Bottom of the Landesliga with zero points and a goal difference of -101 after fifteen games is a long way from the Oberliga. Yet for BSV Hürtürkel, that represents only two seasons of football. If last season in the Berlin Liga wasn’t brutal enough, with just 7 points and a GD of -136 after 34 games, then this season ought to do it.
But let’s take this back a few seasons. Hürtürkel may have only been relegated from the Oberliga in the 15/16 season, but this doesn’t of course mean they didn’t finish in a relegation spot, merely that they avoided relegation. Go back to the 11/12 season and you’ll again find Hürtürkel in the Landesliga. They may well wish the few seasons that followed didn’t happen. Two successive promotions found them riding a wave of success, followed by a respectable 40 points in their maiden Oberliga season. Then, well, If you support Hürtürkel, look away now.
Season 14/15 9 points GD -60 after 30 games
Season 15/16 10 points GD -104 after 30 games
Season 16/17 7 points GD 136 after 34 games
After a season of just 9 points and a GD of -60 in 14/15 fate handed Hürtürkel a reprieve from Oberliga relegation. Oh cruel fate. The next season would be no better. 10 points and -104. There would be no third chance. Dumped out of the Oberliga, and back at a more suitable level, it would have been ambitious and perhaps even unwise to expect a title challenge. Unexpected was also a second successive relegation, certainly by the margin at which it happened. This time 7 points and -136 goal difference. After 34 games. The lower Hürtürkel go, the worse they perform. They might do okay in the Bundesliga.
And so here we are today. Back to where we started in the 2011/2012 season. Back in the Landesliga, but just the other end of the table. Zero points. -101 goal difference. This season is not going to have a happy ending. The recent history of Hürtürkel feels like a game of snakes and ladders, where you’re one roll from victory, then you land of every single snake and end up on the very first square again. Of course when you’re a kid and still learning how to play nicely, there’s always just the option to kick the board away in a huff and cry as you run to your room and refuse to play anymore. Don’t worry, this metaphor is going somewhere. Hürtürkel kicked to board over too.
The decision to see Hürtürkel’s final game before the winter break was akin to deciding to watch David fight a pretty average Goliath (every team is Hürtürkel’s Goliath), and rooting against David. In fact hoping David gets pummeled. I was disappointed by the game, but not the result. There is always a team with the form that Hürtürkel are currently experiencing. They represent a curiosity of football. The team so bad that they inspire the question ‘how could they be so bad’. There will always be one. Hürtürkel are just such an extreme example.
Wittenauer SC Concordia are now sitting in 3rd position of the Landesliga St 1. This game was a breeze for them. Most of the match was Concordia trying too hard to score (no one wants to be the team who only beats Hürtürkel 2-0), therefore overhitting 95% of all their passes and crosses. Hürtürkel in the meantime argued at every whistle, by loudly complaining that the referee was biased due to team associations. A Landesliga classic it was not.
Hürtürkel had conceded their 100th goal early on in the match. That happening was a given. It was looking increasingly unlikely though, that they would hit the -100 GD in this match. With only three minutes remaining the match stood at 6-0, which would mean a GD of just -98. We needed a Christmas miracle in the final minutes. It came in the form of a red card in the 86th minute, and a temper tantrum so wild my 4 year old daughter could have learnt a thing or two.
I honestly didn’t see the challenge. But it warranted a second yellow card, and apparently that in turn warranted things to be kicked around before turning on your own goalkeeper and be led off the pitch by two members of your own team. Inspiring stuff. As unpleasant as it is to see this happen in football (especially in front of quite a few younger players) it did result in Hürtürkel refuse to actively participate in the match. They didn’t walk off the pitch, nor did they move or make any attempt to stop Wittenauer SC scoring 3 goals in the final three minutes. -99, -100, -101. Final whistle.
Hürtürkel aren’t the first team I’ve seen play who were having a shocking season. One the the first articles I wrote for Bloody Hell Magazine covered SV Adler Berlin during their relegation season of 15/16. They were awful. What I loved about Adler was the way they still played with such enthusiasm and joy, despite having 1 point and a GD of -169. There was nothing bitter or angry about their football. I saw none of that at Hürtürkel. Nothing to take away other than to hope not that they save their season, as that is almost an impossible task (especially if it goes to goal difference), but rather they somehow enjoy playing football again. Because if there is no joy in playing, what’s the point. This may seem a saccharine way to end this, but it’s Christmas, and even if I didn’t have that excuse, I would still believe it.
Now go and play board games with your families and friends, and if you’re losing, don’t kick the board over.