The most beautiful floodlights in Berlin can be found in the heart of Prenzlauer Berg. Four art deco monuments tower above Berlin’s diminutive skyline and shine down upon the vivid colours within Jahnsportpark. The colours with which Jahnsportpark is fitted out are all too often on display, for though it has a capacity of 18000, it rarely comes close to hosting that number of spectators. Berlin, awash with football clubs, doesn’t have quite enough supporters to fill all the seats in its three biggest venues. Those who do turn out to support BFC Dynamo though, are certainly blessed with the city’s most aesthetically pleasing venue.
Of course, the seconds are not permitted to tread upon this hallowed turf. This, apparently, is an honour which must be earned. BFC II play a few kilometres away, in the most Germanically named Hohenschönhausen Sportforum; it just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it. With a capacity of 10000 it too is grossly oversized for the requirements of the seconds. Luckily though this is quite a charming venue, the charm largely being the appreciation of how it once probably looked and how run down it is now. Berlin is not an attractive city and one must truly learn to see the beauty in the decrepit.
Unluckily for BFC II, when for whatever reason the first team are unable to play in Jahnsportpark, they kick the second team out of their ground as they occupy the Sportforum. This leaves the seconds with no other option but to reduce themselves to a pitch fit for the Kreisliga. Wire fencing and fake grass. Though perhaps more appropriate in size for the handful of fans who turn out each weekend, it is a bit of a step down from a real stadium.
On the day I doubt this was the primary concern of the team. Sitting just two places above the relegation zone, BFC II are having a season which could be best described as underwhelming. In their previous four games they had taken just one point and conceded twelve goals. The goalless draw against third placed Mahlsdorf which gave them that point is quite the achievement considering their other recent results. Today they would face seventh placed TSV Rudow, who could potentially move above BFC Preussen with an away win.
There is no team I can think of whose backs I enjoy more than I do BFC Dynamo. Their claret coloured shirts may not be the most interesting of strips, but that bold font they use across the back; impressive. It makes me think they perhaps allowed a first year design student to take over the decision making regarding the font face and size. Maybe the student in question wasn’t exactly top of the class and indeed forgot he had been given the assignment until five hours before it was due. Hungover and with a headache he chose the boldest typeface he saw, all the others were too small and concentrating just made his head hurt even more. It may not be pretty, but damn it, somehow it works.
TSV on the other hand were kitted out in colours which curiously remind me of my favourite childhood subbuteo team. Red socks, green shorts and white pin striped jerseys. On more than one occasion I had to resist a strong urge to flick them.
Given their rather paltry league position I had not expected a great from BFC II. Actually I came expecting them to be handed a bit of a drubbing by Rudow. That was most certainly not how this game would play out. Every few minutes I would check my watch so I could accurately note when Dynamo’s early dominance inevitably came to an end. It didn’t. Not in the opening 45 minutes anyway. Wave after wave of attacks were hurled at TSV as Dynamo surged forward, repeatedly failing to get the ball into the net. It was almost as if their own dominance had them taken aback, and as they reached the edge of the 18 yard box the shock set in and resulted in a simple pass being overhit, underhit or fail to hit anywhere it really should have been directed. For all their dominance and the number of crosses made, BFC II made a shocking number of attempts on or off target.
Obviously TSV would make BFC pay for their inability to take advantage of their almost complete dominance of the first half, and in the 34th minute, with what was probably their second chance of the game, took a one goal lead through Ihab Al-Khalaf. It was to feel bad for Dynamo, shy of TSV actually being attached to Subbuteo bases and being unable to move of their own free will, it’s not clear what BFC actually needed to get the ball into the back of the net. Even after they conceded they continued to dominate across the pitch.
The second half would bring a reversal in fortunes for the home side. Not to say it saw them score, but rather they would no longer enjoy the dominance they showed in the first half. TSV would enjoy the greater share of possession in the second half, and for all they too were unable to make the most of the chances which came their way, they didn’t seem all too worried about it. Seeing BFC squander every single chance which came their way had lulled the visitors into a very valid sense of security. Not to suggest that Rudow weren’t particularly trying, they were, and BFC’s keeper, Kevin Sommer, was forced into action on more than one occasion to ensure the deficit was kept to just the one goal. There was simply a lack of urgency to TSV’s game.
Things did start to boil over in the final minutes when Dynamo seemed to finally realise they were destined to take nothing from this game. I can understand their frustration. If this is how the season thus far has played out for BFC II, I can’t imagine how disheartening it has been for them. This was by no means the performance of a team who should be worried about relegation. If they continue to play as they did against Rudow, they should be able to start to looking up the table, rather than worry about who is clipping at their heels from the red zone. Nevertheless it’s always a concern when good performances can’t be converted into points.
Perhaps a consolation to BFC II is that should the worst happen and they find themselves relegated, their astroturf home at the back end of the sportforum will be far more appropriate to the Landesliga than it is in the Berlin Liga. Or perhaps not.