TeBe Party Army

E- Block International - A Weblog for "Away Fans" of Tennis Borussia Berlin.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Smelling The Coffee

A year ago everything looked bleak for TeBe. We had just lost 2-1 at home against Motor and there were tears in Block E as Gries said goodbye for the last time. After 11 matches, TeBe had only managed to get 9 points and were in the relegation zone in fourteenth place. The team had only managed to score 13 times and had let 20 in the other side and the behaviour of Mr Ermel the week before in Kreuzberg showed how the team just wasn’t working together properly, frustration had built up and nobody seemed to have a solution to the problems. Gries had to go, sad though it was, and the next match saw us travelling to a balls freezing Neuruppin to watch the team lose in a dismal performance, the first match with Dejan in charge. We were a party army without a party mood, a club with a huge tradition and history but lacking a plan for the present and perhaps even without a future.

The rest of the season last year was a strange one. The change in form and the good results saved us from relegation but ironically took any importance from the season. We weren’t going up and we weren’t going down and the best football that we have played for a while in the Oberliga was watched by fewer and fewer fans – why bother when there is next season without Union in the league? But although the support for the league matches sunk rapidly, the cup run gave us something to live for and retaining the cup was without a doubt the highlight of the season. Almost 1000 TeBe supporters popped out of the woodwork to watch us beat Hertha in Jan Sport Park on that glorious evening. But still, for league matches we were “lucky” if we got a queue for beer at Biber’s hut.

This season the team is full of good players for the Oberliga. Whether they are the “best in the league” or not, I really couldn’t judge. We have an unbeaten run of 8 matches, our defence is still weak on quick breaks but seems much more solid and the new addition of Thiam gives us height and pace, we are spoilt for choice up front and despite some injury problems the midfield isn’t as bad as the Berliner fan likes to complain it is. 5th in the league, 11 points off relegation, the minus seven goal difference of last year is now plus seven, the new players are fitting in well and the second team is looking good. Despite the cold temperatures last night, there was a very good and loud crowd and we were unlucky not to hold onto the three points against a team that would have massacred us 12 months ago. The football was exciting, the music great as always, the money from the beers and the food goes to the club and new ideas such as all you can eat breakfasts seem to be going down well. Yesterday was fun football but for some reason I feel disappointed today – what is it that I have forgotten?

Oh yes that was it: the dreaded “promotion” word hasn’t been mentioned yet. This season was to be ours, we were going to follow Union up into the Regional League and secure our place in the third division in a few seasons time. It doesn’t matter who mentioned it first, it doesn’t matter how realistic the dream was or whether it is still statistically possible or not. Fact is we wanted to go up this year, the bad start last season was said to be a two year plan, we were building a squad to go up, a squad with potential and however dramatic the changes have been since last year it isn’t enough to go up it seems. We are 11 points behind Babelsberg and despite being the only team to beat them so far it doesn’t look like we can catch them on this run they are on. Wins against some top teams and an unbeaten run don’t change the fact that some of the performances were bitterly disappointing: We didn’t make the most of our chances, we looked lost as if we had just run out of ideas and sloppy passing, silly mistakes and sometimes just bad luck with shots, decisions, injuries or form were a blow to us. Despite the euphoria at the start of the season and the stubbornness of the fans to give up hope, the fact is that it looks like it is all over. Perhaps we still might apply for the Regional League licence during the winter break but we now have to realistically say that we are in the Oberliga for at least another year.

So what to do? What can we as fans do to support the team and what should we be demanding from the club? If the training -staff says that we have the best team then surely they are admitting themselves that the problems lie with them? Have we just been unlucky or were there problems with tactics, were there problems created among the players, why do we still not seem to have a set squad? I really don’t know what I think. I don’t have the inside information on the squad or a picture of what goes on in training or behind the scenes. I cant pretend that I didn’t want to go up really – yes it is easy to travel about in this league and yes the idea of playing away in shit holes like Dynamo Dresden doesn’t always appeal to me – but I wanted to go up, I still want to go up. So do I want a change of trainer or do I want the training staff out? I don’t know this either as the turn around from 12 months ago has been amazing -and I don’t know what the available alternatives are or what I can expect from them either. Part of me wants someone to go in the hope of a positive change, part of me cant really blame the TeBe staff for the amazing season that Babelsberg are playing. But when I check the table from last year at the same time the points aren’t too different from 12 months ago, so the team must be under- performing from a management point of view too, a management that claims the team is great and surely must take the blame from their own logic.

In short I am confused. I have been happy about the changes in the team and the new faces at the matches. Despite a lot of poor performances we have a run, there have been some cracking matches and we are up at the top rather than down at the bottom in the relegation zone. But if the plan was promotion, if there was a two year plan, if we do have the best team then what we have seen so far hasn’t been enough, the season is pretty much over and I fear that I will be watching the rest of the season with even fewer fans than at the end of last season – we might not see more than 300 Tebe fans together again this season apart from the Babelsberg match. If the management really did believe its own tough talking up until a few weeks ago then there has to be a change so that we wont be writing off next season after just 11 matches at the same time next year. But perhaps I am wrong and perhaps stability is the best course for us now.

So what do the other TeBe fans think? Should we be staying with what we have and try to hold out for stability? Or does the team or training staff need changes if we are ever going to leave the Oberliga?


  • At 2:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    where the hell have you been that quickly yesterday night? i´d been looking forward to a nice discussion about this topic in the s-bahn, but then you´d been already gone... anyway, quite nice comment (& even match reports of course) - always good to experience that one ain´t alone with his depressions... ;) and btw, i want to use this opportunity to officially apologize for playing marius müller-westernhagen... ;)

    cheers, bungle


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