Well, thank God that's over. A fully sated belly, a sore head and decidedly empty pockets can only mean that we got through Christmas. And here at the sports desk things are the same. The fattened pause before everything starts happening again allows the chance for reflection, but for the life of me I can only think about the fact that approximately eight hours ago England retained the ashes in Australia for the first time in ages and the sports desk (and, yes, it is a desk) is still bouncing around the room. Sadly, no one else cares.
So, reflect we must. We are, after all, professionals and must strike the right tone of gravitas that is demanded by those of us that think that watching grown men and women running around for large sums of money makes them worth writing home about. So without further ado you are invited to put on a tasteless frock, to add a streak of colour to your hair and to each pat the bottom of the person to your right (nothing says 'well done' like a pat on the bottom, you know) as we cross over live to the EXBERLINER sports desk's glitzy end of year awards. And fucking glitzy they will be.
Manager of the year: Bahman Foroutan (Türkiyemspor/BAK Berlin) Foroutan, a man who could make a GDR crop harvest announcement entertaining enchanted me. Firstly he arrived at Türkiyemspor with three games to go at the end of last season needing nine points to have any chance of staying up (and delivered them) before having a go at everybody (and his employers) for not giving a shit about amateur football. He then legged it across the city (with half of the team) to upstarts BAK, almost beat the Bundesliga's surprise package of the year, Mainz, in the cup and has led them to the top of the Oberliga conceding three goals in fourteen games. In the words of Linda Lyndell: "What a man." In the words of the sports desk: "Baaaaaaahmaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!"
Best team: 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam. Womens UEFA Champions League winners With seemingly the whole country willing Bayern to win (or in most cases lose) the Champions League final, shamefully Turbine's victory over Lyon in the first Women's Champions League final was barely remarked upon. Despite the fact they supplied five players for the National team that won the European Championships last year and will supply at least as many for next years World Cup on home soil. Lira Bajramaj is shortlisted for the world player of the year and (at time of writing) they are on course to defend their league title. Sepp Blatter thinks they should wear shorter shorts to command attention. We say that if as many people went on about Turbine as they do about San-Sodding-Soucci then justice will have been done.
Best game: 1.FC Union Berlin vs Hertha Berlin for the first time in the league, ever It had the world talking and writing about football in Berlin in a positive light. The Alte Försterei was packed to the rafters and the press area was busier than a free cake day at fat camp. Both moving and important, friendly yet electric, the game was a thousand times better than the 1-1 result would suggest and both teams and sets of fans could be proud of the occasion.
Best Sponsor: Tennis Borussia Berlin wearing the name of the community squat/arthaus, Schokoladen, on their shirts No money, no sponsors, no Klassenerhalt, but TeBe showed that community spirit can still count even in the darkest of times. It was a nice touch that deserves an Errol Brown/Johnny Depp duet.
Most disappointing comeback: Britta Steffen After over a year out through injury Steffen was hyped to the rafters before her return in the Swimming World Cup in Berlin. She is a double Olympic, world and European freestyle gold medal winner, but her return East didn't work out. "Don't call it a comeback, I've been here for years" said LL Cool J. Hopefully, unlike Mr. J, she will be able to return better, not just with bigger muscles.
The Prince Andrew "So what exactly do you do nowadays anyway?" award Banned Olympic skating legend Claudia Pechstein spends more time on the front pages rather than the sports pages.
Best antagonising of an entire country Kevin Prince Boateng injuring Michael Ballack before the World Cup after signing up for Germany's opponents Ghana. Brilliant. A wind-up of statuesque proportions.
Prediction of the year The EXBERLINER sports desk confidently say England will beat Germany in the pages of the Tagesspiegel.
Best Song FC Union fans' "Torsten Mattuschka" to the tune of "Too good to be true".
Worst song FC Union fans' to the tune of "Carried away by a moonlight shadow". Aaaargh! Surely we all hate Mike Oldfield. Don't we?
Worst experience of genuine Schadenfreude Watching Germany vs England in Berlin. It started with smugness, moved easily through crushing reality before slipping into pure despondence. It ended with a very swift retreat to a long, long, way out of the city with a vat of sweet, numbing, booze.
Thanks to everyone who has read, commented and "thumbs upped" (whatever it really means) this year on the Berlin Blog. The real winners are you.