…Or the perfect way to spend a wet and miserable night in Berlin…
Cup football is back!
Do I sound like a TV advert? I make no apologies, the excitement was real!
Two months after beating Bundesliga side Hoffenheim in the first round of the German Cup LINK, Berliner AK 07 were back in cup action, this time at home to 1860 Munich of the Bundesliga 2. And if they could hammer Hoffenheim 4-0, I, for one, was expecting a good game.
All teams from the third division or lower automatically get home advantage in the cup in an attempt to level the playing field somewhat, and BAK (as a team from the fourth tier, which is split into regions (like the English system is from tier six onwards)) chose to move the game from their home stadium (the Poststadion in Moabit) to the Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Sportpark in the trendy Prenzlauer Berg area of Berlin. I assume that this was not because the team wanted to disown their roots, but because the increased demand for tickets would mean that the crowd would be easier to handle in the 19,000 capacity stadium.
As the nights have become darker, upon leaving work it was impossible not to notice the bright floodlights illuminating the night sky, as the stadium is only a few blocks away from where I’m working. This is what football’s all about. I rushed to buy a snack (a sausage, since you asked) and a beer for the short walk to the stadium, and was in a crowd outside the stadium within a few minutes.
As with the first game in the 12,000 capacity Poststadion, the home area was in the main stand, and the away section was in an opposite corner (with cheaper tickets). The difference between the two was that, in the Hoffenheim game, the ‘away’ area was a mix of fans (predominantly Berliners who wanted to see a good cup game and the big team struggle). Yesterday night, nearly all of the fans in the ‘away’ area were 1860 fans (or ‘sexy’ fans – from the German word for sixty (sechsig). You have no idea how troubling it is to hear fans continually chanting ‘sexy’ to a bloody loud drumbeat), and they were a noisy bunch.
As we got into the away section, we (naturally) headed for a beer. I don’t know if the number of fans at the was higher than unexpected, but having two staff in the beer ‘van’ (one pouring (slowly) and one distributing (slowly)) for an end holding half of the 4,500 fans was ridiculous planning. Well, so I thought until I seen some smaller, ‘one-woman’ drinks stalls at half-time as we wandered around. But I will never get that time spent waiting back again.But, like I say, I didn’t realise that until too late, nor did most of the hundred or so people who got served before me. As a result, we missed the first few minutes. And then it took us a few more minutes to find seats, as most of the 1860 fans (except for the flag-waving hardcore) were stood at the back of the three blocks and across the stairwells. And then it took me a few more minutes to realise the referee was a woman. I’m telling you, it’s all action when I get to a game! Anyway, before anyone starts with the ‘sexist’ comments (which would make a welcome change from spam comments), I have nothing against women referees, and I knew she was an active referee in the German leagues. It was just weird to see one in the flesh. And she was fine, although I’m still waiting to hear if she made racist comments to the players (a bit of contextual humour there). If you wanna see her in (football) action, this is probably what she’s most famous for in Germany:
Anyway, you presumably want something like a match report. That’s not really my specialty. Something like this is my specialty. But, once again, I’ll give it a go…
The first half was pretty open with neither team really having many good chances. The BAK keeper saved a few shots well, and BAK themselves had a few chances from freekicks flung into the mixer (‘der mixer’, as it is possibly called in German). In fact BAK seemed to be looking to win freekicks around the box, going to ground quite often in key areas (although, in my experience, all German footballers do this). They had a couple of good chances from these set pieces, almost capitalising on the resulting pinball in the box, but for a few smart saves by the Munich keeper (who I would have sworn was wearing regular keeper Gabor Kiraly’s terrible tracksuit bottoms, except for the fact they were black, not soiled grey).
Munich were able to split the BAK defence on the break towards the end of the first half, with Stoppelkamp (that’s a proper German name, that is) putting it past the keeper. The goal was greeted by a flare in the away end, which had the police and stewards interested, if only momentarily. And with that, the first half was pretty much over, with the visitors leading by a goal.During the break, as we wandered to get some more beer (and a sausage, since you asked. Yes, again), the stadium announcer tried to encourage those in attendance that hope was not lost, and the loudspeakers played the specially-commissioned BAK rap song. I’ll let you judge it for yourself:
1860 were cheered on by a very vocal crowd (including several Dynamo Berlin fans, who loudly joined in the cheering against their rivals. It must be some climbdown for the former ten-time East German champions to be playing in the tier below BAK). BAK also had noteable support with the Turkish Prime Minister in attendance, presumably to support the home team, which has both German and Turkish roots.
In the second half, Munich eased into control, coping with the slippy conditions better than their hosts. BAK still put themselves about, but began to tire more noticeably. Their build-up play lacked the final pass, and the players often ran into trouble trying to make the yard of space needed to have a shot. 1860 scored a deserved second after an hour, although their third, from a breakaway near full-time, was harsh on the hosts.
It’s a shame that their cup adventure ended so soon after such a famous victory. But if they win the Berlin Cup this year, they will (hopefully) be able to shock a few more big names next year.
BAK: Kisiel; Altiparmak, Teichmann, Gerlach, Krstic; Yigitoglu (Akgün), Siemund; Avcioglu (Makangu), Blazynski, Kruschke (Malinowski); Cakmak
1860: Ochs; Schindler, Bülow, Vallori, Volz; Bierofka (Makos), Stahl (Nicu); Stoppelkamp, Halfar; Lauth (Tomasov), Blanco