FC Nordost Berlin v SV Blau-Gelb Berlin
It’s a little known fact that the Berlin S Bahn is run by anti-solar power, which causes the trains to stop working as soon as Spring arrives. This of course has nothing to do with football, other than seeing me stuck at Schönhauser Allee with a zero percent chance of getting to Adlershof in time for kick off. That’s the only reason I found myself at FC Nordost Berlin for their match against SV Blau-Gelb Berlin. Their kick off time was half an hour later and I could get their just in time. And so I did.
Whilst I feel for any club who find themselves in a relegation battle, I can’t help but enjoy what it brings to the games of those who find themselves close to the bottom three as the end of the season is in sight. Going into the game, FC Nordost were four points behind SV Bucholz and safety from relegation to the third tier of the Bezirksliga. In situations like this, opponents who hadn’t had a win in seven games would come in very handy. Enter Blau Gelb Berlin.
I actually quite like SV Blau-Gelb Berlin. Not for footballing reasons, but rather the club name. It seems twenty percent of all teams in Berlin are Blau-Weiß, so it’s really just refreshing to see someone pick another colour to go with their blue.
Today’s match would be played on the AstroTurf, tantalisingly close to the thick green grass of the Rasenplatz, which sat just behind the standard wire fencing surrounding the AstroTurf pitch. Quite strangely the AstroTurf was being watered until 1 minute before kick off. When I say watered I mean water was being sprayed all over the pitch from three pipes. One of the club members was certain that the water would soon dry up in the 19 degree heat, but 90 minutes later the majority of the water was still lying on the surface. I can only assume this was some tactic by FC Nordost to swing the match to their favour. It worked.
Blau-Gelb started well. In the opening fifteen minutes they were by far the better team. The wonderfully named Tizian Tobolla put the visitors 1-0 within the opening ten minutes and this seemed like a clear sign of how the rest of the match would play out. The game changing moment was not Nordost’s equaliser in the 13th minute, but rather the aftermath of it.
Almost directly after the restart, the game now at 1-1, Frederik von Elm passed the ball back to his goalkeeper who quite simply wasn’t there. To be truthful I’m not sure where he was. I was really looking, but then neither was von Elm. I do know that 22 hands immediately went on 11 heads in utter disbelief as the ball sadly trundled over the line, giving Nordost a 2-1 lead. That was it really. That moment was the belief and confidence disappearing from an entire team simultaneously. Any pressure Blau Gelb were to apply from this point would quickly vanish through a misplaced cross or a wildly misplaced shot, which was the result of sheer desperation.
On a more positive note, this game featured appearances by the magic sponge. The magic sponge was, for those who are sickeningly young and can’t remember it, the only form of medical treatment which was available on a football pitch until the mid 90s. The demise of the magic sponge was due to football clubs doing ludicrous things like investing money in qualified physiotherapists and other such nonsense. Until then it was a ‘one treatment cures all’ situation. That’s why the sponge was magic. Cramp? Sponge with water. Broken leg? Sponge with slightly more water. Graham Souness could tackle you, and the only thing you could be offered was a wet sponge! Terrifying by today’s standards. But today it was in full use. Actually, the magic sponge is a must for lower league football, but it seems to get packed away for the winter months during which it’s use could result in fairly serious hypothermia.
The game never really looked as if it was going to swing back into the control of SV Blau Gelb. They did bundle the ball across the line when they were 3-1 down, but referee Felix Reichelt got it spot on and blew for a foul on the goalkeeper. In the 76th minute FC Nordost made the victory somewhat emphatic through a Christian Datzmann goal. 4-1. Game very much over. By the time the final whistle came it could have been 6, but Nordost seemed to be saving those goals for their upcoming fixtures. Most of the Nordost staff were actually more interested in checking their phones in the last ten minutes, trying to get the result of the SV Bucholz result. Another result went their way with Bucholz losing 2-0 to the second bottom side SF Kladow. The Marzahn club are now 1 point from safety. With four games left it should be an interesting end to the season. Bucholz play SV Adler next weekend, a team who are not just bottom of the league, but with just one point all season and having conceded 185 goals to their 16 scored, are probably the most bottom team in the Berlin leagues. It’s fair to say that FC Nordost can’t rely on another Bucholz defeat.