The Smell of Spring in the Air

Matchday 18: FSV Hansa 07  – BSV Heinersdorf 5:2 (2:1)

The morning seemed to start like any other morning would on a Sunday. I first woke up at around 4:30 in the morning, which is when my missus wakes up to prepare herself for the early Hotel shift she has to go to. I peeked through the curtains, just to get a glimpse of what the weather conditions could be for this Sunday. It looked okay, but damn, it felt really cold. So I went deeper under the covers, taking a last look at the clock, 4:34.

The missus woke me up again to say goodbye at around 5:10 and the dog jumped on the bed to give me a morning lick on the face, and crawled under the covers to warm my back. I mumbled to the dog and to my missus, and my eyes rolled back taking me back into a deep sleep. I woke up again to the sound of the alarm at 8:30, but to my surprise I also heard the birds chirping outside, calling out for the sun to finally rise. “Alright, time to get up”, I told myself. Today was going to be a big day. Got out of bed and prepared the ultimate sportsman’s breakfast; rice with Japanese dried fish and sesame seeds and a glass of apple juice. I am not really sure if this is the typical sportsman breakfast, but it was the only food I had available that would fit my appetite. I took my sweet time eating, and watching the dog sit by my feet begging for food. Looked at the clock after breakfast and it showed 9:05; I thought to myself what tasks that still need to be done before I can head off to the Hansa Headquarters. Bring out the trash, take out the dog, do the dishes, pack the sports bag and take a shower. Tasks are done, I thought to myself, and the time has come for me to head to the Headquarters and meet up with the rest of the team, and maybe catch a bit of the second Hansa team playing their game which was before ours.

I took my time to get to the Subway, hopped down the stairs and read that there were still 2 minutes left before the U8 would arrive. Enough time to buy two Einzelfahrscheinen with my EC card…I tapped in my request on the touchscreen and put in my EC card, looked to the left and saw that I still had 1 minute left. “No problem”, I thought to myself. But when the sound of the bahn approached my ears and the sudden change in wind direction hit my face, I knew then that I was going to miss this Subway. My card was still in the machine, and it was still busy printing out the tickets. “Shit”, I thought to myself. I will not make this ride. I looked at the chauffeur of the Subway, and showed her a gentle sign for her to wait for a couple of seconds and she smiled at me, and was kind enough to wait. There is HOPE. But the machine was still busy printing; “What the hell is wrong with you”, I was getting really impatient. I looked back at the kind lady, and she started tapping on her watch; “Time’s up buddy”. I heard the alarm sounds of the doors closing, and my heart dropped a second. The Subway drove off, and when I watched the last cabin ride past me, the ticket finally finished printing. “Thanks, for nothing.” I had to wait another ten minutes for the next Subway to come. When I finally got on the subway, my head started buzzing. I guess I was getting mentally prepared for the game I was going to play in.

The subway stopped at Weinmeister, and I was surprised to see a familiar face stepping into the same wagon. It was Jörg, the ultimate striker of the team. We started talking about the weekend so far, how he also missed the previous subway, and he gave me some tips on how to improve my defending when it comes to give-and-go / one-two situations. We finally got to Kottbusser Tor and rushed up the escalator to catch the next subway to Schlesisches Tor. Too late. Another ten minutes are needed for the next subway. What luck. Whilst waiting for the subway, we are joined by our teammate Andy, so now we were three guys waiting for the subway. About eight minutes after the ten minutes of waiting, we finally arrived at the Headquarters, greeted the other players and fans and watched the second team play a really fair opponent.

Spring is here, finally. The sun was shining bright onto the field and you could see the smiles on all our faces. We were really looking forward to this game. Against the third placed opponents. The coach had us gather in early, and we changed into our uniforms/warm up gear. The tension was slowly rising in all our heads. We were warming up in our own tempo, and when the coach joined us, the tempo increased and so did our heartbeats. Everyone was in their own little world, their own fantasia. Each of us was probably picturing the game in our heads, whilst the coach speaks his words of motivation. It was getting really serious. We have our last strategic chat with the whole team in the room and you could feel the tension grabbing you by the shirt-collar and slapping you in the face. It was GAME TIME.

