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March 24, 2011

Do you like this?

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the league match between BAK and BFC Dynamo. It was the sort of game that the word turgid was dragged out of the language swamps for – Cro Magnon football – but more interesting for me was the burgeoning rivalry between the clubs. A new rivalry for sure, I surmised, but still a rivalry.

My remarks were immediately dismissed by Dynamo fans. They don't care about BAK, a couple said. They are nothing in the scheme of things to a historic club like BFC. Whatever the teams respective league positions (BAK are top and Dynamo 11th in the Oberliga Nord – the fifth division), BFC have got stars above their badge, and memories of Europe and championships. The implication was clearly that BAK are an artificial club, based on false attendances and new money, and that their flat pack fan base will disappear as soon as the cash stops rolling in and the league position stagnates. BFC may be flailing, they said, but they have their honour, and their fans. The inference being for BAK that theirs were not to be counted on.

Well, I'm still not sure about that. I have seen no real evidence for the claims of inflated attendance numbers to dupe the authorities, and have no reason to suspect that they will implode immediately after this season's imminent promotion. Yeah, promotion. This is the main crux of the argument against them. Despite the season having a couple of months still to run, BAK are the only team in the Oberliga to have successfully applied for the license to play in next year's Regionalliga Nord. Even if they don't win the league (although, again, they are top as we speak) they will be promoted.

Dynamo fans may not care about BAK, but they certainly seemed to care about winning against them last night in the BFV Berliner Pilsner Pokal. Many more were there than made the trip across to Moabit a couple of weeks ago, and as Norbert Lemcke's winning goal at the very end of extra time hit the back of the net they were in raptures. Is it a sign of how far BFC have fallen since die Wende that their cheers were echoing around Mauerpark in the dim of the floodlights on their old stadium, or is it a sign of pride that in their darkest days those cheers can still be heard?

The answer, I guess, is somewhere in between. From outside, on my way home, it looked and sounded like the denouement of a great European night- not a scratchy, but hard fought, quarter final win- with the last kick of the game- against opponents who they disdain so much as to barely acknowledge them.

It wasn't a great game, certainly not as bad as the last league encounter, but not only have the teams had a chance to work each other out a bit, BAK are so adept at keeping the ball and nullifying the battle, that once ahead, they can comfortably stay there for what seems like hours. And went ahead they did after four minutes. Pardis Fardjad-Azad finishing coolly from 10 yards. It was now up to BFC to chase the game.

That they did so successfully does them a great deal of credit, it took almost 90 more minutes for them to equalize, despite a couple of chances it would have been easier to score than miss. BAK weren't so much playing deep, but subterraneanly. The technique of players such as Metin Cakmak and the excellent Ibrahim Keser is so good at this level that keeping the ball looks so easy. Maybe it was a mistake though. Dynamo was reinvigorated by the equaliser, BAK deflated. Once you have been playing with a calm defensive mind-set for nearly an entire game it is notoriously difficult to switch back up through the gears. They should have gone for the jugular earlier on. As the threat of penalties loomed the game opened up.

So there you go, Dynamo go through to the semi-finals of the cup that BAK took away from them last year. And whether they admit to it or not, they are seriously happy to have done so. I'm still convinced that there is a rivalry between the clubs (though it may not be as keen as some in the city – BFC will always hate Union more than anyone else), and am also convinced that when they meet again – possibly after the league reforms at the end of next season, or in this cup again – that memories of the recent encounters will come back. Rivalries happen that way, not overnight.

As for Dynamo, they now have the chance to do what BAK did, and – if they win this cup – earn some money from a first round game in the DFB Pokal next year. Maybe they'll meet again sooner rather than later.

by

March 24, 2011

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well well well

maybe we have different ideas of what constitutes a rivalry. imho a rivalry has to grow over years. it can be rooted deep in history (like the war of the roses rivalry between leeds and manu) or be a local/regional rivalry (e.g. millwall vs. west ham), it can even have political roots (real madrid and barca).

rivalries don´t go away when clubs play in different leagues. the red mancs were still singing "we all hate leeds scum" at every single match when the whites were languishing in the doldrums of league one. union fans hate dynamo with a passion (and vice versa) even though their teams are currently three leagues apart.

