March of the Penguins

BFC Meteor 06 II (0:7) Polar Penguin

BFC Meteor 06 II vs Polar Penguin sounds like a dramatised documentary about a mass extinction, but luckily for lovers of our flightless friends in the Antarctica it is just another fixture in Berlin’s Kreisliga.

Why is there a team called Polar Penguin anyway? Certainly there must be pretty interesting story behind how one of Berlin’s most up and coming cult football clubs came to have such an unusual name? Penguins have been fairly en vogue in recent years. Perhaps they were fans of ‘Happy Feet’, and so took their name in homage of a penguin who danced his way to success? I could very much get on board with that. Or were they Batman fans who, back in the 90s, found themselves taking the side of Danny DeVito’s sinister, waddling supervillain, over Michael Keaton’s clean cut spoiled rich kid who spends his money dressing not even vaguely like a bat? That too, would be an interesting origin story for a football club. Maybe though, they were just a bunch of friends who got drunk in Berlin’s Penguin Club and in their inebriated state decided to start their own football club? Yeah, that’s it. That’s very Kreisliga.

Why Polar though? Why not Berliner Penguins, or Perhaps FC Berlin Blau Weiß Penguins? Well, penguins live in the south pole, so that just makes sense. Polar Penguins were founded in the early 90s, before everyone did ‘ironic’ things. Beards were just beards, and an ironic beard was completely unheard of. So Polar Penguins took the former part of their name as it factually accurate. And I suppose you can’t beat a nice alliteration too.

The most spectacular part of the story is of course that they followed through on their drunken idea. Whist most of us wake up the next day and hope nobody can remember the plans that were put in place whilst four tequilas deep, the founders of Polar Penguin had such resolve that their drunken ramblings still exist today and are indeed successfully negotiating the Kreisliga, having been Kreisliga C champions last year and currently sitting fourth in Kreisliga B. Impressive.

Polar Penguins didn’t start out in the Kreisliga though, for years they have played in Berlin’s various recreational leagues. It wasn’t until the club’s founding generation moved into their ‘Over 32 League’ era, or perhaps more kind to say they became Emperor Penguins, that the younger generation came to the fore and drove the club into their current purple patch. This has been achieved primarily by being better at football than the previous generation. Everything that they achieve will of course be partly owed to the founding generation, whose crazy drunken plans made it all possible.

Today, the new generation of the Polar Penguins would be facing BFC Meteor 06 II, very much a team in form. Meteor 06 II have taken thirteen points from their previous five matches and scored sixteen goals whilst doing so. Over the same number of games Polar Penguin may have taken three less points, but have also scored twenty one goals. Today’s match at BFC Meteor promised to be quite a lively encounter.

In football there are often matches in which the scoreline does not accurately reflect the game itself. That is most certainly not the case on this occasion. Whilst the Polar Penguins had arrived prepared for a potentially tough match, the home team had barely even arrived.

The Penguins opened their scoring after eight minutes, the goal coming from Jean-Michel Pistor. It would not be his only goal of the game. There isn’t a great deal to write about other than the incessant pressure which the Penguins applied to Meteor 06. Every now and then the home team would break out of their own half and have a run at goal which seemed doomed to fail before it even began. But immediately afterwards Polar Penguin would enjoy another five minute spell of not setting foot in their own half and winning a plethora of corners, most of would frustratingly hit the first man and bounce out for another corner.

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For all their possession and pressure the Penguins still had only a one goal lead as half time was approaching and it was beginning to feel like one of those matches that would fizzle out in the second half and end up an unsatisfactory 1-1. These fears were thankfully laid to rest by Krystian Kolatka who in the 40th minute nodded the ball across the line from quite possibly the first decent corner kick of the match. Two nil going into halftime was a far more accurate reflection of Polar Penguin’s first 45 minutes, but I can imagine there was still an element of frustration in the away team dressing room at halftime, as they really should have had more. The frustration would be alleviated in the second half.

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There really is only so much pressure a team can take before the inevitable crumble. Meteor didn’t so much crumble but rather explode into thousands of pieces. Still, credit must be given to them for how long they absorbed the pressure. They are certainly not a weak team, but were simply unable to ever get their footing against a better side. After sixty minutes Pistor grabbed his second goal and Penguin’s third. With no way back into the game, Meteor capitulated.

The highlight of the game followed as Jonathan Saße grabbed an impressive seven minute hat trick. A six goal victory would probably have sufficed, however Pistor was clearly not prepared to end on just a brace if hat tricks were being handed out, so in the 89th minute he finished up what he had started back in the 8th minute. Seconds later the referee blew the final whistle and ended the onslaught.

I can’t imagine BFC Meteor 06 II will suffer heavier defeats this season, especially for a team who are quite clearly capable of themselves inflicting crushing defeats. This could well have been a simply a come down from the previous weeks’ excellent run of results.

For Polar Penguin it was a fruitful Sunday morning of seven goals, two hat tricks and three points. With some favourable fixtures coming up over the next few weeks, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect the Penguins’ campaign to continue it’s successful march well into the winter break and beyond.

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