Noah Wedel.

EURO 2024 fans
IMAGO / Noah Wedel | Football, European Championship or EURO 2024 in Germany, Feature Germany vs. Scotland: A Scottish fan played the bagpipes inside a McDonald’s on June 14, 2024.

Could you introduce yourself and explain why sports photography?

I’m Noah Wedel, 24 years old, living in East Westphalia-Lippe, about 20 kilometers from Bielefeld. I’ve been photographing sports for ten years, except for a two-year stint training as a journalist.

I started doing it alongside school, and after graduating, it became my main profession. As a kid, I was often a spectator at football stadiums and handball arenas, always with a camera. At the end of 2013, I got the chance to photograph at the TuS Nettelstedt-Lübbecke in the Handball Bundesliga. I still remember those early photos. Looking back, I see that they were pretty terrifying (he laughs). But it was a start, and over time, I got the opportunity to shoot not just locally but also in the top football leagues. Last May, I also received an award for second place in a local German sports competition.

What was your first major event as a sports photographer? Did it impact your work?

Defining a major event can be tricky. For me, it started with third-league games at 15, then Bundesliga games four years later, and some DFB-Pokal matches in between. These experiences shaped me significantly, and I can’t pinpoint just one event. It was a lot of fun—without that enjoyment, I probably wouldn’t be here today. Many people positively influenced me during that time, especially my parents, with their support. I also had many negative experiences, which were crucial for my development. Questions like “Who am I?” “Who do I want to be?” and “Where do I want to go?” became important. Finding answers to these questions helped me to stay consistent in my work.

Can you describe the main concept of your photography project for EURO 2024?

My goal is to capture the atmosphere in Germany outside the stadiums. This could be in the cities hosting the games, at other locations, or during special events that contribute to the tournament’s character.

“Even side streets can offer stories worth telling. I aim to move away from the mainstream, wandering aimlessly through cities, which might not always be eventful. The key is to stay relaxed and keep an open mind, looking around.”- Noah Wedel.

Noah Wedel
IMAGO / Noah Wedel | Football, European Championship 2024 in Germany, fans in Dortmund, Turkish woman in front of a children’s carousel at noon before the match.
Noah Wedel
IMAGO / Noah Wedel | June 14, 2024 – Football, European Championship 2024 in Germany, Feature Germany vs. Scotland: German fans cheer after Kai Havertz’s 3-0 goal.

What inspired you to focus on the surroundings outside the stadiums for EURO 2024?

I decided early on not to apply for an accreditation for the championship. With over 100 photographers per game, it’s hard to stand out. My main goal is to distinguish myself from the competition, which isn’t always easy. Many photo motives get over-photographed with so many photographers. Outside of the stadiums, it’s different. It offers a chance to capture exclusive material and stand out. If I can achieve that, I’ve met my goal.

How are you preparing for this extensive photography project?

My planning is very spontaneous. I look for cities where something might be happening or where special events are taking place. I travel by train to capture potential photo opportunities during the journey or at the train station. This would be harder on the highway (Noah laughs).
I also want to experience Germany during the tournament, visit cities I’ve never seen or haven’t visited in a long time, and meet people from different nationalities. This excites me more than being able to say, “I photographed the European Championship inside the stadiums.”

Can you share how you plan to tell a story with your photos? What kind of story are you hoping to capture?

I want to be guided by the emotions and atmosphere of different nationalities. Things often turn out differently than expected. That’s why I travel with little planning and few expectations, just seeing what comes. Stories can emerge anywhere, not just at landmarks, fan zones, or stadiums.
Even side streets can offer stories worth telling. I aim to move away from the mainstream, wandering aimlessly through cities, which might not always be eventful. The key is to stay relaxed and keep an open mind, looking around. If nothing comes up, at least it benefits my step counter (he laughs).

Noah Wedel
IMAGO / Noah Wedel | A Dutch fan drinks beer from a funnel at the fan march near the Olympic Park. July 02, 2024, Munich, Germany.

“Stories can emerge anywhere, not just at landmarks, fan zones, or stadiums.” – Noah Wedel.

IMAGO/Noah Wedel
IMAGO / Noah Wedel | A German fan at the Fröttmaning underground station during the EUOR 2024 in Germany.

Can you provide details on the photo equipment you will use for this project and why you chose it?

I’m focusing on the essentials: two cameras, two very fast prime lenses, and a wide-angle lens to be ready for various scenes. Less is more because carrying heavy gear all day is tough. Plus, I need a laptop to send the photos on time.

What does a typical day look like for you when covering such a dynamic and unpredictable event?

