It has been a while since I have written anything on here, the reason being that I had a sudden realisation as to just how much of my life is consumed by football thinking too deeply about it, too much of the time. That and the small fact that my boss took some level of objection to me using company time to write about the lower levels of Berlin football, I mean, what sort of person would not totally and wholeheartedly understand my reasons and needs for doing this? Some people eh?!
Anyway, since my last blog a lot has happened in the world of Berlin football and the BerlinLiga is really heating up again and is shaping up to be as close as last seasons final table. At the moment, just 4 points separate the top 9 in the league and already the pulses are racing and the thoughts of fans and managers are turning to “what might be come May”. If like myself, you spend a great deal of your time talking with fans of the clubs and über-fans of the league, everyone will tell you that the unthinkable is possible and the dizzy heights of the Oberliga and away games in Altludersdorf really aren’t that far out of reach, even for some of the smaller teams currently embroiled in the top of the table battle. It may be too early in the season and far too close a league to make any predictions but I feel that having watched as many games as I have so far this season (over 25 in this league alone) that I am entitled to at least an educated guess as to how it could pan out. My thoughts are that despite the solid start to the season, Eintracht Mahlsdorf are a fading force and the fragilities of their once solid defensive line are becoming more apparent. This was evident last week at the Mommsenstadion where TeBe were able to slice through them like the birthday cakes being consumed in great volume on the terraces. This leaves it to one of the chasing pack to mount an assault on Mahlsdorf’s early season prowess and my prediction lies with either Hertha 03 Zehlendorf or TeBe. Hertha 03 were the most active side in the league over the summer, signing just about anyone with a bit of class looking for an out from one of the leagues lesser sides. They have looked solid and somewhat unbeatable so far this season and have not been shy in front of goal. Currently sitting in 2nd, they have a superior goal difference compared to everyone except for Mahlsdorf and have won every single game since the beginning of September. TeBe are, however, a resurgent force, a few weeks back there was a lot of discontent amongst the E-Block faithful and a sense that the team could be more focussed and disciplined was felt around the Mommsenstadion, in the pub and across the internet. They’ve bounced back very well from a couple of minor hiccups at the beginning of the season and are now unbeaten in both league and cup competition since the 1st of September. This, in my eyes, has been down to a renewed sense of togetherness between fans and players which coupled with some fantastic performances from Robert Scholl, Hamdi Chamki, Alexander Kynass and that man, Micha Fuss has meant that TeBe really do look a force to be reckoned with. I also believe there could be some tenuous link to an article written by No Dice following the loss to Hermsdorf (http://www.nodicemagazine.com/2013/09/23/hermsdorf-harmony-offers-lesson-to-toiling-tebe/) in which the downfalls of TeBe were heavily examined. They’ve improved in every area discussed since it was published.
So, ramblings on the past aside, it’s time to look ahead to the weekend in which we see another full and exciting fixture list across the city.
Tonight, the aforementioned title challengers, Hertha 03 Zehlendorf welcome TUS Makkabi to the Ernst Reuter Sportfeld (Nearest U-Bhf – Onkel-Toms-Hutte – U3) in a top v bottom BerlinLiga clash. Tus Makkabi have looked nothing short of dreadful in recent weeks and have currently only notched up 1 point to their tally throughout the season. With the league already shaping up to be very close at the top end of the table, the fans at Makkabi will be massively concerned about in which league they will be playing their football next season and really need to start recording some victories soon or else they could be out of it even going in to the WInterpause. Hertha 03 will be looking to continue their impressive run of form and both fans and players will be expecting nothing less than 3 points tonight. Even the most optimistic advocates of competitive football won’t be able to see passed a comprehensive home victory this evening.. Kick off is at 7.45 and entrance will, I believe, be €6. Be sure to order a Pommes Mountain as well. You will not be disappointed by quality or quantity.
Tomorrow, I will, of course be visiting SFC Stern 1900 as they welcome TeBe for an overly friendly affair that usually ends in drunkenness and debauchery in the stands and the fantastic clubhouse. This is, however, by no means the game of the day. This “accolade” goes to Berliner AK 07 as they welcome Carl Zeiss Jena to the Poststadion in a top of the table Regionalliga Nordost clash as 2nd play against 4th. BAK have started the season very well and are of the belief that they have enough, both on and off the pitch, to successfully place themselves in the national league system next term. At the moment, they are 1 point off of the lead, with a superior goal difference. They are so far unbeaten this season but face a massive test in a travelling Jena side that have only lost once so far. It should be an intriguing affair and the atmosphere and general good feeling around the club is ever-growing and a win tomorrow will go a long way to continuing the upward trend and of course, cementing themselves at the top of the table (all depending on how Neustrelitz get on away at VfB Auerbach tonight though, of course!).
Finally, Sunday sees another enticing set of fixtures including a full BerlinLiga programme (with the exception of Stern v TeBe). Again though, it is the Regionalliga Nordost that provides us with the game of the day and for me, this will be at the Amateurstadion in the Olympiapark (Nearest U-Bhf – Olympiastadion – U2) as a Berlin derby of sorts takes place as FC Viktoria 1889 Berlin Lichterfelde-Tempelhof e.V (known as FV1BLTEV from here onwards) visit the Hertha BSC second team. In terms of league standings and the overall make up of the table, this game has little significance. Hertha fans have been vocal in their criticism of the 2nd team this year as they have failed to get any form of momentum behind them and currently find themselves topping the relegation zone in the division, having only recorded 6 points. FV1BLTEV, have managed to record 7 draws out of the opening 10 games. Although they can be encouraged by the fact they have only lost twice all season, their inability to convert draws in to wins is cause for concern for Thomas Herbst and his team. This Sunday should, however, offer a great chance for them to get their second win of the season so far and a bit of one-upsmanship over their West Berlin contemporaries. The game kicks of at 13.30 and is €8 in.
So, best of luck for your teams this weekend (unless you are one of the 40 Stern Supporters) and I hope that wherever you end up that the weather holds out and the beer is cheap and plentiful. Full fixture list at the bottom of the page and I should have some more Stadium Reports and Groundhop plans up over the course of the weekend.
Full Berlin Fixture List (Bundesliga – BerlinLiga)
19:45 FC Hertha 03 – TUS Makkabi
14:30 SFC Stern 1900 – Tennis Borussia Berlin
14:00 SV Tasmania Berlin – Füchse Berlin Reinickendorf
14:00 SV Sparta Lichtenberg – Berliner SC
14:00 SC Gatow – Nordberliner SC
14:00 SC Staaken – SV Empor Berlin
14:00 VfB Hermsdorf – 1.FC Wilmersdorf
14:00 BSV Eintracht Mahlsdorf – TSV Rudow
14:30 SF Johannisthal – Köpenicker SC
15:30 Bayern München – Hertha BSC
13:30 1.FC Union Berlin – FC Erzgebirge Aue
13:30 Berliner Athletik Klub 07 – FC Carl Zeiss Jena
13:30 Hertha BSC II – FC Viktoria 1889 Berlin
13:30 VfB Germania Halberstadt – 1.FC Union Berlin II
13:30 SV Babelsberg 03 – FSV Wacker Nordhausen
14:00 Brandenburger SC Süd – SV Lichtenberg 47
14:00 RSV Waltersdorf – Torgelower SV Greif
15:00 FSV 63 Luckenwalde – VSG Altglienicke
14:00 FC Pommern Greifswald – BFC Dynamo
14:00 SV Altlüdersdorf – BSV Hürtürkel