Most people who know me will testify, i'm a groundhopper. Most people who know me may testify i'm slightly mad. Either way, I travel around various football grounds of this island and, sometimes, beyond to watch the beautiful game.
Most of my travels encompass the non-league game and, with my inane ramblings, I will attempt to show you where my travels take me and, also, try to show you that there is footballing life beyond the so-called "best league in Europe"
I hope you enjoy reading!
Wednesday 18th May 2011 Berliner Pilsner Pokal Semi-Final Steglitzer FC Stern 1900 2-1 VSG Altglienicke (AET 1-1 90mins) Attendance: 450
The last game of my trip was to witness a little bit of history in the semi-final of the Berlin Cup. Steglitzer Fussball Club Stern 1900, to give them their full name, were taking on VSG Altglienicke for the right to play Dynamo Berlin in the Final on June 8th, and with it not only some silverware but an automatic place in the first round of the German equivalent of the FA Cup.
The game was taking place at Stern’s tiny Sportzplatz ground on Kreuznacher Street, which was absolutely packed to the rafters for the game, but there were only around 400 present. That gives you an idea of the size of the club and of the occasion.
The ground had no cover, or indeed anything that you would recognize as a football stand. There was a small terrace with seats bolted on and a little bit of hard standing by the clubhouse. The pitch was also an artificial surface but none of your modern day 3G technology, this was your 1980’s Luton Town model. I dread to think of the poor players slide tackling on this surface!
The game was not the best i’ve ever seen, in fact it was utter dross, but the tension of occasion did keep everyone on the edge of their seats (if you were lucky enough to claim one). After an uneventful opening period, the homesters took the lead after 34 minutes when Christoph Hampel fired a superb 20 yard shot into the top corner, which the ‘keeper never saw.
This goal opened the game up and both teams started to play some football. Altglienicke levelled just before the break when a glorious through ball split the home defence and Thomas Tomkiewicz beat the ‘keeper at his near post.
The second half was a total non-event and the game seemed to be not only heading to extra time but also to the dreaded penalty shoot out. It was in the first period of extra time that the eventual winner came. After 111 minutes the ball was crossed in the Altglienicke box and substitute Patrick Mattern volleyed home what proved to be the winner. There was one more chance for Altglienicke to savage a draw when a long range effort was tipped over the bar by the home goalie.
There were wild celebrations at the end as the Stern players and fans celebrated reaching their first ever final.
FOOTNOTE: Dynamo Berlin beat FC Stern 3-1 in the Final.
For another take on the semi-final, click on this link....