Tied up at Türkiyemspor

Türkiyemspor Berlin (1:1) SC Charlottenburg

 

One of the greatest things about soccer is its unyielding potential for jaw-dropping beauty. Regardless of the game, regardless of the level of play, there are moments in nearly every match that remind you of the unbounded creativity and skill packed into the game. A 30-yard volley in a drab 7 a side match. The quick feint of an attacker, fluid enough to wrong-foot a defender before flying in the opposite direction. A streaking player taking down a cross-field ball at speed as though their boots were lined with clouds. A defender’s expert reading of the game, timing a sweeping tackle perfectly to extinguish an attack before it ignites.

Sunday’s Berlin Liga clash between Türkiyemspor Berlin and Sport Club Charlottenburg was actually quite unique in that it completely lacked anything even resembling one of these moments.

On paper it was never likely to be a barn burner. Türkiyemspor are in the midst of a mini renaissance (for more on their history and recent rise, check out our recent profile on the club). They were promoted to the Berlin Liga this season after 4 years of languishing in the 7th tier Landesliga. Still a ways off from their heights as one of the most successful immigrant clubs in Germany, they look comfortable enough in their new league and are in the top half of the table. SC Charlottenburg, for their part, also went up this year. They’ve bounced back and forth between the Berlin Liga and Landesliga in the past decade, but never stay up for long. Already in the drop zone, they’re in danger of another straight shot back down.

The dreary weather suited the match. The slate-grey sky was faintly marbled by light failingly seeking gaps between the clouds. The concrete housing ringing Türkiyemspor’s Willy Kressmann stadium bled into the sky. Rain threatened, but thankfully for the 50-odd fans in attendance, never really fell. Coffee and tea were consumed en masse to ward off the occasional gusts of rattling wind that swept the ground.

Türkiyemspor’s players didn’t seem to mind the weather, and they controlled the match from early on. They had the lion’s share of possession in the opening 25 minutes, frequently attacking via the right wing, with their outside back and winger overlapping to create dangerous situations, if few chances. This spell of borderline threatening possession turned deadly at the 30-minute mark, when a wide open Necmi Ulucay easily finished a low cross cut diagonally from the end line.

The hosts looked set with their one goal lead. They remained in the driver’s seat in the first half, creating a few decent chances and defending intelligently. Though Charlottenburg occasionally found and exploited gaps in their midfield lines, Türkiyemspor were quick to recover and were usually stronger in challenges and faster to second balls. This carried through to the second half.

Willy Kressmann Stadion, formerly Katzbachstadion, is a neat little ground just south of Kreuzberg’s Viktoriapark.

Things eventually opened up a bit as the second half wore on and the match lost its shape. Acres of space were available for both teams, who ran at each other but barely managed to make sustained possession count or string enough decent passes together to use all the newfound room. As frustration set in things got chippier, but it’s the 6th division, so if no one is evacuated from the stadium via helicopter it’s generally a comparatively tame outing.

Türkiyemspor were the slightly better side until the closing minutes. Charlottenburg began pressing more wildly, and the home defense looked less sure-footed than earlier on. After a couple loose scrambles in Türkiyemspor’s box were cleared just in the nick of time, the inevitable happened. Sebastian Seidel leveled things for the visitors with just 5 minutes on the clock.

The last couple minutes were tense as the sky darkened and the weather got ready to break. The home fans beckoned their team on, and as the wind picked up a menacing atmosphere overtook the stadium. Türkiyemspor botched a fantastic chance to wrest 3 points from the game on the verge of full time, but their recently substituted striker seemed too shocked that his team created an opportunity to put it on net.

It ended an anticlimactic 1:1. Recently-promoted Türkiyemspor can’t be too disappointed with a draw and their continued mid-table stability. They’re in 9th headed into the winter break. Charlottenburg will be ecstatic with any points they can get. In the drop zone but level with 15th-place BFC Preussen on points, Charlottenburg will hope to regroup and claw their way to safety in the second half of the season.