Anm. d. Red.: Zur Feier des besonderen Spieltages erscheint dieser Spielbericht diesmal auf Englisch:
The Europameisterschaft was noteworthy this year for its many striking examples of vanishing acts, whereby a team, apparently fit in body and mind, would for no good reason suddenly disappear from the pitch completely.
This was seen most painfully in the case of the Germany-Italy semifinal. It took just one goal to completely and irrevocably silence the German offensive voice, even when Löw had assembled what normally would constitute a blaring brass section of attackers: Klose, Reus, Özil, Kroos, Müller,etc. As in a nightmare, no matter how wide Germany opened its mouth to yell, it simply could not be heard.
The Italians went on to perform a magical disappearance of their own in the final against Spain. Undone by a goal after only fourteen minutes, the Forza Azurri was reduced to a collection of ghostly blue rags battered about by the strong gusts of Spain's Tiki-Taka. The Italians even began literally, physically vanishing from the pitch, playing with only 10 men after Thiago Motto left the game with an injury in the 63. minute.
A similar vanishing phenomenon was in evidence during the Grüne Tulpe's match against the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) last Monday night. Here was a match rife with political and sporting potential, the very first matchup between these two footballing emissaries of the Greens and the Social Democrats, respectively.
The first few minutes of the match can be said to have lived up to the expectations. The Tulpen indeed arrived clad in a slightly updated, more streamlined version of their old uniform, causing a slight murmur among the fans once it was noticed that the old white socks had been discarded in favor of green ones.
The excitement continued after the first whistle as FES showed itself eager to make an impression on its first-time opponents. Agitating continuously from the midfield and maintaining constant ball possession, FES was able to produce a very dangerous attack after just two minutes of play. With no one to contest them in the center of the pitch, the FES midfielders were able to send a striker straight on goal with a well-placed through ball. Luckily for the Tulpen his shot was sent high, but the scare was enough to raise a chorus of discontent among the Greens' defensive line. The summer air was suddenly charged with tension.
This didn't last very long. In both of the above mentioned EM matches the knock-out goal came in the form of an effortless header; and so it was too in this match. Twenty minutes into the game left midfielder Asgar Ergin guided a corner kick just short of the penalty spot, where an unmarked Tim Mahler headed the ball to the near post, straight into the upper 90's. The Tulpen were up 1-0 and...presto!... the once menacing FES side vanished into thin air!
Well, nearly. It was only a few minutes later that a seemingly innocuous cross from FES deflected off of Tresfore Dambe's forearm in the Greens' penalty area. Dambe's objection that there was no intention present at the moment of contact fell on deaf ears. Indeed the official on this night -Referee Krause- is renowned for his literal, almost finicky interpretation of football law, as was to be seen already during his pre-game address, which he used to lead a seminar in proper throw-in technique. In short, the penalty was awarded, and the FES team captain easily converted it, having sent Grüne Tulpe keeper Jochen Schieborn diving the wrong way.
The Greens showed themselves none too impressed by this sudden change of affairs, and after only a few minutes were able to remedy the situation. Finn Gerlach was brought down in the box after one of his signature dribbling bursts: a clear foul that was immediately acknowledged by the official. Now it was the Tulpe's turn to test its nerves on the penalty spot, and team president Markus Kurdziel cooly converted, sending the Greens up 2-1.
These same two agents, Gerlach and Kurdziel, were at work again not long after this to improve things even more. Kurdziel received the ball just outside of the FES goalbox and, when confronted by two defenders inside the area, wisely decided to drop the ball sharply backwards to a wide open Gerlach, who then found plenty of space to send the ball into the back of the net: a clever combination that brought the score to 3-1 just before the halftime whistle.
The second half saw the Tulpen in possession of ever more space and time, and so it should come as no surprise to the reader that the tally was run up to 7-1 by the end of the match. Markus Kurdziel struck two more times, chalking up a well-earned hattrick for the night. Tim Mahler meanwhile earned himself a double pack, showing wonderful patience and composure in a densely populated penalty box, where he was able to control a cross from Kurdziel, take a few touches to get his angles right, and then rip a shot past the FES keeper.
Fittingly enough, the final blow to FES came as an own-goal: a devastatingly dangerous long-range cross from midfielder Aaron Greicius, on loan from Chicago this summer to the Tulpen, making its way directly to Simon Bruhn, was flicked up by a FES defender and soared gracefully over the groaning keeper's hands to land in the back of the net.
After two minutes of stoppage time with no throw-in decision Referee Krause blew the whistle and asked both teams for the common final "Sportgruß": "Gut Sport!"
By the way: The FES and the Grüne Tulpe met later in a nearby restaurant and enjoyed discussing about the match and the common goals for 2013.