Some days, I know where I’m going; other days, I decide spontaneously based on match locations and current events. In some cities, I have contacts who can alert me to potential riots or large celebrations. Social media also helps me to stay flexible.
My main points of interest are landmarks, fan zones, stadiums, and whatever interesting scenes I encounter along the way. But with me, nothing is predictable.

What have been your highlights so far?

Clearly, the Scottish fans. The fans drink a lot in Munich on the Marienplatz, but they are more peaceful. One fan plays music with her bagpipes in a McDonalds, German and Scottish fans celebrate after the game together on the forecourt of the stadium Munich. The other one are the fans from the Netherlands with their parties. There is a difference between seeing it live and watching it only on video. That was very remarkable. But fans of other nations were also in a good mood: England fans playing football in downtown, people from Mexico are in Dortmund or a fan from Slovenia dances with a tv presenter for example. This tournament is amazing outside the stadiums and the right decision that I´m not in the stadiums. All in all, I have had so far many great encounters so far.

Noah Wedel
IMAGO / Noah Wedel | A Slovenian fan dances with a TV presenter before the match at Cologne Cathedral. June 25, 2024, Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.
Noah Wedel
IMAGO / Noah Wedel | Fans during the European Championship 2024 in Germany.

Can you provide details on the photo equipment you will use for this project and why you chose it?

I’m focusing on the essentials: two cameras, two very fast prime lenses, and a wide-angle lens to be ready for various scenes. Less is more because carrying heavy gear all day is tough. Plus, I need a laptop to send the photos on time.

What does a typical day look like for you when covering such a dynamic and unpredictable event?

Some days, I know where I’m going; other days, I decide spontaneously based on match locations and current events. In some cities, I have contacts who can alert me to potential riots or large celebrations. Social media also helps me to stay flexible.
My main points of interest are landmarks, fan zones, stadiums, and whatever interesting scenes I encounter along the way. But with me, nothing is predictable.

What have been your highlights so far?

Clearly, the Scottish fans. The fans drink a lot in Munich on the Marienplatz, but they are more peaceful. One fan plays music with her bagpipes in a McDonalds, German and Scottish fans celebrate after the game together on the forecourt of the stadium Munich. The other one are the fans from the Netherlands with their parties. There is a difference between seeing it live and watching it only on video. That was very remarkable. But fans of other nations were also in a good mood: England fans playing football in downtown, people from Mexico are in Dortmund or a fan from Slovenia dances with a tv presenter for example. This tournament is amazing outside the stadiums and the right decision that I´m not in the stadiums. All in all, I have had so far many great encounters so far.

Noah Wedel
IMAGO / Noah Wedel | England fans during the European Championship 2024 in Germany. June 25, 2024, Germany.
England Fans EURO 2024
IMAGO / Noah Wedel | Fans during the European Championship 2024 in Germany.
Noah Wedel
IMAGO / Noah Wedel | Fans during the European Championship 2024 in Germany.

“My goal is to capture the atmosphere in Germany outside the stadiums. This could be in the cities hosting the games, at other locations, or during special events that contribute to the tournament’s character.”- Noah Wedel.

Scottish fans EURO 2024
IMAGO / Noah Wedel | Scottish fans with a crate of beer at the Fröttmaning underground station during the EURO 2024.
Albanian fans euro 2024
IMAGO / Noah Wedel | Albanian fans before the match at the Westfalenhallen in Dortmund during the European Championship 2024 between Italy and Albania. 15.06.2024, Germany.
public viewing euro 2024
IMAGO / Noah Wedel | No public viewing today for EURO 2024 at Marienplatz. June 2024, Germany.
Noah Wedel
IMAGO / Noah Wedel | German fans during EURO 2024.
Noah Wedel
IMAGO / Noah Wedel | Football, European Championship 2024 in Germany, fans in Dortmund, Turkey vs Georgia, Turkish fans before the match in front of the main station in Dortmund.
Slovenian fans euro 2024
IMAGO / Noah Wedel | EURO 2024 in Germany, Slovenian fans on the way. June 25, 2024, Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.
Noah Wedel
IMAGO / Noah Wedel |EURO 2024 in Germany, Dutch fans before the match Romania vs Netherlands.

The credit of cover photo: IMAGO / Noah Wedel


See Noah Wedel’s photos with IMAGO here.

See IMAGO exclusive EURO 2024 collections.

Discover THE GAME MAGAZINE’s EURO 2024 Special Edition.

Delve into the world of UEFA EURO 2024 with IMAGO ZINE.