There is a perpetual battle to be Berlin’s third biggest team. Whether the contenders like it or not, the first and second places are already taken. Hertha sitting to the west and Union to the east leave a chasm in the centre of the city. A battleground in which the rest fight for bronze. This is not Top Gun, there are points for second (and third) place. Last season, their fifth consecutive in the Regionalliga Nordost, BAK 07’s claim to this title came to the fore.
It was on the last day of the season that BAK were denied promotion. Level on points with FC Zwickau, it was a goal difference of one which condemned them to another season in the Regional league. Whilst they took it gracefully, there can be no doubt that such a near miss cut deep. Had they have been successful they would have ascended to the (relative) glory of the Bundesliga 3, perhaps too the race for Berlin’s third would have been over; temporarily of course. But three Berlin teams, one in each of the Bundesliga would certainly have been a tidy way to judge the city’s biggest teams.
Alas, they were not successful, and find themselves still in a league with BFC Dynamo, FC Viktoria 1889, Hertha BSC II, and SV Babelsberg 03. Yes, Babelsberg 03 are not a team from Berlin, as they lie just outside of the city and so are technically a team from Brandenburg. But if we must include Hertha II in a shortlist of teams who could be Berlin’s 3rd biggest, then I reserve the right to also include Babelsberg 03. League hierarchy alone is not the criteria for club size and status, something which may allow the fans of Tennis Borussia a sigh of relief. TeBe are another Berlin based team with a wonderfully loyal, yet far from expansive, supporter base, a long and interesting history, and who have actually enjoyed some success, though not for many years. So then, BAK still have so much to prove. Not just their status in Berlin, but also the relative success of last season was not a flash in the pan, that they can mount a title challenge again. BAK must look to the future, for as always, last season counts for nothing.
Sadly the desired explosive start to the season has not transpired. Three games in and BAK are yet to earn a win, losing their opening game at FC Schönberg 95 3-0 before being held to a 1-1 draw against Berlin rivals FC Viktoria 1889 and BFC Dynamo. Two points from three games was most definitely not expected at the Poststadion. BAK needed a win before mild panic started to set in. The opponents for BAK’s second home game of the season were ZFC Meuselwitz, who last season were separated by twelve places. Perhaps then, an ideal chance for the first win of the season.
In front of the usual modest Poststadion crowd on an unexpectedly hot day, BAK and ZFC Meuselwitz turned out to be quite the exciting encounter. The pace of the game was determined in the opening minutes, which saw both teams pressing early whilst creating a flurry of chances, though somehow the lone goal of the match was Kevin Stephan’s headed effort in the 24th minute.
Whilst I spent most of the afternoon pressed tightly against the boards at the edge of the pitch, unsuccessfully attempting to avoid sunburn, Meuselwitz spent the remainder of the afternoon attempting to grab an equaliser. Also unsuccessfully. Though their attacking was somewhat relentless, so too was the that of BAK, who certainly created the better of the chances and at the death should have made it 2-0.
A draw could have perhaps been a more fair result, but I’m fairly sure this will do nothing to subdue the joy or diminish the relief felt by BAK at earning their first three points of the season. Going into the two week break they now have a chance to recoup, reflect and build upon their fairly tepid start to the season as they look not at what could have been last season, but at what they have a chance to achieve this season and in the hopefully near future.