most importantly: a rivalry worth that name has to be two-sided. there are numerous clubs who claim to have some rivalry with leeds: hull, huddersfield, both sheffield clubs, bradford… even effing millwall. however, leeds don´t deem those clubs worthy rivals which is why they don´t sing about them (unless when they meet directly) but about salford plc and chelsea.

besides, dislike or even hatred is not enough to make a rivalry. leeds fans totally detest galatasaray but will never, ever consider them rivals but murderous vermin (whether rightly or wrongly is another discussion).

the reason for bfc fans disliking bak (apart from their dubious win of last year´s cup final in which 2 perfect goals for bfc were disallowed) is not a rivalry but the fact that the new version of bak, just like hoffenheim or rb leipzig, is a 100% artificial creation that has no history, no class and, in bak´s case, no fanbase let alone fan culture. ergo exactly the same reasons why every proper english footy fan i know despises mk dons.

now this is off my chest I´d like to inform you that, at this point in time, bak are not guaranteed promotion yet. torgelow (who sit second in the table, one point adrift of bak, but with a game in hand) have allegedly (not confirmed) now also applied for a license. rathenow (who are currently 7th, 17 points behind table toppers bak) definitely have. the only reason for this - since rathenow don´t have the slightest chance of catching bak - is that they hope that this time round the football authorities will check the finances of all candidates properly and thus prevent clubs going into meltdown soon after promotion like tebe and turkiyemspor have done in recent years. in other words: that bak (and maybe torgelow?) won´t get a license.

afaik hansa´s reserves don´t even have to apply for a license if their first team (whose promotion to bundesliga 2 is more or less secure, unless there are some financial obstacles) does. rumour has it they don´t want to go up as they think the regionalliga (where you have to travel longer distances, pay higher wages but - in the case of the reserve teams or clubs like bak who frankly no-one gives a wank about - hardly create more income at the gates than in the oberliga) is too expensive but they might change their mind once their first team are up.

mot
steve

berlinwhite more than 3 years ago

well well well

maybe we have different ideas of what constitutes a rivalry. imho a rivalry has to grow over years. it can be rooted deep in history (like the war of the roses rivalry between leeds and manu) or be a local/regional rivalry (e.g. millwall vs. west ham), it can even have political roots (real madrid and barca).

rivalries don´t go away when clubs play in different leagues. the red mancs were still singing "we all hate leeds scum" at every single match when the whites were languishing in the doldrums of league one. union fans hate dynamo with a passion (and vice versa) even though their teams are currently 3 leagues apart.

most importantly: a rivalry worth its name has to be two-sided. numerous clubs claim to have some rivalry with leeds: hull, huddersfield, both sheffield clubs, bradford… even effing millwall. however, leeds don´t deem those clubs worthy rivals which is why they don´t sing about them (unless when they meet directly) but about salford plc and chelsea.

besides, dislike or even hatred is not enough to make a rivalry. leeds fans totally detest galatasaray but will never, ever consider them rivals but murderous vermin (whether rightly or wrongly is another discussion).

the reason for bfc fans disliking bak (apart from their dubious win of last year´s cup final in which 2 perfect goals for bfc were disallowed) is not a rivalry but the fact that the new version of bak, just like hoffenheim or rb leipzig, is a 100% artificial creation that has no history, no class and, in bak´s case, no fanbase let alone fan culture. ergo exactly the same reasons why every proper english footy fan i know despises mk dons.

now this is off my chest i´d like to inform you that, at this point in time, bak are not guaranteed promotion to the regionalliga yet. torgelow (who sit second in the table, one point adrift of bak, but with a game in hand) have allegedly (not confirmed) now also applied for a license. rathenow (who are currently 7th, 17 points behind table toppers bak) definitely have. the only reason for this - since rathenow don´t have the slightest chance of catching bak - is that they hope that this time round the football authorities will check the finances of all applicants properly and thus prevent clubs going into meltdown soon after promotion like tebe and turkiyemspor have done in recent years. in other words: that bak (and maybe torgelow?) won´t get a license.

afaik hansa´s reserves don´t even have to apply for a license if their first team (whose promotion to bundesliga 2 is more or less secure, unless there are some financial obstacles) does. rumour has it they don´t want to go up as they think the regionalliga (where you have to travel longer distances, pay higher wages but - in the case of the reserve teams or clubs like bak who no-one gives a wank about really - hardly create more income at the gates than in the oberliga) is too expensive but they might change their mind once their first team are up.

mot
steve

berlinwhite more than 3 years ago

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