There once was a time in England when the FA Cup meant something. It was an egalitarian dream, a levelling of the playing fields, a chance for everyone who was really no-one at all to have their shot at glory. It’s not the same any more. Your team doesn’t stand a Christian in hell’s chance of winning the old pot any more. Your team will never again get a day out in the big city crowned with a winner like this.
Not to mention the fact that if, like Roger Osborne in 1978, you had just scored the winning goal for your home town club in the cup final, the cost of bringing your family of 12 “in a special bus” to Wembley would bankrupt even Carlos Tevez. Not that the commentators would even bother to mention it these days (5 mins).
But here in Berlin we can still enjoy the magic. It’s Berliner Pilsener Pokal weekend. A shot at glory, a reaching to the stars for a day out at the Jahn-Sportpark where you may not get a German oompah version of “Abide with me”, but you will still get the chance to lift a trophy. The silverwear is not the main attraction in the Berliner Pokal – the winners get a chance to play in the first round of the big cup, the DFB Pokal, next year, and with it the possibility of meeting a Bundesliga side. The cash from that alone could make or break the majority of club’s years.
However, due to Thursdays Child being hurriedly knocked out like a Mancunian Champion’s League side, the facts will be hazy, the stats will be shaky and the knowledge will be scraped out of the barrell of a hungover brain and a soggy copy of the obscenely good Fußball Woche. Where will you find yourselves this weekend?
Berliner Pilsener Pokal 3rd round
Saturday 17th December 13.00 Sportforum BFC Dynamo vs FV Wannsee. Dynamo have parted company with coach Igor Lazic, and started under the new bosses (for the time being) Rene Gritschke and Jörn Lenz by beating the Oberliga whipping boys LFC 1-0. As defending champions, Dynamo will be desperate to win the cup again this year because the season hasn’t lived up to any of its early promise. Wannsee are fifth in the 3.Bezirksliga.
Sunday 18th December 14.00 Hertzbergplatz 1.FC Neukölln vs Club Italia. It’s the glamour tie of the week. Club Italia are a club with big plans, but losing last week to Eintracht Mahlsdorf II wasn’t, presumably, amongst them. Coach Dragan Kostic was incandescent (he says, staring at Fußball Woche for something to say about the Landesliga side). 1.FC Neukölln were formed in 1895, were okay in the 1920′s and have a womens team that hold the record for the worst ever season in the Bundesliga. As the Kreisliga side, they should be the underdogs, but this is the cup and, as we all know already, anything can happen.
DFB Pokal 3rd round
Wednesday 21st December 19.00 Olympiastadion Hertha BSC vs Kaiserslautern. Okay, there is, of course, the big cup going on as well. Hertha’s travails at home this year have been well documented, but they have a chance to move through to the quarter finals with a victory over twice winners, Kaiserslautern. Hertha are usually rubbish in the cup, their reserves having legendarily reached the final in 1993 while the first team have lost in it twice. Let’s hope it’s as good a game as this one (although the result wasn’t much kop for the Old Lady) in 2000. Check out the young Miroslav Klose.
The rumour mill says that this will be Markus Babbel’s last match in charge at the Old Lady, but No Dice still isn’t so sure, so let him enjoy the big occasion while he can. He’s certainly played in a decent cup final or two. This one I thought didn’t really happen, and that the mushrooms I’d imbibed at the time had played a massive trick on me. They hadn’t. Babbel even scored.
Friday, December 16th, 19:00 – Karl-Liebknecht-Stadion – Babelsberg 03 v Jahn Regensburg (by Stephen)
Jahn Regensburg are named after Friedrich-Ludwig Jahn, who died in 1850. Yes, 1850 – many years before football really existed, and he much preferred poncing around in a leotard anyway. Still, having a silly name doesn’t preclude a football club from being quite good at football (eh, Juventus), and Jahn Regensburg are quite good at football at the moment -they’re top of the league and in fine form. They’ve got a famous Schweinsteiger from Bavaria playing very well, but it’s not that one, it’s his bigger brother, Tobias, scorer of 12 goals in 20 appearances this season. But the hosts, Babelsberg, are also in good shape. They’ve hurtled to tenth spot after back-to-back wins over Wiesbaden and Erfurt, and are only five points off a promotion spot, but you can rest assured Dietmar Demuth isn’t allowing his players to dwell on silly thoughts like that. We have a sneaky feeling Babelsberg might turn over the league leaders, so you’d best roll on down to the Karli on Friday night.
As always, please feel free to poiont out your choices in the comments below, and pick apart my personal failings with all the delicacy you can muster. Enjoy.Tags: 1.fc neukölln, club italia, fv wannsee