Both teams marched on the field to the beat of our hearts. The crowd cheered us on, and were looking forward to an eventful game. We had one last motivational huddle to scare our opponents a bit. And our war cry was heard loud and proud! Kick off. The game started off a bit shaky on both sides. Passes were misplaced, and wrongly timed. Both teams hit the ground running and you could see the expression on the coach’s face. Frustration and confusion at the same time (?!). Coming to the 20th minute, we robbed the ball back from the opposing team and our midfield maestro Mo, slipped in the ball to Jörg, who was totally unmarked between the two central defenders, giving him the time and fluidity to dance around the goalkeeper and finally tapping home the first goal of the game. What a good start, the crowd went bananas and the team rushed on to Jörg, to congratulate him on his fine goal. The game felt good, we were holding strong. The defence was solid. Time passed and the opponents were pushing further up our line, hoping for us to concede a goal. But in their attacking moment, Eric cleared the ball directly to the skilful Halil, who danced around one opponent, and slid the ball through to the running Jörg. Jörg was galloping towards the goal and it seemed he was caught between two minds. He probably thought of dancing around the goalkeeper again, but did not want to risk losing the ball, so he faked the move and fed Halil who was basically standing on the line of the opponent’s goal; offering an easy tap in 2-0. The keeper cried for offside at the moment when Halil tapped it in, however, little did he know that his teammate was standing in the goal just in case Jörg decided to poke it in the short angle.

Things seemed easy after the second goal was scored and we took our feet off the pedal for a slight second. But this second seemed a bit too long for our standards, because the opponent found the net through a freak goal caused by a slight miscommunication between our young defensive star Jesko and our gigantic goalkeeper Rico, who was probably having the game of his life that day. I remember going up to the referee after we conceded the goal, asking him how much time there will be left, and he asked me why. I playfully guaranteed him that there will be more goals to come soon. “What a stupid joke to make with the referee,” i thought to myself. And the ref blows the whistle. Half time.

Hansa gathered in the dressing room, listening to the words the coach had to say. Some were good words, and some were very criticizing. We all knew what to do, in theory, but sometimes putting it on the field is a different story. Whatever, we marched onto the field again to the loud chants from our trustful Pöbelmob and the rest of the fans. We huddled again to listen to some words of wisdom from our ever strong captain that day Schachi. Funnily, he messed up the war cry: “Hansa hinnn…?!”, which sent us all into a hysterical laughter, even Asker laughed. Maybe this was the correct medicine that told us to have fun, no matter how much the pressure was to win it. Not long after the second half started, Engin “The Engine” managed to scramble in a goal. That was a freak goal too, we thought, but, “Nevermind the bollocks” as the Sex-Pistols would say, a goal is a goal and the score was now 3-1. The crowd got louder and the players started believing. This could be it, this could be our first step forward in the second half of the season. There were some crazy combinations (i know, excellent choice of words) happening umongst our players, we were playing our opponenets dizzy, and their only reply was to increase their speed and play physically harder.

In came the substitutions. Mo left the field to make place for the newcomer Philipp, Engin for “Sure Shot” Joe. The beginning stages after the substitutions were a bit scrambled but we were creating the chances. Not long afterwards, Eric “the Manimal” left the field to be replaced by Ilhami. The opposing team did not give the freshlings any time nor chance to really get into the game. And there it came. They bursted into life and raced along the left flank; where they took advantage of Pauli’s fatigue; and then placed a hard and powerful shot past the goalie at the near post; 3-2. Things were looking nervous by the sideline. And the coach was screaming his guts out. The crowd fell silent. Is a dream about to fade away? The answer was plan and simple: NO.

Right after the restart, our strikers bursted into life, and Jörg managed to dance around the tired keeper once again. The score seemed to be settled. 4-2, the crowd started going apeshit. 4-2, would it end this way? I know more than 90% of the people watching the game would have accepted it. But it wasn’t the case, the ref spotted foul play in the box and rewarded us with a penalty kick. Joe took the responsibility and slotted it home. 5-2, amazing! Now you could see the shoulder of the opponent’s sagging. Victory was ours for the taking, and believe me, we took more than that. We got back our pride and we made sure that Hansa was a fortress again. The ref blew the final whistle, and summarized the score for the players: 5-2.

What a hard fought game. 5-2 seemed a lot and does not put it well into perspective. The opponents were hard fighting players, very skilful and well organized; do not get me wrong, but that Sunday just seemed right for Hansa and their followers. The day ended with the birds chirping and singing the bold sun away again. Till next Sunday, may spring be with us again.

Lineup: R. Selk – Schachner, Borchert, Karayel, Vissers (70. Catal) – A. Selk, Rauch, M. Bektas (60. Jakobs), Duman – Kahraman, (60. Öktem), Weikardt.

Goals: 1:0 Weikardt(23., Rechtschuss, M. Bektas), 2:0 Duman (40., Rechtsschuss, Weikardt), 2:1 Tomiczek (43.), 3:1 Kahraman (50. Rechtsschuss, Weikardt), 3:2 Lehmann (70.), 4:2 Weikardt (85. Rechtsschuss, ohne Vorarbeit), 5:2  Öktem (88., FE, Weikardt).

Cards: Jakobs (yellow, Foul), Weikardt (yellow, Foul)

Hansa-Man of the Match: The team is the star.

Special Events: A smell of spring in the air.

Place in the table: 11th.