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3,340: Fußball in Berlin, game 25

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Yesterday was Father’s Day in Germany. A day when some men like to get drunk and behave badly. It was also a public holiday because of something Christian. Easter II (The Director’s Cut), maybe..? Obama was in town, reminding everyone of what a president should look like.

And for me and the 6,689 other people inside the stadium, it was the final of the Beriner Landespokal, the Berlin Cup: Berliner FC Dynamo v FC Viktoria 1889 Berlin.

The Berliner Landespokal is a competition for loads of Berlin teams. Only the two biggest teams in the city (Hertha BSC and 1. FC Union Berlin) didn’t compete. And the cup is part of a bigger national event organised by the Deutscher Fußball-Bund (German Football Association) where every state has its similar amateur cup final game on the same day. They call it Finaltag der Amateure (Amateur Final Day). It seems to me that this is quite a good idea. The games from all around Germany are televised nationally, so lots of people who wouldn’t normally go to or watch amateur football can do so.

This is something I’d been looking forward to ever since I thought about the project to see all eleven Berlin teams in the top five tiers of German football. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the idea of going to this cup final held a special place in my brain, like a crowning moment of my personal project. Absurd, of course, but it was actually really nice to look forward to a cup final between two teams I don’t care about in the same way that I would look forward to the FA Cup Final being on telly when I was a youngster.

My flatmate and I, though, had sat on the balcony the night before, happily drinking and listening to songs on YouTube. Both of us were a bit raw come Cup Final Day. Thankfully, the game was taking place at the local stadium. When the stadium ticket office opened a couple of hours before kick off, we nipped to get tickets for the Haupttribüne, the main stand. The stadium is also the home stadium of Dynamo. Their fans would be in the other side of the ground. Viktoria, a team with less fans, had a couple of sections next to the main stand, and the main stand itself was a mix of neutral fans and Viktoria fans, with a few Dynamo fans scattered around, too. But I am getting ahead of myself.

We got the tickets and went to a local bar, Cafe Meta, where I’d arranged to meet another pal. Sometimes, I’m shocked at my own brain’s inability to think things through. When we organised to meet there, I didn’t even consider that it would be busy. In my head, I thought: this place is close to the stadium, it’s nice, so we can sit down have a quiet drink and a chat. My brain had, for whatever reason, totally failed to connect the cup final happening a couple of hundred metres away in the home stadium of one of the teams: of course it would be full of their fans. And Dynamo fans have a reputation. At this point I will say that the only Dynamo fan I have ever known was a good guy. Not a hooligan, and not right wing. But Dynamo fans have that reputation.

This was the second Dynamo game I’ve been to, and I don’t feel entirely comfortable around them. This is quite likely all in my imagination, of course. Stood outside the bar with beers, the sunglasses of a guy near me fell off his head, onto the pavement, near my feet. I picked them up and passed them to him. He snatched them out of my hand and did not say thank you. I did not lodge an official complaint with the British Embassy about this blatant rudeness, but it didn’t help my perception that we were drinking in a bar where our presence wasn’t welcome.

Inside the stadium we got some beers, found a spot at the railing along the walkway above the lower section of seats in the Haupttribüne, and settled in. The stranger next to us asked if the beer was alcohol free. We said no. He said that he thought all the beer at the stadium was alcohol free today. We kinda assumed he was joking or didn’t know what he was on about: the Berliner Landespokal is, for sponsorship reasons, currently called the Berliner Pilsner Pokal, after the local beer Berliner Pilsner. There’s no way that these two facts could sit together. Makes no sense. And I’m still not entirely sure if we were drinking real beer or fake beer. For a while, it felt like we were drinking alcohol. Maybe it was a combo of a couple of beers before the game and the placebo effect of thinking we were drinking beer. I started to have my doubts, though, when I burped. The burpy taste was distinctly different to a Berliner Pilsner burp. I know this, because that is my go-to beer for the fridge at home. I’ve burped their burps many times. I’m not sure I want to do any more research on whether it was or wasn’t beer. I’m quite happy with the mystery.

The game started okay. Viktoria had a good first half with a couple of decent chances. Dynamo were in it a bit more in the second half, but aside from the last five minutes or so of the game, it was pretty dull. 0-0 at full time. Extra time on its way. My friend and I were both hungry. Neither of us eat meat. There were no meat-free snacks available, not even chips (fries) or chips (crisps). We had the tentative “well, what do you want to do?” chat and fairly swiftly decided: fuck it, let’s go and get some food. We weren’t the only ones leaving. Most people stayed of course, but there were about 50 other people (fans of both teams) heading to the gates. As we turned onto a side street, we heard a big cheer. Dynamo had score. Too big a cheer to be a Viktoria goal. But we were focussed on our empty bellies, and went to Beirut Restaurant, our local and entirely excellent Lebanese place for some makali.

While our bellies were thanking us, Viktoria equalised. While our bellies continued to thank us, Dynamo scored a second and a third goal. But we were makali-ed up. Life was good. The final hadn’t lived up to my pre-game excitement, but as tedious commentators will often say, “that’s football.”

Fußball in Berlin:
Hertha BSC v Eintracht Frankfurt, (25/2/17)
FC Viktoria 1889 Berlin v 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig (18/3/17)
FC Hertha 03 Zehlendorf v SV Lichtenberg 47, (19/3/17)
Berliner AK 07 v FC Schönberg 95, (22/3/17)
SV Empor Berlin v 1. FC Union Berlin, (23/3/17)
VSG Altglienicke v FC Viktoria 1889 Berlin, (25/3/17)
Berliner FC Dynamo v Hertha BSC II, (29/3/17)
Hertha BSC II v FSV Union Fürstenwalde, (1/4/17)
Charlottenburger FC Hertha 06 v 1. FC Frankfurt, (2/4/17)
1. FC Union Berlin v Erzgebirge Aue, (5/4/17)
SV Babelsberg 03 v Berliner AK 07, (7/4/17)
SV Lichtenberg 47 v SV Victoria Seelow, (14/4/17)
Tennis Borussia Berlin v FC Hansa Rostock II, (15/4/17)
SV Babelsberg 03 v Hertha BSC II, (20/4/17)
FC Strausberg v Tennis Borussia Berlin, (23/4/17)
Tennis Borussia Berlin v Charlottenburger FC Hertha 06, (26/4/17)
SV Babelsberg 03 v FC Energie Cottbus, (28/4/17)
SV Germania 90 Schöneiche v SV Altlüdersdorf, (29/4/17)
Tennis Borussia Berlin v FC Mecklenburg Schwerin, (30/4/17)
1. FC Frankfurt v Tennis Borussia Berlin, (7/5/17)
Tennis Borussia Berlin v SV Grün-Weiss Brieselang, (12/5/17)
SV Empor Berlin v SV Tasmania Berlin, (13/5/17)
FC Hertha 03 Zehlendorf v Tennis Borussia Berlin, (19/5/17)
SV Tasmania Berlin v SC Staaken, (21/5/17)
Berliner FC Dynamo v FC Viktoria 1889 Berlin, (25/5/17)

Other business
There are obviously reasons why we don’t immediately know the names of victims of things like the horrible thing in Manchester, and rightly so. But, y’know, unless a perpetrator is still at large, I don’t need to know the name or see a photo of the terrorists who do such heinous things. The inverted pyramid of journalism could use an update:

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Sultans of Swing by Dire Straits

On this day
Stuck Tic Tacs, 26 May 2009

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article

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Written by Craig

May 26th, 2017 at 3:09 am

Posted in Blah blah,Sports

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