Photo by Ian Stenhouse
When there is a crowd of 10,104 people pretty much anywhere, it’s quite likely that a couple of them are arseholes. If those 10,104 people are football fans at a football game, it’s even more likely that there’ll be the odd arsehole in there. And if they are BFC Dynamo fans to boot, well, let’s just say that there will be a very heavy police presence should it happen that the number of arseholes present happens to be slightly greater due to the fact of Dynamo’s participation.
There was an air of inevitability about the trouble all afternoon, as bombs were thrown from the terraces and players squared up on the pitch, creating a tense and nervous atmosphere. I say inevitable with an air of resigned exasperation – BFC Dynamo is an errant teenager who refuses to help itself break free of the vicious circle of negative connotation that swirls around anywhere it goes.
A big Pokal game against decent Bundesliga opposition like 1. FC Kaiserslautern would have been the perfect chance to show the world that they have changed as much as trainer Heiko Bonan professes. “[Dynamo] doesn’t fit into this cliché anymore,” he claimed, but police squadrons are not deployed on the basis of clichés. His tone was terse as he explained how nothing like this had happened in a long time and how, these days; home teams usually praise BFC for their fan’s behaviour.
The truth is that it doesn’t damage Dynamo’s reputation; it confirms it. 1. FC Union fans are like a family who stick by their president through tough times just like he stuck by them; TeBe fans stand for anti-discrimination and liberal thought; Dynamo fans require significant police presence everywhere they go because of the possibility of violence. Only very rarely are stereotypes without basis in reality, and sadly for Dynamo fans, this is not one of those rare times.
Reputations aren’t made by gruff managers or apologising PR guys in press conferences, nor are they made by stadium announcers worrying about fines from the Deutscher Fußball-Bund (DFB) and ill-repute. They are made by the fans, collectively. The fans who, ever since Saturday afternoon’s events, have been denouncing those who stormed the Kaiserslautern fan block as not representative of the new, family-friendly Dynamo. As though the troublemakers had never before been on a Dynamo terrace. As though, according to goalkeeper Daniel Rothe, they are “not real (Dynamo) fans“, just people “looking for a platform”. Then why not have a riot at TeBe? Or Babelsberg? Or simply on Alexanderplatz or anywhere else where there is no police presence to stifle the fun? No, to claim that those people are only tentatively linked with Dynamo is, at best, passing the buck, and at worst, dangerously irresponsible.
But enough of that. What of events on the park?
Dynamo acquitted themselves well. There is no shame in a 0-3 defeat to a team four divisions higher, especially when the guests’ first two goals came from their first two shots on target, effectively killing the game before Dynamo’s sound organisation and tenacious physicality had the chance to force the visitors into making mistakes. Offensively, Dynamo needed a bigger contribution from midfielder David Schimmelpfennig, his substitution after only 59 minutes indicating just how little of the ball he had seen. On the left wing, Gokhan Ahmetcik threatened occasionally. His shot from distance after 61 minutes sailed wide beyond the top corner with the Kaiserslautern keeper struggling, but still got the biggest cheer of the afternoon from the Dynamo fans.
Kaiserslautern’s Ivo Ilicevic caused the home team no end of trouble, always seeming to find space as he drifted lazily in from the left to the hole between midfield and defence. It was that very movement that opened the scoring after 17 minutes, picking up Alcay Sahin’s clever through ball and finishing smartly to the near post. The second also came from the left side, the impressive Leon Jessen barging through and finding midfielder Christian Tiffert at the edge of the box. His finish was casual and precise, summing up just how unnecessary it was for Kaiserslautern to pull out of first gear. The final goal was even more straightforward, a Tiffert corner nodded home by Thanos Petsos just after the break.
And what now for Dynamo? It’s time to concentrate on an Oberliga campaign that, based on the second half of last season and today’s performance, should see them in the mix for promotion to the Regionalliga. The players seem ready for a bigger stage. One hopes that the fans learn from their example.