Paul Goodwin’s trust in Deutsche Bahn (DB) has been broken. The co-founder of the Scottish Football Supporters Association therefore advises his compatriots to arrive early for the European Championship games: “Leave the pub a little quicker, give yourself a little more time. The last thing you want is to arrive at half-time .”

Goodwin’s concern is justified: delays, cancellations, a lack of staff or no electricity in the on-board bistro – regular DB passengers are now used to it. Last year, more than one in three DB long-distance trains were delayed by at least six minutes. If you miss a connection because of a delay, you often arrive at your destination much later.

Word of Deutsche Bahn’s problems, the aging rail network and the recent frequent strikes has also spread abroad. “Be careful Scotland fans! Make sure you get the earlier train,” warns Goodwin. The fan representative assumes 40,000 Scottish supporters will travel to Germany during the European Championship. In many cases they then have to rely on the train for routes within Germany. Scotland will play the opening game against the German national team on June 14th in Munich.

Deutsche Bahn says it is ready for the flow of people. It wants to provide 10,000 additional seats on IC and ICE trains on match days, and holders of tickets for the games will receive discounts on tickets. In addition, 14 trains decorated with the EM logo run through the stations. Most of the major renovation program with full closures on individual central routes in Germany will not start until after the European Championships in order to avoid disruptions during the tournament.

“Unfortunately, we cannot do without construction work entirely, as we urgently need to reduce the renovation backlog of the last few years,” said a spokeswoman. However, there will be “no disruption” on the main long-distance routes. The company will do everything it can to “get fans to their games on time and reliably.”

Karl-Peter Naumann, honorary chairman of the Pro Bahn passenger association, thinks this is realistic. “If the staff doesn’t take vacation and nothing else unforeseen happens, then it should be manageable to some extent,” he told the AFP news agency. However, the behavior of the fans, especially if there are delays, is a not insignificant variable. “Sometimes, when you’ve drunk a lot of beer, they’re not that easy to handle anymore.” This could also lead to disruptions.

Against this background, the Railway and Transport Union (EVG) is calling for improved security measures – and otherwise is threatening strikes during the tournament. In a survey of 4,000 employees, 64 percent said they had been physically or verbally attacked in the past twelve months. If things don’t improve, “we will make sure that the trains don’t run,” said EVG board member Kristian Loroch to the Berlin “Tagesspiegel” at the beginning of the month. The railway announced that it wanted to employ more security personnel.

Tournament director and former professional soccer player Philipp Lahm is optimistic, but also urges fans to be patient. “Not everything will be perfect either,” he told AFP. Nevertheless, the EM is a good chance for Germany to show that the infrastructure works.