18 August 2023
Is there a better feeling than walking through the pines of Eichkamp to the Mommsenstadion? Maybe it was the August weather after weeks of rain or the Lila-Weiße playing competitive football again - either way the mood was, like the weather, fantastic.
The game started slowly, with the Mahlsdorfer controlling possesion with good passes and spacing while TB was kept on defense. Offensive attacks in both directions were short-lived. Tennis couldn't get anything going on the right flank, but the speedy winger Furkan Karabiyik was able to make some good runs up the left. Meanwhile, Tim Oschmann held the defense together to start against some good attacks.
The game was feisty from the start. It seemed like every play was physical, with lots of shoving (and falling). The referee was quick to give a handful of yellow cards to the visitors, who were hot tempered and flailing while the TB players matched the roughness but seemed to keep their cool and play smarter football.
Karabiyik made more good runs, and got an excellent attempt in on goal - dribbling past the defense from outside and right in on the goalie, getting an (almost) perfect shot off, over the keeper, but hitting the crossbar and bouncing out.
Seeing that his dribbling attack was working, he tried again shortly thereafter, only this time straight up the middle. He cut through the defense, passed the ball back to the middle for a good shot, rebound, shot again by TB and flying into the back of the net! 1-0 for the home team.
Mahlsdorf was still in the fight though. Not long after their striker rocketed a ball of the top bar.
The teams went into the second half with Tennis up 1-0. Another good home start, but a long way from over.
At the beginning of the second, Tennis made a good attack deep into the box and got a penalty kick, but the shot was low and not far enough to the corner to escape the goalie.
Apparently after that the referee had decided to even up the number of yellow cards and started handing them out freely to the home team.
On a yellow to TB (for an aggressive tackle from behind) and resulting free kick, Mahlsdorf found their equalizer. A good shot in from distance curved towards the goal, the TB keeper was backing into his own net and managed to volley the ball to stay out, but Mahlsdorf pounced on the rebound and bumbled it past the recovering goalie. 1-1.
As the game continued, the referee kept handing yellows to the Violets. They seemed increasingly unnecessary, with one player being written up for playing the ball while in full sprint approximately 1.3 seconds after the ref had blown the whistle. Later, even the head coach Christoph Brauer got a yellow card - one can only imagine what he might have said.
The game was a slog, and while TB kept composure the opponents kept playing their gritty possession and attacking style. The Violets had some good individual plays, but they failed to build an ongoing attack. It felt like Mahlsdorf was playing for the tie, and the Eichkamp Boys would have to seize a goal if they wanted to win.
Out of nowhere, a Tennis defender launched a perfect long ball right up the middle to a streaking TB forward who, with a defender on each side and the keeper in front of him struck the ball straight to the back of the net - ein Wunder! 2-1! We could win!
...was the feeling for all of five minutes, before Mahlsdorf attacked a (now too high) TB, catching them looking and crossing in to a textbook header. The equalizer, just like that, tied again. 2-2.
The rest of the game Mahlsdorf pushed the issue, having most of the possesion and the attacks. Tennis managed a couple of corners and another couple long balls, but nothing doing. The most encouraging sight perhaps was seeing the TB players still sprint hard, still make plays, not giving up. But the guests had played them to a draw.
More yellow cards and even a red to Mahlsdorf, but time was running out.
The whistle blew at 2-2, unentschieden.
It was a fight. The Prussians played well and held their own, but needed to push their gameplay collectively up one more level to force the win. Still fun to watch, and an encouraging effort from the players.
A tough match on a friday night under the lights and oaks of Mommsen. We'll take the point and enjoy the feeling.