Türkiyemspor vs BSV Hürtürkel. Pre-match, it was billed as the derby, but capitalised accordingly – becoming The Derby. The beasts of the Bosphorus, the clash of the Turkish titans. One club renewed, rejuvenated and, in the tuneless words of the England 1970 World Cup squad, “Back Home”. The other taking a steadier road towards the future, and hoping to build on last season’s promotion to the Berlinliga.
Okay, so it might not hum with the malevolent resonance of Galatasaray vs Fenerbahçe, or chime with the bells-a-ringin’ hype of Barca vs Madrid, but in terms of Berlin’s migrant vereins, and their place in the system, it was good to have them both on a relatively even keel.
As the world’s greatest manufacturer of cymbals it would be remiss of me not to shoehorn in a reference to a crashing, ringing blast of wood on metal as the Turkish formed clubs met, but it wasn’t really that kind of game. It was actually a bit stodgy, but still engagingly so.
As we have mentioned a thousand times before, Türkiyem’ are trying to find their way back from the insolvency that almost killed them last year (and is still hanging over their heads today). This is what has lead to their reliance on their youth. In fact some of them look so callow that they could be taking lessons in how to play like Ashley Young from Brian Kidd at the Stadion der Weltjugend.
However their return to Kreuzberg has brought a rush of pride to the side. They have something to fight for now. As Hürtürkel charged into them at the end of the first half, they hung on resolutely until half time, using their courage, their pride, which the couple of hundred fans, friends and family in the ground brought out of them, and that little, unquantifiable bit of luck that can sometimes seep into the performances of players of whom, in all fairness, comparatively little is expected.
Türkiyem boss Kenan Arayici has also a keen tactical eye. Hürtürkel’s left back, the impressive Atilla Caliskan, had been pushing up the touchline all of the first half, turning his opposite number, Ilyas Seven, inside out with his constant running, the ball at his feet, his head up. But Arayici switched his backline around, restoring a reassuring solidity, and negating the Hürtürkel advances.
It was 1-1 at the break, and after the previous week’s dramatic 4-3 win at Tasmania, Hürtürkel must have thought that they would at least be able to break the defence down one more time. Their goal, the equaliser, had come from a slightly questionable penalty – like all the best fireworks, the right winger’s reaction on being nudged inside the box was all noise and light, coming from a small spark. It was, however, confidently dispatched by Safa Sentürk with aplomb.
But it had been unfancied Türkiyem’ who took the lead within a blink of an eye. Cüneyt Top, who was a constant menace up front, barged his way through Caliskan and Halil Ibrahim-Ince in the inside right channel and bore down on the goal line. His right footed, side footed cross picked out Onur Bayram who couldn’t miss from near the penalty spot.
Had Hürtürkel’s Sentürk taken one of his bagful of chances, seemingly preferring to go for the glorious, epoch-defining, flying volley when something a little more prosaic might have been more effective than the air kicks he treated us to, then the points would have belonged to the visitors. Had his gloriously opportunistic lob in the wake of Turkiyem’s opener not been tipped onto the bar, then the game would have looked very different. But as it was Türkiyemspor pulled themselves together, with the narky steel of Erkan Türkoglu and the rotund vision of Fatih Aslan in the middle they were much improved in the second half, passing instead of looking for the long ball, pressing instead of letting themselves be cowed in the face of a potential onslaught.
So it was almost a game for the nominative determinalists in the end. The derby of the great names. Unfortunately Seven played at six, but Top was certainly top, and Ince made a rash sliding lunge in the second half which would have made his English namesake proud.
The derby, despite the biblical rainstorm half way through, was anything other than a washout.