A quick recap for those of you who are new to the Mommsen-Club, or who have been away for a while.
We all know that Tennis Borussia Berlin has a long tradition, having recently celebrated 120 years. It is perhaps debatable, but in my clearly unbiased opinion the club is among Berlin's four most important. (There are two more that have played in the Bundesliga at some point - both of which are now competing with us in the Oberliga (5th)).
P.S. If you really are new to the club, I highly recommend this interview (auf Deutsch) as an introduction: Football Was My First Love - Episode #51 "Auf und Ab mit Tennis Borussia Berlin - mit Endi Endemann".
After recent history involving an investor (this post is not about that, you can read about it elsewhere or watch a video here auf Deutsch https://youtu.be/t1gM7tv9em8 ) the Tennis Borussians have been fighting in the lower leagues of the German Northeast.
2021-22 saw a good run of football in the Regionalliga (4th), with the team securing that they would not be relegated relatively early in the season. But, the head coach at the time left for the blue waters, castles, and film-sets of Potsdam's Babelsberg.
For the 22-23 campaign TB hired the former coach from Neukölln's club which (after winning promotion in 21-22) had just been relegated back from the 4th to the 5th league after allowing a goal differential of 28:107. Fans were asked to give him a chance, but in the end it was a dismal season of football. Halfway through the campaign the coach was let go and replaced with C. Brauer from the Moabit club BAK 07. Unfortunately, while the play improved, the win count did not and our Violet-Whites were relegated down to the Oberliga (5th).
The 2023-24 season thus began with the bitter morose of a bad year of football and the sting of demotion hanging over the club. This is why it was so great to win the home opener against a good Lichtenberg side (currently 3rd in the standings), and to show the fans that this year's team can win and bring back some joy and pride to Mommsen Stadium.
And now here we are, six games into the Oberliga (5th) campaign in the middle of the pack with 2 wins, 3 ties, and 1 loss (and still alive in the Berlin tournament - the Landespokal).
Thus far we have learned at least two things:
1) That it is not easy to win in the Oberliga. The opponents are motivated, physical, and usually have enough talent to defend from losing and score for the win. This season is far from a cake-walk.
2) Brauer's Boys are good enough to win these games. The defense has held strong against talented opponents, our wingers are fast and skilled enough to cause serious trouble, and we have a good mix of veterans and youth that can play tough, high tempo, skilled football.
This season won't be easy, but it is possible for the Prussians to win.
And what more could you ask for as a fan than a talented group that's fun to watch, can hold their own, and - if they compete - can win tough games. There are other clubs that may enjoy just buying the best players and coasting to wins, but sport in it's best form should be about rising to a difficult challenge, being forced to be better than before, and fighting to reach the next level. Bergsteigerfußball - climb the mountain, step by step, and the view from the top will be that much more worth it. Who's up for the climb?
HOPES AND EXPECTATIONS
What is your goal for the club this season? What do you think the team can achieve?
It will be difficult, but they could fight for promotion back to the Regionalliga (4th) this season. That has to be the goal of the team if they want a chance at it, and honestly they could potentially pull it off. They've already beaten the 3rd place team once and shown that they can win.
They'll need to keep improving, and this next home game against Zehlendorf - currently 1st in the standings - will be a key test.
Let's hope they bring their A game and show that this club is for real and fighting for promotion!
Come on TeBe!
After the closely fought loss to the league leading Zehlendorfers, it felt like the path to promotion had been shut. You could sense in the frustration and disappointment from the players after the game that maybe they felt that way too. But it's important to not be fatalistic or to give up.
It seems that there are three views one could take:
1) Some see this as one loss too many, and are calling for mutiny and despair in the face of a possible relegation. But seeing the way this team has played, they are too good to fall that low. The losses - even against the Z'dorf Goliath - were close in games that they might have won, and despite some mistakes the team has gotten progressively better both in terms of on-field play and level of compete.
2) The most optimistic fans can point to the record on the field of close fought losses, of improvement, and of the potential of this team and say we are only seven games into a thirty game season. Someone will have to beat Zehlendorf, and every team will try their best to beat the league leaders. We don't know how the season will go, and it's better to play like you have a chance than to give up and forfeit any luck you might have gotten. Coach Brauer has said himself that the team would have to fight for every game, and if they keep on fighting and getting better, then you cannot rule out that they might climb the ladder. They almost beat the top team in the league, that alone shows what they could do.
3) The third view, which is probably the majority of the the perennial Violets, is to hope the team does well of course, and would love to see promotion (and equally would hate if we slipped down towards relegation), but see the priority as the long-term and sustainable growth of the club. This means getting better now and winning now, but also developing young players and creating a culture that is attractive to good players and fans (and sponsors if they help the club). It's better to build a good club that can consistently get better (and push for promotion) than to just say, "promotion or bust," and thereby risk getting burned out and losing good players if it doesn't happen to work out this time.
There is wisdom in that, and it helps for endurance through tough losses. But we can also hope for promotion and cheer this team to try to achieve as much as they can. "You'll never win if you don't try." If nothing else, the team effort of trying their best and getting better will be part of building a strong culture, for this season and beyond.
We're seven games into a thirty game season, and these Violets have already given us good football and an effort to cheer for. Let's keep it going and see where things go.
Hope springs eternal (egal in welche Liga).
Come on TeBe!