Afternoon and apologies for the irrelvant photo of the greatest man that ever lived, I haven’t quite calmed down from Wednesday night yet. In the last week I’ve been on an International break with a football-beer-herb holiday to The Netherlands. We took in games at Almere City and Amsterdam FC but the highlight was the Spakenburg Derby. For anyone who has not heard of this fixture before, it’s quite possibly the most delightfully strange excuse for a piss-up and a dig at your neighbours that football has to offer. Spakenburg is a village in the north of the country with only 20,000 inhabitants and 2 football clubs. On Derby Day, everyone takes a side and nearly half of the village pack in to either the stadium of Spakenburg FC or IJsselmeervogels. Last Saturday saw the latter mentioned side hosting the match in a “Rood v Blauw” battle for local supremacy. The football was pretty awful with neither side really getting a foothold on the game but the real spectacle took place in the stands and on the pitch before the game. Only in the lower depths of European Football could you find something so bizarre it makes even a hardened follower of the BerlinLiga question their sanity. In the build up to the game, we were treated to the wonderful scene of a group of Smurfs (the derogatory nickname for “Die Blauwen” given to them by the ‘Vogels), being chased around the pitch by a giant Chicken and a priest. Seriously, baffling stuff but bloody good fun to watch nonetheless. Unfortunately, due to a few too many Jupilers the night before, I was unable to attend the post-match party but the members of our group who went have been singing Dutch-Gabba-Schlager and shouting “Ik hatte smurfen” ever since the game finished so I can only assume it was craziness in it’s highest form. Basically, every one should already be booking their flights and hotels for the return leg. Possibly the best derby in the world. Here is a little taster of the weirdness courtesy of YouTube.
Anyway, that is all besides the point as its only bloody Friday again and it is nearly time for another weekend of excess fussball, bier und wurst consumption and to make matters better it’s a Friday night with a floodlit BerlinLiga game. I love Fridays at the best of times but love them even more when Tennis Borussia Berlin are playing as it means I get to rant about them on here without feeling at all biased and get to spend an evening drinking beer in the best possible surroundings with some of the finest people in this city. Last time I wrote a preview on a TeBe game (or at all for that matter), it was in the build up to the SFC Stern 1900 away game and I may have confidently (and maybe a bit arrogantly) predicted that since improving the discipline of the side, TeBe had started to look like real title contenders and that there was some sort of belief amongst both the fans and the players. Well, 3 red cards and 2 losses later, it is safe to say that I had completely misjudged the situation. The Stern game was a complete farce from start to finish and the ill-discipline displayed by Fabien Thokomeni and Tom Kirstein was typical of a team that has, once again, failed to learn from their mistakes. This stupidity and complete lack of professionalism was compounded further as TeBe saw Daniel Bongartz dismissed early on in last Sundays 0-1 defeat at the hands of TSV Rudow. All this aside, they will be looking to bounce back tonight and use the increased atmosphere a Friday night game at the Mommse brings to get back to winning ways. Tonight’s guests are Fuechse Reinickendorf Berlin who currently sit in 13th position in the BerlinLiga table. The Foxes struggled to get off to a good start but will be very encouraged by their performances of late recording 13 points from their last 5 games. In all honesty, unless TeBe have been completely bollocked by the boss and spent the last week at some sort of Football Brat Camp, I can’t see passed the away side getting a result and effectively halting TeBe’s title ambitions. To go from contenders to mid-table obscurity in the space of 3 weeks would be a real shame but they can’t blame anyone but themselves and they will have to go along way to redeem them selves this evening. The game takes place at the Mommsenstadion (nearest S-Bahn – Messe Sud) and kick off is at 19.00pm.
Tomorrow, there is, for some reason far less games than usual across the city and if I can muster the courage to drag myself out of my inevitably hungover pit, I will be heading along to Rotation Prenzlauer Berg against TUS Makkabi II, however, the game of the day takes place the Stadion An Der Alten Foersterei (nearest S-Bahn – Koepenick) as 1.FC Union Berlin will be looking to record yet another home victory following their 4-0 away defeat at the hands on 1.FC Koeln on Monday evening. Still riding high in the league, there is no disgrace in the Koepenicker losing to the best side in the division and the fans, players and the club as a whole can be very proud that they have been able to maintain their high flying start and still sit in 2nd place in the league. The only cause for concern for Uwe Neuhaus and his side is that the recent games they have lost have been against the other teams who are fighting for promotion. These results aside, they are still in a commanding position within the league and tomorrows match gives them a fantastic chance to add 3 valuable points to their tally. This is not to say that KSC won’t put up a challenge though, they have been a bit of a surprise package in their first season back in the 2.Bundesliga currently sitting in 5th place in the league and on a run of 3 games without a loss. They will also be well backed in numbers and in noise tomorrow as their fan freundschaft with Hertha BSC usually swells the KSC away following for games in the Hauptstadt. The game kicks off at 13:00pm and there are still limited tickets available in all areas of the stadium.
Sunday sees a nearly full BerlinLiga calendar as well as mouthwatering ties in the Regionalliga, Oberliga and beyond. The top game of the day takes place at the Ernst-Reuter Sportfeld (nearest U-Bahn – Onkel Toms Hutte) as Berlin Liga leaders Hertha 03 Zehlendorf welcome 2nd placed Sparta Lichtenberg, one of the most surprising teams to be included in a top of the table duel. Hertha 03 are certainly the team to beat this season and have scored more goals than anyone else in the division. Currently, 03 are on a run of 5 straight wins in all competitions and have only lost once all season. I can’t deny for a second that with the stadium they have and the team currently signed up, that they would do very well in the Oberliga and if they can keep this run going in the Winterpause, it would be very hard to see passed them lifting the trophy come May. Sunday’s guests are enjoying their time in the BerlinLiga since being promoted from the Landesliga last year and they have managed to record 8 victories in the process. There is no doubt that they fully deserve their high-flying status but they won’t mind me saying that tomorrow will be the sternest test they have faced thus far. Kick off is at 14.00pm.
So, thanks for reading and apologies for waffling on, the Friday caffeine rush and anticipation for the weekend does get the better of me from time to time. Good luck to all the teams involved this weekend and as always, I hope that you enjoy yourself at whatever games you end up at.
Photos are included with thanks to Ian at No Dice (www.facebook.com/nodicemagazine) and Felix at Groundhopping Etc. (www.facebook.com/groundhoppingetc)